Marijuana Largely Decriminalized in Illinois

Significant changes to drug crime law and driving under the influence laws Illinois have been swept into place after Governor Bruce Rauner signs a packet of bills in late July 2016. Overall, the state is becoming more lenient towards how it views drug crime and how it chooses to penalize offenders.

Simple possession of marijuana – a crime that indicates that there is no evidence of intent to distribute, sell, or cultivate marijuana – will likely be decriminalizes in most instances. A person with 10 or less grams on their body or property will be given a citation, somewhat like a traffic ticket, and ordered to pay a fine up to $200. This change is much less severe than the misdemeanor definition of the past. In addition to only getting a citation and no criminal record, these citations can be fully expunged twice a year so long as the citations are paid.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state can use their own discretion when deciding how to punish offenders who possess between 10 and 15 grams of marijuana. A municipality could decide to either make the misdemeanor arrest, or issue a citation with up to $500 in fines instead. Rauner's laws are all aimed at getting minor drug crime cases out of the clogged court system, so it can be anticipated that more citations and less arrests are in the future.

Zero-Tolerance Policy No More

Drivers with a single nanogram of THC – the chemical compound in cannabis and marijuana that causes the high in users – in the past could be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Due to the fact that THC can stay in the body for days after use without any impact on the user, numerous people were being arrested and charged with a DUI despite driving without any detectable impairment. The changes that Rauner approved has eliminated the zero-tolerance policy, ramping up the minimum acceptable amount of THC in a person's system up to 10 nanograms in some instances.

At Johnson Law Group, our Decatur DUI attorneys are intrigued to see how these new laws will impact arrests and citations in the state. If you have been accused of drug possession or DUI and face a misdemeanor charge, let us help you defeat it. Call (309) 565-8825 any day at any hour to connect with our team.

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