Overview of Illinois Felony Drug Charges

Illinois recently became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana, ending the common drug charges that were associated with the plant. One could argue that this change in law frees up law enforcement authorities to go after users and dealers of more serious drugs, like heroin, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and opioids (for those without a prescription). 

Common felony drug charges in Illinois include possession, possession with intent to distribute, trafficking, manufacture, and conspiracy charges involving drugs. If your alleged drug offenses cross state lines or meet certain requirements, you might be charged with a federal drug crime. 

Penalties for Drug Charges

State law lays out a wide variety of possible penalties for drug-crime convictions. The type of drug you were found with, the amount you were carrying, and whether or not the charge is a simple possession charge are all factors in determining the fines or prison time you might be facing. Here is an example of possible prison sentences for different charges for possession of heroin:

  • Possession of less than one gram: 1-3 years
  • Possession of 15-100 grams: 3-15 years
  • Possession of 100-400 grams: 6-30 years
  • Possession of 400-900 grams: 8-40 years
  • Possession of 900 grams or more: 10-50 years

When Does Possession Become Possession with Intent to Distribute?

The state will charge someone in possession of a controlled substance with possession with intent to distribute if there is evidence that the individual was going to sell the drugs. Testimony from police informants or other individuals who might have cut a deal with the prosecution to testify could indicate an intent to distribute charge. Also, behavior police say they witnessed or materials picked up at the crime scene (like scales and bags) could indicate an intent to deliver. 

Possible Defenses

A talented Illinois criminal defense attorney will be able to poke holes in the prosecution’s case at your trial. The credibility of certain witnesses could be attacked, especially if they have something to gain (reduced prison time) or use mind-altering drugs themselves. Like always, your lawyer may look to see if any of your constitutional rights were violated when you were arrested. While this may not end up having the charges dismissed, it very well could make crucial evidence inadmissible in court, weakening the prosecution’s case.


If you have been arrested on a felony drug charge, there is no time to waste. Get in touch with Abdallah Law today. Our aggressive, no-nonsense attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure your case ends with the best possible outcome. Get in touch with us here through the website or call us at 213-229-0008.

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Abdallah Law has been a successful law firm serving the people of Chicago and the surrounding area for years. This success can be attributed to one thing: Our team. At Abdallah Law, protecting our clients’ rights and safeguarding their liberties is the driving force of everything we do.

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