Sunday, January 6, 2013

LOOK-ALIKE DRUGS: A FELONY IN ILLINOIS

The drug you sold looked like crack, but it wasn’t. Nonetheless, after you sold it to the undercover cop, you were charged with a Class 3 Felony.

What is a look-alike drug? What can happen to you? What can you do?

In Illinois, any person who knowingly makes, advertises or distributes a look-alike drug can be charged with a Class 3 Felony, punishable by up to a $150,000 fine and 2 to5 years in prison. (720 Illinois Compiled Statutes 570/404.) Simply possessing the look-alike substance is a petty offense, not subject to jail time. However, if you possessed with intent to distribute, you are back to a Class 3 Felony. There are also stiffer penalties for subsequent charges of possession.

A look-alike drug can be any substance that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the look-alike is the real thing, such as its color, consistency, dosage amount, shape or markings. Or a drug can be considered a look-alike if you imply or expressly represent that the look-alike is real. For example, a court can consider any statements you made in advertising or distributing the drug, whether you asked for money and how you packaged the look alike.

If you are charged with a look-alike drug offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not discuss your case with the police or third parties. An experienced attorney can evaluate your case for the best possible defense.

As with most crimes, the state must prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Did you knowingly make or sell the look-alike? If you possessed the drug, did you intend to sell it? Were the drugs discovered after a police search? If so, did the police have the probable cause needed to stop or search you in the first place? If not, perhaps an attorney can petition the court to have the evidence or even the arrest suppressed.

Even if the police did everything by the book and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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