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If you’ve been arrested for possessing heroin, cocaine or prescription pills in Chicago, or anywhere in Cook County, you are in the right place. This guide is designed for people who’ve been arrested and have an upcoming court date because they were caught with a “personal use” amount of cocaine, heroin or any other “automatic” felony drug: codeine, vicodin, LSD, mushrooms or MDMA to name a few. My name is Chris Shepherd and the information on this page comes from my personal experience as a Chicago drug lawyer since 2005 helping people eliminate or control the damage a drug case can cause.What Are My Settlement Options?
The best solution to drug possession case is one that achieves your goals with the least possible expenditure of money, time and anxiety. For this reason, the alert Chicago drug lawyer will make a concerted and intelligent effort to reach an agreement with prosecutors that does just that.
Your main goal is probably getting the case dismissed without a conviction and without you having to plead guilty. Is this possible?
The short answer is yes and I’ve done it for many felony drug clients in the past. But, it depends on several factors:
- your criminal history and general background,
- the type and amount of drug you are accused of possessing,
- the courthouse and courtroom you are assigned to,
- the judge and prosecutor in charge of your courtroom on your court date and
- strengths and weaknesses in the case; for example, were there mistakes made in the way police searched and arrested you?
Suppose settlement and plea deals are not an option and you have to fight the case. Is there any way to beat it?
Yes. As I wrote in "Getting the Early Advantage for Clients Accused of Drug Crimes", there are many ways to beat drug possession cases. I’ll list just five here:
- Challenge the Stop or Search. Whether you are driving or on foot, it is illegal for police to stop you without a specific reason. Even if the police do properly stop you, it is unconstitutional for police to search you without probable cause. If either the stop or the search was unconstitutional, any and all evidence obtained as a result of the illegal stop or search must be thrown out. Without the illegally obtained evidence, the case against you falls apart,
- A Special Note For Those Arrested in a Car. People are often arrested for drug possession with other people in the car. Perhaps the cocaine or heroin was found near you but not on you. This is a perfect example of a case in which you can challenge “possession”; just being near drugs does not mean you “possessed” them. Note: This can be done without hurting the other people in the car!
- An Invalid Search Warrant: Some drug cases involving a search of your home or business can be dismissed because of defects in the search warrant. A search warrant may be successfully attacked for several reasons:
- The information used to get the warrant contains misrepresentations, lies, or was obtained from an unreliable source,
- The warrant does not identify the place and persons to be searched, or the items to be seized, with sufficient particularity and
- Many, many other ways to attack search warrants.
- Challenge the Chemistry and Weight of the Alleged Drug: Before any amount of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy or mushrooms can be introduced into evidence, the prosecution must prove that it has (1) been chemically tested and (2) is in the same condition as when it was recovered in the field.
This is a potential vulnerability in your case for several reasons. First, it takes some effort, money and time to test drugs. Second, there are all kinds of ways in which improper lab testing can wreck the case against you. I’ll give you just one example: in one case a lab technician mixed several bags of drugs together before weighing and testing them. The court dismissed the case because the lab technician should have tested and weighed the bags of drugs individually without mixing them.
Every criminal case is as unique as a fingerprint. Nowhere is this truer than in drug cases. Reading this guide is a good first step, but there’s no substitute for having a conversation about your case. I've been a Chicago drug lawyer helping people with cocaine, heroin and prescription pill cases since 2005. I offer a free and confidential 15-minute consultation to discuss your options and answer your questions.
Call me to get help now: 312.396.4112 or contact me online.