What is Criminal Drug Trafficking in Illinois?

by Sami Z Azhari on January 15, 2018

Post image for What is Criminal Drug Trafficking in Illinois?

Criminal drug trafficking in Illinois is a serious offense. There are a few types of criminal drug trafficking. 720 ILCS 550/5.1 outlines Cannabis Trafficking pursuant to the Cannabis Control Act while 720 ILCS 570/401.1 focuses on criminal drug trafficking pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act. Drug trafficking also applies to possession of a controlled substance or chemical substitute with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell.

In this context, the term controlled substance includes illegal drugs, such as cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, or ecstasy. The term chemical substitute refers to compounds created to mimic the properties of controlled substances.

Penalties for Controlled Substance Trafficking in Illinois

Under 720 ILCS 570/401.1 criminal drug trafficking in Illinois is generally a Class X felony. It is sometimes referred to as a “Super X” because the penalties of trafficking are double the term of imprisonment for possession of the controlled substance being trafficked pursuant to 720 ILCS 570/401.1(b). The penalties fluctuate based on the type of controlled substance or chemical substitute. Furthermore, the penalties escalate sharply for larger amounts of controlled substances or chemical substitutes.

For illustrative purposes, the following list breaks down the penalties for distribution or possession with intent to distribute the controlled substance of heroin or any chemical substitute with similar properties.

720 ILCS 570/401 – Manufacturing/delivery of Controlled Substance

  • 15 to 100 grams results in a prison sentence of six to 30 years;
  • 100 to 400 grams results in a prison sentence of nine to 40 years;
  • 400 to 900 grams results in a prison sentence of 12 to 50 years; and
  • 900 grams or more results in a prison sentence of 15 to 60 years.

The penalties listed above are for manufacturing and delivery. If the charge is Drug Trafficking, the prison terms listed would double.

720 ILCS 570/401.1 – Controlled Substance Trafficking

  • 15 to 100 grams results in a prison sentence of 12 to 60 years;
  • 100 to 400 grams results in a prison sentence of 18 to 80 years;
  • 400 to 900 grams results in a prison sentence of 24 to 100 years; and
  • 900 grams or more results in a prison sentence of 30 to 120 years.

In addition to the penalties outlined above, there are two other important considerations for criminal drug trafficking. First, the 85% rule applies to this crime. Stated otherwise, a person convicted of criminal drug trafficking is not eligible for release until they serve 85% of their sentence. Second, drug trafficking can result in federal charges as well, because for drug trafficking charges, the prosecution must show that the drugs were brought into Illinois from another state.

Penalties for Cannabis Trafficking in Illinois

720 ILCS 550 is the Cannabis Control Act and 720 ILCS 550/5 lists the penalties for manufacturing/delivery of cannabis. Cannabis trafficking has the same “Super X” penalties as a controlled substance. The penalties for both are listed below:

720 ILCS 550/5 – Manufacturing/delivery of Cannabis

  • 10 to 30 grams – Class 4 felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison;
  • 30 to 500 grams – Class 3 felony punishable by 2-5 years in prison;
  • 500 to 2,000 – Class 2 felony punishable by 3-7 years in prison;
  • 2,000 to 5,000 grams – Class 1 felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison;
  • More than 5,000 grams – Class x felony punishable by 6-30 years in prison.

Cannabis trafficking pursuant to 720 ILCS 550/5.1 requires an amount of 2,500 grams or more from another state and is punishable as a “Super X,” which would double the penalties listed above. So trafficking 2,500 to 5,000 grams would be punishable by 8 to 30 years in prison, and more than 5,000 grams of cannabis can result in a 12 to 60 year sentence. The sentence of Cannabis Trafficking is laid out in 720 ILCS 550/5.1(b).

Admissibility Evidence in Criminal Drug Trafficking Cases in Illinois

Often times, the most important consideration in Illinois drug trafficking cases is the admissibility of evidence. The Fourth Amendment protects all people from unreasonable search or seizure. In practice, this means that law enforcement must tread carefully when collecting evidence. Any mistakes can result in tainted evidence, which is not allowed in court proceedings. Concerning drug trafficking cases, specifically, it is important to examine and challenge the admissibility of all evidence, including traffic stops, drug dogs, video recordings, and police officer conduct.

To learn more about the admissibility of evidence in drug cases, please reference this recent blog post – What is Legality of Police Dog Sniffs During Traffic Stops?.

Reach Out to an Adept Illinois Criminal Lawyer Today

If you are dealing with criminal charges for drug trafficking or possession with intent to distribute, it is highly advisable to seek legal counsel from an adept Illinois criminal lawyer. With offices in Chicago and Rolling Meadows, Sami Azhari has the tenacity and skill to help you fight charges for drug crimes. If you have legal questions, contact Sami Azhari to get answers and start planning your defense.

What is Legality of Police Dog Sniffs During Traffic Stops in Illinois?

January 15, 2018
Thumbnail image for What is Legality of Police Dog Sniffs During Traffic Stops in Illinois?

In popular culture, there are countless representations of police dogs sniffs that lead to the discovery of illegal drugs, bombs, or other contraband. The police dogs are almost always portrayed as heroes in these storylines, helping the good buys fight back against the bad guys. There is rarely any exploration of rights and duties involved […]

Read the full article

Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault in Illinois

January 15, 2018
Thumbnail image for Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault in Illinois

720 ILCS 5/11-1.40 defines predatory criminal sexual assault and the corresponding penalties. Pursuant to 720 ILCS 5/11-1.40, predatory criminal sexual assault occurs under specific conditions. First, the perpetrator must be at least 17 years old. Second, the victim must be less than 13 years old. If such a perpetrator makes any sexual contact with such a […]

Read the full article

The Changing Landscape of Retail Theft Crimes in Cook County

January 15, 2018
Thumbnail image for The Changing Landscape of Retail Theft Crimes in Cook County

In December of 2016, recently-elected Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made an announcement concerning retail theft crimes, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. From that point forward, the State’s Attorney would prosecute retail theft of less than $1,000 as a misdemeanor crime. The State’s Attorney clarified that retail theft would become a […]

Read the full article

What is the Cannabis Law in Illinois?

March 17, 2016
Thumbnail image for What is the Cannabis Law in Illinois?

Cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana, is illegal in the state of Illinois. Despite the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (410 ILCS 130/1) becoming effective as of January 2014, recreational use, distribution, and sale of marijuana in any quantity remains a crime in the State of Illinois. Many people downplay the severity […]

Read the full article

Overview: Expunging Your Criminal Record in Illinois

February 27, 2016
Thumbnail image for Overview: Expunging Your Criminal Record in Illinois

Expungement is the process where a criminal court disposition is removed from your public record. According to Illinois law, to expunge means “to physically destroy records or return them . . . and to obliterate the [offender’s name] from any official index or public record, or both.” 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(a)(1)(E). If you have been convicted […]

Read the full article

Understanding the Risks of Retail Theft in Illinois

February 23, 2016
Thumbnail image for Understanding the Risks of Retail Theft in Illinois

“It was only a shirt.” “No one was looking.” “I think it’s just a misdemeanor anyway.” If these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, it is important to take a step back and understand the significant disruption a retail theft conviction could have on your life. Theft crimes throughout the country are on the rise […]

Read the full article

New Illinois law makes speeding 26 mph over the limit a crime

March 28, 2014
Thumbnail image for New Illinois law makes speeding 26 mph over the limit a crime

Illinois tollway drivers are finding out that state laws on speeding aren’t what they used to be. Drivers used to have to worry about misdemeanor charges only when speeding more than 30 MPH over the limit. But under a new law in 2014, a motorist can get a misdemeanor driving even slower than that. The […]

Read the full article

New Illinois law bans mugshot web sites while Google removes them from search

October 23, 2013
Thumbnail image for New Illinois law bans mugshot web sites while Google removes them from search

People make mistakes… That’s just life, right? But things are different in today’s world, because social media like Facebook and Twitter are available to document people’s mistakes forever. In an instant, arrest records are disseminated for all to see in Google. There is a pernicious industry on the web that preys upon people who were […]

Read the full article

Felons not required to disclose criminal convictions on Illinois government job applications

October 13, 2013
Thumbnail image for Felons not required to disclose criminal convictions on Illinois government job applications

In an unprecedented move, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has issued an order that allows applicants for state government jobs to apply without having to disclose felony convictions. Governor Quinn calls it an order to ‘Ban the Box,’ referring to the box job applicants have to check to disclose convictions. The administrative order, issued October 3, […]

Read the full article