Over the years I have dealt with hundreds of clients who faced jail time due to a charge of possession of a controlled substance for small amounts of marijuana. But in July, the Illinois Legislature passed and Governor Rauner signed PUBLIC ACT 99–697, a law that substantially alters Illinois' approach to the possession of marijuana.
Before Public Act 99-697, possession of 2.5 grams or less of cannabis was a Class C misdemeanor, meaning the possessor's sentence could be 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. Possession of more than 2.5 grams but less than 10 grams of cannabis was a Class B misdemeanor and the possessor faced a potential sentence of six months in jail and a $1,500 fine. Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as a marijuana pipe, was a Class A misdemeanor with a sentence as high as 364 days of jail in addition to a fine ranging from $750 to $3250.
Public Act 99-697 changed all this. Under P.A. 99-697, possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis is no longer a criminal offense. Rather, possession of less than 10 grams is considered a civil violation that is punishable by a fine of no less of $100 and no more than $200. In addition, the punishment for possession of drug paraphernalia seized while you possessed less than 10 grams of marijuana is a fine ranging from $100 to $200. Finally, Public Act 99-697 made it so that if you were convicted of possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, the crime is automatically expunged (removed) from your criminal record six months after your conviction.
Even though possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana will no longer lead to jail time, possession of 10 or more grams still is considered a criminal offense, and depending on the amount of marijuana, you could face a substantial amount of jail or prison time and fines. If you possess more than 10 grams but less than 30 grams, for example, you could be found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor and face up to six months in jail and a fine as large as $1,500.
If you face a drug possession charge, contact the experienced attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for representation.
–Posted by John W. Callahan, drug possession attorney