How are drug penalties determined in Illinois?

Like most, you likely understand that there are a wide range of drugs and controlled substances out there in Chicago that may be being used both with and without medical authorization. Given that each varies in its potency and effect, it should be anticipated that if you are arrested on drug charges, the potential penalties that you may face will vary depending on the substances linked to your case. Illinois law breaks different types of controlled substances down into drug schedules. These schedules help to determine what level of offense accompanies a drug charge.

Officials factor in several different elements when determining how to classify a drug. These include its scientifically proven pharmacological effect, its potential to produce long-term impairments and/or addiction, and its potential for abuse. The differing drug schedules and their classification criteria are defined as follows:

  •          Schedule I: High potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use
  •          Schedule II: High potential for abuse, defined medical use under severe restrictions
  •          Schedule III: Less potential for abuse than Schedule I or II substances, defined medical use, high potential for psychological dependency, moderate to low potential for physiological dependency
  •          Schedule IV: Low potential for abuse relative to Schedule III, defined medical use, limited potential for psychological or physiological dependency relative to Schedule III substances
  •          Schedule V: Defined medical use, low potential for abuse as well as psychological and physiological dependency relative to substances included in other schedules

As you can probably guess, the penalties that can accompany convictions for the use, possession or distribution of controlled substances may be much more severe for Schedule I and III drugs than they can be with lower schedule substances. These can include heavy fines and extended periods of incarceration depending on any previous arrests or convictions on your record.