I've represented many clients who have faced criminal charges for possession of an illegal narcotic substance. It is not unusual for a person who is charged with possession of an illegal drug to also face a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Sometimes my clients are so focused on their drug charge, they forget that possession of drug paraphernalia is also a crime! But possession of drug paraphernalia is a crime that can result in fines and jail time and should be taken seriously – especially since judges can be prevented from offering you court supervision on a paraphernalia case.
Under Illinois' Drug Paraphernalia Control Act, the term “drug paraphernalia” has a broad meaning. Any kind of materials that are used in the growing, harvesting, manufacturing, testing, packaging, storing, concealing, or introducing an illegal drug into the human body has the potential to be considered “drug paraphernalia.” This includes materials typically used in the creation and use of marijuana, even though possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense but is instead a civil offense in Illinois.
The State has to prove that you knowingly possessed drug paraphernalia with the intent of using it to introduce an illegal drug into the human body. In determining if you had the intent to use the alleged drug paraphernalia with an illegal drug in order to deliver the drug into the body, a court will often consider the proximity of the drug paraphernalia to an illegal substance. For example, if you have a crack pipe in one pants pocket and a baggie of crack cocaine in the other, a court will consider that the alleged drug paraphernalia and drugs were both on your person when determining if you possessed the crack pipe with the intent to use it with an illegal drug (in this case, crack cocaine).
Possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. For this crime, you face jail time up to 364 days in jail. In addition, for violating Illinois' Drug Paraphernalia Control Act, you will face a minimum fine of $750 to a maximum fine of $2,500. The one exception to this is if the drug paraphernalia is used with marijuana. If in addition to having drug paraphernalia that is typically used with marijuana, you also have 10 grams or less of marijuana in your possession, instead of facing potential jail time and a fine as high as $2,500, you will be charged with a violation of a civil law with a fine as low as $100 and as high as $200 and no possibility of jail time.
If you face charges stemming from possession of a drug or drug paraphernalia, it is important that you are represented by a skilled attorney. These kinds of charges can have serious consequences on your life, and you will want a defense attorney who is both knowledgeable and willing to fight hard to defend your rights. The attorneys at John W. Callahan have years of criminal experience under their belts and are always willing to fight to bring you the result you want. Contact John W. Callahan, Ltd. for representation.
–Posted by John W. Callahan, drug attorney