Drug crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Illinois, and a charge of manufacturing a controlled substance is one of the most severe drug crimes that a person can face in the state. After such a charge, it's important to know your legal rights and understand the potential penalties that you may face upon conviction. The most important thing to remember, however, is that you don't have to face a manufacturing charge alone--if you have been charged with manufacture of a controlled substance or another form of drug crime in Illinois, the team of criminal defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland is here to help guide you through your case and defend against your charges.
An Overview of the Illinois Controlled Substance Act
Drug crimes fall under the purview of 720 ILCS 570, more commonly known as the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. The intent of the Controlled Substance Act is to "provide a system of control over the distribution and use of controlled substances" in hopes of deterring citizens from "perpetuat[ing] the abuse of such substances with reckless disregard for its consumptive consequences upon every element of society."
The Controlled Substance Act has a purpose, therefore, of punishing those who engage in manufacturing, trafficking, or distribution of controlled substances in an attempt to curb the negative effects of these drugs. The Act itself states that "[i]t is not the intent of the General Assembly to treat the unlawful user or occasional petty distributor of controlled substances with the same severity as the large-scale, unlawful purveyors and traffickers of controlled substances."
In order to accomplish this goal, the penalties that an individual may be subjected to upon conviction of a section of the Controlled Substance Act is largely dependent upon the quantity of drugs associated with the charge.
The Controlled Substance Act defines a controlled substance as "a drug, substance, immediate precursor, or synthetic drug" which is either specifically listed in the act, or which is designated as a controlled substance by an administrative rule. Methamphetamine, while not covered by the Controlled Substances Act, is controlled by the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. Alcohol and tobacco are not deemed to be controlled substances. The most common forms of controlled substances are stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogenics. Common forms of controlled substances associated with manufacturing charges include:
- Crack cocaine
Counterfeit substances are also subject to the Controlled Substance Act, being defined as a controlled substance whose physical presence or container "without authorization bears the trademark, trade name, or any other identifying mark . . . of a manufacturer, distributor, or dispenser other than the person who in fact manufactured, distributed, or dispensed the substance." Thus, for example, those who manufacture counterfeit pills and put a name brand on the pills would be subject to punishment by the Act.
Manufacture of a Controlled Substance
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act defines the term "manufacture" as "the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion or processing of a controlled substance other than methamphetamine . . . by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis." Other activities which fall under the definition of manufacturing a controlled substance include packaging a substance and labeling the container in which the substance is packaged.
It is important to note that manufacturing a controlled substance does not apply to someone who prepares a controlled substance for his or her own, individual use; rather, in order to face a manufacturing charge, a person must create a controlled substance for someone other than himself.
Penalties Associated with Manufacture of a Controlled Substance
Manufacturing a controlled substance in Illinois carries severe penalties upon conviction, and penalties for such a charge should not be taken lightly--as manufacturing of a controlled substance is a felony, those who are found guilty of manufacturing a controlled substance can face decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act recognizes that not all drugs are the same, noting that the General Assembly intended to "acknowledge the functional and consequential differences between the various types of controlled substances and provide for correspondingly different degrees of control over various types." As such, the penalties that a person charged with manufacturing of controlled substances can face is dependent upon two factors: (a) the type of substance manufactured, and (b) the amount of the substance that is produced.
For the vast majority of controlled substances, those who face charges of manufacturing the substance face the felony conviction, which can lead to the following penalties:
- Less than 1 gram:
- 2 to 7 years imprisonment with possibility of probation
- Fine of up to $200,000
- 1 to 15 grams:
- 4 to 15 years imprisonment with possibility of probation
- Fine of up to $250,000
- 15 to 99 grams:
- 6 to 30 years imprisonment with no possibility of probation
- Fine of up to $500,000
- 100 to 399 grams:
- 9 to 40 years imprisonment with no possibility of probation
- Fine of up to $500,000
- 400 to 899 grams:
- 12 to 50 years imprisonment with no possibility of probation
- Fine of up to $500,000
- 900 grams or more:
- 15 to 60 years imprisonment with no possibility of probation
- Fine of up to $500,00
While the above-listed penalties provide a standard for the penalties that you may face after being charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance, they are not always concrete. In certain cases, additional circumstances surrounding your charge can increase the penalty that you may face. Such circumstances include manufacturing a controlled substance in close proximity to a school or employing a minor under the age of 18 to manufacture the drugs on your behalf. These additional elements can double, or even triple, the penalty that you may face if you are found guilty of and convicted for your charge.
Potential Defenses to a Manufacturing Charge
If you have been charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, your criminal defense attorney may be able to introduce a legal defense which could mitigate part--or even all--of the illegal acts associated with your charge. The results of a successful defense can be extremely favorable to the outcome of your charge.
Violations of the Fourth Amendment
One of the most commonly-used defenses to drug charges such as the manufacture of a controlled substance is a violation of the defendant's constitutional rights granted in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment assures that "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause . . . ."
Based on the language of the Fourth Amendment, therefore, a police officer cannot simply come to your property and search you, your contents, or your property on the off chance of finding something illegal; the officer must instead have probable cause that you have committed or are currently in the process of committing a crime.
In most circumstances, a warrant must be obtained in order to perform a search. Exceptions to the requirement of a warrant for a police search include:
- Consent by you for the search to be performed;
- Exigent circumstances, meaning that the officers enter your property based on an emergency; or
- The illegal substance is in plain view of the officer without having to open anything or uncover any item.
When it comes to police searches, the scope of the search is key--officers can only search your vehicle for purposes of proving a specific crime which you are believed to have committed. For example, if you are pulled over for an expired license plate and are then arrested, a police officer does not have the right to search your glove compartment for drugs; in this case, drugs have no correlation to your arrest. Similarly, if an officer obtains a search warrant because you are believed to have stolen a flat-screen television, an officer can only search areas in which a television might be hidden; he cannot open up boxes or small containers which would not reasonably fit the item in question.
The results of a Fourth Amendment violation can be devastating to the state's case against you; if you were charged with manufacturing a controlled substance based on drugs or ingredients which were obtained through an illegal search and seizure, the illegally-seized evidence will be excluded from trial. This can put a major kink in a prosecutor's ability to prove the crime for which you were charged, and in some cases, can result in your charges being dropped altogether.
In some cases, individuals who have genuinely taken no part in manufacturing a drug have been charged with manufacturing a controlled substance. These cases can arise from someone framing the person for drug manufacturing, or from a person bearing a resemblance to someone who is suspected of manufacturing a controlled substance. Your attorney may be able to prove that you were never manufacturing drugs at all, but that you were rather mistaken for someone who actually was.
No knowledge of the manufacturing
In other cases, you may be arrested while around someone who was manufacturing drugs without your knowledge. You may have gone to a friend or colleague's home and been present when officers made an arrest, leading the officers to think that you were a part of the operation. Alternatively, you may have lived with a roommate who was manufacturing drugs in a basement or garage without your knowledge but be arrested regardless because you reside at the property. These instances of being in the wrong place at the wrong time can prove to be a viable defense if you took no part in the manufacturing of the controlled substance.
No Intention of Producing Drugs
Things are not always as they seem to the eyes of a law enforcement officer. In cases of drug manufacturing, intent is key--a person must intend to manufacture the drugs for which he or she was accused of manufacturing. In some cases, a person may have been arrested and charged with manufacture of a controlled substance because they were in possession of certain chemicals or ingredients commonly used for the manufacture of controlled substances.
If you were arrested on the basis of these chemicals being present, your criminal defense attorney may be able to help you prove that you had a valid reason for being in possession of the substance. If you have a viable reason for possessing these ingredients, then your charge may be dropped.
Seek Legal Representation Immediately
If you've been charged with manufacturing a controlled substance in Illinois, you may be frightened and unsure of what steps to take next. Although a manufacturing charge is a serious offense which carries substantial penalties, the first step you should take is to seek the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney. This should be done as soon as possible after your arrest, as defending against a drug crime takes a great deal of time and expertise in order to be done right. Dolci & Weiland's criminal defense section is made up of a team of attorneys with decades of combined experience helping clients defend against charges similar to the ones you face.
Facing a Manufacturing Charge? You Can Count on Us
If you've been charged with manufacturing a controlled substance in Illinois, Dolci & Weiland's team of criminal defense attorneys are standing by to help you through your charge. Our attorneys are proud to have established a reputation of both competent reputation and compassion for our clients. While no outcome of a case can be guaranteed, our attorneys are dedicated to going the extra mile to ensure as positive of an outcome for our clients as possible.
Don't wait until it is too late to obtain the representation you need to defend against your charge; to set up a consultation to speak to a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or contact the office closest to you today; for our DuPage office, call (630) 261-9098, or for our downtown Chicago location, contact (312) 238-9007.