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Recent Changes in Illinois Marijuana Laws

 Posted on November 29, 2016 in Drug Charges

illinois marijuana law changesAround the United States, there has been a concerted movement toward decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana. In Illinois, a bill was passed in which decriminalizes small amounts of the drug, meaning that any offense resulting from getting caught with marijuana will be civil in nature. However, there are many different aspects of the change that can come across as unclear to the average person.

The Facts

SB 2228 eliminates the criminal penalties for anyone caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana and imposes a fine of between $100 and $200, in most cases. It also establishes a precedent for any charges to be expunged after six months, if the offender does not get in any other legal trouble. This law also includes language that regulates the threshold over which a driver is ruled to be impaired. Previously, this was one of the main roadblocks that prevented the passage of a similar bill in 2015 that Governor Rauner pushed to include such a qualifier.

It is important to note that if you are found with more than 10 grams of marijuana in your possession, you will still face criminal possession charges. Also, if you are stopped while driving with more than five nanograms of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in your system, you will still be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The new law decriminalizes only what it specifically delineates, with no room for slightly more or less.

Transitional Rules to Know

Possession of fewer than 10 grams of marijuana is now a civil offense, rather than a criminal offense. However, no section of the civil code currently addresses this factor. As a transitional measure, the Illinois Supreme Court has amended certain rules to allow them to serve as guidelines until the legislature can amend the relevant sections of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

The necessary regulations to note are those that deal with timing surrounding these issues. For example, Rule 588 permits that most citations under this amended law can be handled without requiring a court appearance. Also, Rule 586 establishes that a hearing on a minor marijuana offense must be scheduled at least 30 days after the offense. This is so that the offender can adequately prepare or raise money to pay any fines. Mandating this time frame can declutter court dockets and save city resources since more offenders will be equipped to deal with the civil infraction rather than be forced to go to court without preparation.

Ask an Experienced Illinois Defense Attorney for Help

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, it is important to speak with an attorney. We will help you ensure that you have your facts straight and look out for your best interests. The skilled Wheaton criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Stacey A. McCullough have years of experience fighting drug charges. Call 630-871-1700 today for an Initial Attorney Meeting.


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Call Us630-871-1700

1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100
,Wheaton, IL 60189

250 W. River Drive, Unit 2A
,St. Charles, IL 60174

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