Because of increasingly lax cultural attitudes about marijuana and a state-wide legal shift toward decriminalization of marijuana, many in Illinois believe that they are no longer at risk for prosecution if a law enforcement agent discovers that they are in possession of marijuana. This, unfortunately, is not true.
Many people still face arrest, citation, and even incarceration over simple marijuana possession. It is important to note, as well, that possession and possession with intent to sell are viewed very differently by courts and law enforcement. If you or someone that you love has been arrested or charged with a marijuana offense, it's critical that you seek legal assistance from an experienced attorney.
Illinois decriminalization covers small amounts of marijuana
If you are found to be in possession of less than ten grams of marijuana in the state of Illinois, the governor signed this law into effect in July of 2016, with the law taking effect immediately. The law was written and passed by state legislators, and it has a very narrow focus.
Those who are found to be in possession of less than ten grams of marijuana face only a fine, in the amount of between $100 and $200, instead of arrest and criminal charges. However, those who are found to be in possession of larger amounts of marijuana, paraphernalia, or marijuana extracts, may still face criminal charges.
Carrying scales, baggies, or similar items can complicate the situation
Just because it's currently decriminalized to possess and carry roughly a third of an ounce of marijuana doesn't mean it's inherently safe to do so. In addition to facing expensive fines, those who are carrying certain other objects, including baggies and other storage containers or scales, could be viewed as dealers and may face harsh legal consequences.
If you or a loved one was arrested while carrying a decriminalized amount of marijuana, but are facing charges because of other items in your possession, an experienced criminal attorney can help you mount a defense against these charges.
Driving while impaired by marijuana remains illegal
The new law has attempted to define cannabis intoxication, by carefully removing the ability to charge those who test positive for chemical compounds known as marijuana metabolites. These chemicals persist in the human body for anywhere from thirty to as many as ninety days after a person has consumed marijuana, and are not indicative of intoxication. However, a positive test for active marijuana in the body can result in drugged or impaired driving charges.
If you or someone you love is facing a DUI or DWI charge due to marijuana intoxication, call an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.