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IL defense lawyerWhen Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill in June of 2019, to make marijuana legal, Illinois became the eleventh state in the United States to legalize recreational marijuana use. The new law officially came into effect on January 1, 2020. Last week, thousands of Illinoisans flocked to cannabis stores to legally purchase marijuana for the first time in Illinois. When some people hear the word legal, they immediately think that means no limits. In all reality, Illinois’ new law comes with a number of restrictions and guidelines. If you are facing drug charges, it is time to speak with a skilled legal professional.

Restrictions to the Marijuana Law

First and foremost, while Illinois’ new marijuana law legalizes recreational marijuana use, it does not legalize it for everyone. Much like with the consumption of alcohol, minors under the age of 21 caught using marijuana will likely face criminal charges. It is also important to note that legal does not mean anywhere. You are legally allowed to smoke marijuana in a private residence or in an established smoke area (in a private establishment). Any private business owner can prohibit the use of marijuana on their property. Marijuana use is also prohibited in motor vehicles, in public parks, and in the presence of a minor.

The legalization of marijuana also comes with restrictions on the amount of marijuana one can possess. If you have more than 30 grams of marijuana at one time, you are breaking the law. A person with upwards of 30 grams of marijuana draws suspicion regarding their intent with the substance, and will prompt police to ask if they are attempting to distribute. It is also illegal for recreational marijuana users to grow a marijuana plant in their residence, although it is legal for registered medicinal users. While the new Illinois marijuana law may make you think that marijuana is legal without restrictions, this could not be further from the truth. Educate yourself on the rules of the law, and help yourself avoid serious legal ramifications.

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IL defense attorneyHere in the state of Illinois, severity of drug possession charges can depend on a number of criteria. Much like in many other states, the severity of potential criminal charges will mostly depend on the amount of narcotics and the type of substance. Recognizing the fact that Illinois is facing major issues involving drug use and drug-related fatalities, the state decided to establish the Illinois Controlled Substances Act designed to criminalize possession and intent to distribute certain controlled substances. Below we will discuss how a drug possession charge can impact you, and how you should react if you have been charged with drug possession.

Drug Possession in Illinois

A lot has changed in the past year, as it pertains to drug possession law in the state of Illinois. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will go into effect in January, changing how law enforcement officials will regulate the recreational use of marijuana. With the passing of the new law, a person will now be able to legally possess up to 30 grams of marijuana. If a person is apprehended with anywhere from 30 to 100 grams, they will face misdemeanor charges, up to one year in prison, and fines as high as $2,500.

While the perception and legality about marijuana have changed statewide, the view on other drugs has not. Possession of substances such as heroin, cocaine, and morphine will result in felony charges. If convicted, the person charged could face an incredible $200,000 in fines. If a person is apprehended with upwards of 15 grams of these substances, they could spend anywhere from four to 15 years in prison. Recovering from a drug charge on your permanent record, and crippling fines can be a tall order for any person. Fortunately, a quality legal professional may be able to help you avoid a conviction altogether.

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IL traffic lawyerIf you have been arrested for a serious crime, it is important to understand the way in which a conviction could ultimately impact your life. Not only do most convictions come with significant fines, potential loss of driving privileges, and even possible jail-time, but the longer-term ramifications of a conviction should not be understated. Having even a misdemeanor charge on your criminal record can drastically alter your ability to find employment, get loan approval, and secure housing opportunities. If you and your family are suffering due to the lingering ramifications of a criminal conviction, it is time to speak with a skilled attorney regarding the possibility of obtaining expungement or having your criminal records sealed.

What Is Expungement?

Due to the fact that criminal records are public knowledge, a prior arrest can hamper the well-being of yourself and your family. A college admissions board, a potential landlord, or a loan expert could all gain access to your criminal record and let your prior court proceedings impact their decision-making process. Because of this, many people seek to have charges erased from their criminal record or sealed from public view, this process is known as expungement.

It should be noted, that expungement is not always possible. In order to be eligible for expungement, one must have completed court supervision or probation period. Unfortunately, even in some cases in which issues with the initial conviction lead to an acquittal or no charges being filed there can still be a mark placed on your criminal record, fortunately, those clients are likely eligible for expungement. If you work with your attorney to challenge the initial conviction in your case and successfully appeal, you still may need to have the charges expunged from your record. It should be noted, that some crimes, including driving under the influence or committing sexual crimes towards a minor, are not eligible for expungement.

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DuPage County criminal defense attorneyWhen approached by a police officer, it is natural for your heart to start racing and for the primitive “fight or flight” instinct to kick in. However, resisting a police officer is a serious crime. So what should you do?

It is important for you to know your rights, and the rights of law enforcement, in the event that you are ever arrested and charged with a crime. Here are some tips to remember if you are being arrested:

  1. Remain calm and obey the directions of the officer. You do not have the right to resist the arrest, even if you are innocent of any wrongdoing.
  2. You must give police officers your real name, address, age, and date of birth. You do not need to say anything else, and anything you do say could be used against you later. You can simply state that you wish you remain silent, and then do not respond to any questions. 
  3. When an officer tells you that you are under arrest, he has the right to do a “pat down” search over your clothing to ensure that you are not carrying any weapons. He can also search any bags you are carrying and the area immediately around you. 
  4. You have the right to be treated humanely and provided with food, shelter, and medical treatment if needed. If you require prescription medication, you should make the police aware of that when you are booked. If you have your medication with you, the police will have to confiscate it, but they can record all the information on the prescription bottle. If you do not have your medication with you, have someone bring it to you in the original prescription bottle with your name on it. You can also insist that you be taken to the nearest emergency room for treatment.  
  5. After you are arrested, the police must read you the four Miranda warnings before you are questioned:
    • You have the right to remain silent. 
    • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
    • You have the right to a lawyer. 
    • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. 
  6. After your rights have been read to you, state that you want to speak to an attorney. If the police keep asking questions, repeat that you wish to remain silent until you speak to a criminal defense attorney. You cannot be forced or threatened to talk. Any information obtained by force cannot be used against you in court.  
  7. Be aware that the police are allowed to lie to you. They can lie about evidence they have against you. They can lie and tell you that they will not arrest you if you provide them with certain information.  
  8. You have the right to make a reasonable number of telephone calls to contact a family member and an attorney. If you are transferred from one place of custody to another, such as from a police station to a county jail, you have the right to make additional phone calls to let your family and lawyer know where you are now.
  9. The police may put you in a lineup for a witness identification. You do not have the right to refuse to be placed in a lineup.  
  10. The police must make a detailed list of whatever personal property, including cash, is taken from you at the time of your arrest, and they should give you an itemized receipt.

Hire an Aurora Attorney Who Will Have Your Back

If you or a loved one have been arrested in DuPage County or Will County, you need a lawyer who is fully knowledgeable in Illinois criminal law and the local court system. Retain the services of an experienced Naperville criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. As soon as you become aware that the police wish to speak to you about a crime, talk to a lawyer BEFORE speaking to the police. Contact the Law Office of Patricia Magaña at 630-448-2001 for a free consultation. Se Habla Español.

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Kane County Bar Association Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC

1555 Bond Street, Suite 103A, Naperville, IL 60563

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