How to Get Drug Charges Dropped in Chicago

man with hands behind his back is handcuffed and holding a small bag of cocaine will try to get his drug charges dropped in illinois.

Were you arrested for a drug crime in Chicago? An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help get your drug charges dropped. Just because you were charged with a drug crime doesn’t mean that you are automatically guilty. And even if you committed the crime, procedural mistakes and holes in the prosecution’s case may keep you from getting convicted. Your criminal defense lawyer may use one of several strategies to get your drug charges reduced or eliminated altogether. 

Legal Strategies to Get Drug Charges Dropped in Illinois

For your drug charges to stick, the burden of proof is on the prosecution in Illinois. If the prosecutor cannot prove the elements of manufacture, possession, intent to sell, etc. beyond a reasonable doubt, your charges will be dropped. When building your defense, a criminal attorney will identify weaknesses in the State’s case, and use them to your advantage. This might include:

  1. Challenging the Admissibility of the Evidence

One of the most common ways to get drug charges dropped is by challenging whether the evidence presented by the prosecution should be admissible in court. Your lawyer may assert that the search that led to the discovery of the drugs was illegal. Your attorney may also argue that the chain of custody for the evidence was not properly maintained, leading to possible contamination or tampering of the evidence.

  1. Proving Lack of Knowledge or Possession

To be convicted of a drug offense in Illinois, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew about the drugs in question, and that you had control over them. If your drug crime attorney can demonstrate that you did not have knowledge of the drugs, or were not in possession of them, the prosecution will have a difficult time securing a conviction. For example, your attorney may argue that the drugs or paraphernalia belonged to someone else.

  1. Challenging the Legality of the Substance

Prosecutors will also need to prove that the substance in your possession is in fact illegal. Various tests may be performed to identify the substance, and the State will use the test results as evidence. This opens the door to numerous vulnerabilities in the prosecution’s case, especially if the substance was field tested. Additionally, if your case involves marijuana, an expensive and time-consuming THC content test is necessary to determine whether the substance has illegal levels of THC, and whether the THC was derived from hemp.  

  1. Constitutional Rights Violations

As a defendant, your constitutional rights protect you from unlawful prosecution. For instance, the Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. Evidence obtained in an illegal search and seizure is not admissible in court. Likewise, the Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination. If you were arrested for a drug crime, and officers did not inform you of your right to remain silent, any statements you made might be able to be suppressed. If your criminal defense attorney demonstrates that your rights were violated during your arrest or the investigation, it may be possible to get your drug charges dropped.

  1. Negotiating a Plea Deal

It may be in your best interest for your drug crime lawyer to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. This can involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence or other favorable terms. Your criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal. If you decide to consider a plea deal, your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to secure the best outcome for your situation.

Challenging the admissibility of the evidence, proving lack of knowledge or possession, challenging the legality of the substance, asserting your constitutional rights, and/or negotiating a plea deal, increases your chances of getting your Illinois drug charges dropped or reduced. 

Felony DUI lawyer Spiros Nicolet
Spiros Nicolet
Spiro Nicolet earned his Law Degree from Marquette University in 1991. Attorney Nicolet worked at Madgrigrano, Gagliardi, Zievers & Aiello during Law School and then worked for Westlaw the premier provider of legal research materials for law firms. Mr. Nicolet is active in a number of professional organizations including the American Bar Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Milwaukee Bar Association, a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Attorney Nicolet has also been admitted to practice in the Oneida Tribal Judicial System. Attorney Nicolet’s goal is to service every client with professionalism, respect and integrity.

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