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Possession of a Controlled Substance

Possession of Controlled Substances/with Intent to Deliver
Charges for possessing controlled substances are very serious. In some cases, the FBI or the DEA may be involved in the investigation that includes undercover drug purchases or extensive evidence such as video and audio recordings. A conviction for possesion of controlled substances can result in lengthy prison sentences and very high fines.

Possession of controlled or counterfeit substance 720 ILCS 570/402
This statute makes it a crime to knowingly possess controlled substances- common street drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin as well as prescription drugs like morphine. After January 1st, 2016, this also includes substances that are not actually controlled substances, but have a similar chemical makeup or that produce a similar effect when ingested- for example, synthetic marijuana.

Common Issues

The 4th amendement to the constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that the police must follow well-settled rules about how to stop and search people. If the police do not follow these rules, a person charged with drug possession can file pre-trial motions that effectively prevent the state from using any evidence (controlled substances) that were obtained as a result of the illegal search or seizure. When this happens, the state usually has no choice but to dismiss the charges.

If there is no issue relating to the search or seizure, another issue in drug cases is that the state must prove that a person possessed the controlled substance "knowingly." This means that someone cannot be guilty of possessing a controlled substance if he has no idea that the substance actually is a controlled substance. The importance of this element should not be overlooked since even a person found with a large amount of controlled substance may innocently not even know what it is or that it even exists.

11/20/2015: State of Illinois v. H.S. Not Guilty of Possessing 200 pounds of marijuana.

Our client was charged with possession of 200 pounds of marijuana that was found in the trunk of a car he rented. At trial, the State called a veteran police officer to testify that he was watching our client drive the vehicle to a grocery store parking lot on the Southwest side of Chicago, where he met with another man. The officer further testified that our client exited the car and the other man drove the car to a drug stash house, loaded it with several heavy garbage bags, and then drove back to the parking lot, where our client got back into the car. After hearing this testimony, Villalobos & Associates conducted an in depth investigation of the exact location of the location described by the officer. We rented the exact vehicle that our client used the day of the incident and had an investigator take pictures of the vehicle to show that the officer could not have seen what he claimed to have seen. In addition, we produced Google Maps images backdated several years to the month of the incident showing that there were high bushes that would blocked the officer's view. On cross examination and on rebuttal, Villalobos & Associates discredited the veteran officer's testimony and showed that our client had no idea that his car contained the large bags of marijuana. The judge agreed that the officer's credibility was tarnished and found our client not guilty.