Heroin is a controlled substance, and possessing it may lead to serious charges and penalties. The possession of heroin is charged as a felony under Illinois’s Controlled Substances Act, so a conviction could lead to life-altering penalties.
The risk of a prison sentence and other penalties will vary based on how much heroin you had in your possession at the time and other aggravating factors, such as how close to a school you were at the time of the arrest.
The basic penalties for heroin possession
Illinois’s heroin laws state that you will face a felony for possessing any amount of heroin. If you possess under 15 grams, you’ll face a Class 4 felony that can be punished with between a year and three years of prison time and fines of up to $25,000.
Possessing more than 15 grams of heroin will lead to a Class I felony. This felony will be punishable by up to 50 years in prison based on how much heroin was in your possession. The categories are broken down by grams as follows:
- 15 grams to 99 grams: 4 to 15 years in prison
- 100 grams to 399 grams: six to 30 years in prison
- 400 grams to 899 grams: eight to 40 years in prison
- 900 grams or more: 10 to 50 years in prison
Since the penalties increase significantly at certain points, it can be helpful to defend yourself by trying to question evidence and fighting back against accusations of possession. With Class I felonies, it’s possible to face up to $200,000 in fines, so it’s worth taking the time to fight and seek lower penalties.
You may also be able to negotiate other penalties or options if you can pursue alternative sentencing through the Illinois drug courts. Drug court participants may opt for drug counseling or treatment and be drug tests frequently to avoid traditional penalties. Drug courts are highly focused on rehabilitation rather than attempting to punish those caught with drugs.
With the right approach, it may be possible to minimize the penalties or avoid them completely. A good defense does make a difference.