Penalties for Drug Crimes in Illinois

Being arrested and charged with a crime involving drugs can have a lasting impact on your life, no matter what drug is involved or where you live in the U.S. 

However, with a number of states decriminalizing marijuana, and even psychoactive mushrooms in some cities, it is easy to be confused in some instances with what the penalties for a drug crime are, especially considering the fact that these previously mentioned drugs and countless others are still federally recognized as being illegal. 

After receiving several write-in requests from Illinois residents, we’re going to go over the consequences of a drug crime conviction in Illinois, specifically so these individuals, and anyone else in the area, can have a better understanding of what penalties are associated with Illinois drug crimes.


Illinois has some of the most strict laws when it comes to drug crimes, and most types of drug crimes are considered felonies, as opposed to misdemeanors. Generally speaking, if you have been charged with a misdemeanor drug crime, it most likely has to do with marijuana possession. 

First time offenders in possession of less than 30 grams of weed will face a maximum of one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500, a class A misdemeanor. Those with less than 10 grams in their possession will be subject to six months in jail and fines not to exceed $1,500, class B or C misdemeanors. Every other type of possession charge that involves another drug is considered a felony.


The sale, manufacture, or cultivation of any drug is subject to a felony charge. Often, “the type of drug, whether you were selling it, trafficking it, or growing it, and how much is on your person will all have an impact on which class of felony you’ll be charged with,” says one Chicago drug lawyer

For example, the intent to “traffic” even as little as one gram of cocaine could result in a Class 1 felony charge, which is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison, and fines of as much as $25,000. 

Life After Conviction

In addition to dealing with the legal consequences that come with a drug crime conviction, you’ll also have to deal with the impact the conviction has had on your life. Many convicted felons are unable to find a good job, affordable housing, or be approved for student loans, not to mention the damage that was likely done to your personal and professional reputation. 

In any case, understanding the devastating effects a drug crime conviction can have on your life should give you pause if you have a relationship with drugs, in any type of way.