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If the Police Found Illegal Drugs While I Was Riding in My Friend’s Car, Can I Go to Jail?

Posted on in Criminal Law

Orland Park Drug Possession LawyerEven though we now have a looser cannabis possession law in our state, Illinois drug laws in general are still very wide-ranging and severe. Just possessing over 30 grams of marijuana can still expose an adult to up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for a first offense (or more, depending on the amount possessed). For other controlled substances, like heroin, cocaine, or PCP, you may be looking at a Class 1 felony carrying several to many years in prison, and many thousands of dollars in fines.

One Big Question: What is “Possession”?

“Possession” is a broad and nebulous concept. On one hand, you do not have to literally, physically have the drugs on your person. Just having them in a car with yourself and other people can expose all of you to a charge of possession, as long as you knew or should have known that the drugs were there, and you had control over them. On the other hand, there are many factors to examine, and further questions to answer, to determine your possible culpability. First, did you know that the substance was in your friend’s car? Did you own or co-own the car? Did you have control over that space? Even if so, were you the only one who did? Was anyone else’s property found near the drugs? (And we are just getting started on the “possession” question. The State has a big burden of proof.)

Did the Search and Discovery Process Violate Your Rights?

Both the U.S. Constitution and Illinois law guarantee your freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. In your case, we would meticulously examine and analyze whether, for example, the vehicle was legally stopped by the police. Was there actually probable cause to search it? For over a decade, we have successfully defended many, many controlled-substance charges of all kinds by arguing against improper search warrants, or that a search itself was unlawful or illegal. Numerous times, after demanding hearings to examine whether our client’s vehicle was unlawfully stopped and detained, we have had the charges dismissed. Any time it is found that the stop or search which led to the discovery of a substance is invalid, then the State will be barred from using that substance as evidence. This usually results in the dismissal of the case, often without a jury trial.

So to answer your question: If you choose an experienced lawyer who aggressively protects and pursues your constitutional rights, then your prospect of actually going to jail looks very remote.

Contact a Cook County Drug Charges Defense Lawyer

If you are facing drug charges relating to the possession, distribution, sale, or manufacture of any type of recreational (street) drug, you deserve a knowledgeable and experienced Orland Park drug charges defense attorney who can successfully defend illegal searches and seizures: Khaled Issa of Issa Law, LLC. Call 708-966-2408 today for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=35&ActID=3992

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

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