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drug possessionAs society’s opinion on marijuana has become more relaxed, many states have taken efforts to decriminalize possessing small amounts of marijuana. Some states have legalized the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for those suffering from health problems. A few, like Oregon and Washington, have even legalized marijuana growth and consumption completely for both medical and non-medical users. Illinois, however, has been slow to follow this trend. After a drawn out battle, medical marijuana just recently became available in the state, and some cities across the state have decriminalized low-level marijuana possession, but the drug remains illegal in much of the state. That may soon change, however, as the Illinois Senate recently approved a measure that would decriminalize low-level marijuana possession statewide.

Toke and Ticket

The Illinois Senate voted 37 to 19 in favor of the legislation, which was passed successfully through the house a month prior. If signed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, those caught possessing 15 grams of marijuana or less, about 25 cigarette-sized joints worth of marijuana, would face a ticket and fine over arrest and jail time. Currently, those arrested for low-level possession face fines of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to one year. Much like getting a traffic ticket, the new penalties would be much less serious, up to $125 in fines without any arrest or court time.


Posted by on in drug crimes
Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Chicago drug crimes attorney,Heroin, an extremely addictive opiate drug, has long plagued Illinois. Heroin can devastate lives and even communities, leading many to label the widespread heroin problem as an epidemic. The drug affects people from all walks of life, from already at-risk drug users to individuals recovering from surgery who find themselves addicted but out of pain medication and looking for an alternative. Where is the heroin circulating around Illinois coming from? Law enforcement officials say the state’s supply of heroin comes from two places: Mexico and South America. Two Sources Heroin is most commonly available in two different forms. There is the white or brownish powder, known as white powder, and a black, sticky substance known as black tar. The drug is often diluted using other drugs or starch, sugar, or powdered milk. Users can smoke, snort, or inject the highly addictive substance which provides a sense of euphoria. Illinois is affected by both forms of the drug. Chicago is one of the most profitable markets for white powder heroin, while nearby St. Louis has a large demand for both the black tar and white powder forms. Officials say that because there is demand for both types of heroin, traffickers are moving the product up from both Mexico and South America. “Much of the heroin supply to the U.S. comes from Mexico, but most of the heroin that goes to the eastern portion of the country and to Chicago, comes from South America,” says one Illinois drug enforcement specialist. Drug enforcement officials say that today’s drug traffickers are business-minded, and are constantly seeking out new ways to provide users with their product. Chicago and St. Louis are both large distribution hubs, where the heroin is delivered, divided, and then spread out. Arrests Versus Education While law enforcement officials say they plan to continue thwarting attempts to deliver and distribute heroin and other drugs to Illinois residents, officials say further education is also needed to help combat the heroin epidemic, as well as treatment options for addicts opposed to jail time. “We cannot arrest our way out of this situation,” says one drug task force member. Further education is needed, specialists say, to help inform the public of the reality of the problem. Everyone is vulnerable, and thanks to highly addictive pain medication often prescribed after a surgery or injury, many individuals with no past drug use find themselves seeking heroin. While arresting heroin users may get them off the street for the time being, treatment is needed to help addicts combat their addiction and move forward free from heroin. Heroin Charges?

Are you facing heroin related charges? If so, you need the help of a qualified Chicago area criminal defense attorney with experience helping clients with drug charges. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, our team has years of experience providing aggressive, quality criminal defense to clients facing a variety of drug related charges. Be it heroin possession, distribution, or trafficking charges, we are here to help. Call 312-270-0999 today to learn more about how we can help you.




Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Chicago drug crimes attorney,While heroin and opioids have received major media attention lately, the drug problem in America is widespread and involves many illegal substances. There is no denying that the heroin and opioid problem is an epidemic, leading to thousands of overdoses each year, as well as legal problems for many more. Opioids and heroin, however, are not the only substances causing problems. Below is recent data collected by the Centers for Disease Control on the growth of drug overdoses in America.


The category of opioids consists primarily of medications prescribed to relieve pain. This includes hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. When used as prescribed these drugs help patients manage pain, but when abused, they carry major potential side effects. Respiratory problems are common, and even a single large dose can lead to death. These substances are also extremely addicting. Deaths due to overdosing on opioids have skyrocketed in America. In 2000, the rate of fatal overdoses related to opioids was well under 5,000 individuals per year. In 2014, more than 15,000 people died of opioid related overdoses.


Posted by on in drug crimes
Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerAs drug overdose deaths continue to increase in America, one extremely addicting illegal substance, heroin, has officials across the country concerned. Nationwide, overdose deaths caused by heroin almost quadrupled from 2002 to 2013, and the problem is continuing to grow. With heroin a cheap and easy to find alternative to prescription opioids, addicting legal drugs prescribed to treat pain, the epidemic has affected Americans of all walks of life. Now, as the drug’s reach continues to expand, officials are worried that heroin users are purchasing and using the illegal substance in public places. Police officers across the country report finding people using heroin in public places like bathrooms, parks, fast-food restaurants, and libraries. A Quick Fix Due to heroin’s extreme addictiveness, officials say users purchase and use the drug as soon as they can find it, often in public places. “Users need the fix as quickly as they can get it,” says one police chief presiding over an area with widespread heroin use. “The physical and psychological need is so great for an addict that they will use it at the earliest opportunity.” Police officers across the country report finding drug users utilizing restrooms, cars, hospitals, libraries, and other busy public spaces to inject the drug, and some are found too late. Even if these public spaces were equipped to handle drug overdoses, which they are not, many users are found too late, locked in a bathroom or slumped over in the back of a public bus after a deadly overdose. Problems for Everyone Heroin use in public places is problematic for a number of reasons. First, it is dangerous for the drug users themselves, who may overdose without access to help. Treatment is available for heroin overdose, but requires immediate help from medical professionals. Some heroin users know this, and as an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration reports, many addicts frequent towns where they know the medical staff is equipped to handle heroin overdoses. Other users, however, choose portable toilets and other enclosed places, and may be found unconscious or dead after injecting. Nationwide, 125 people die each day due to drug overdoses, and more than half of them are caused by heroin and painkillers. Aside from consequences for the users themselves, the use of heroin in public affects others as well. Heroin addicts typically leave behind used, dirty needles that are potentially hazardous. Law enforcement across the country is also affected, as agencies are having to respond to increased incidents of heroin use in public. Businesses, concerned over legal liability, have been forced to close their restrooms and other spaces to the public. Everyday citizens are affected as well, as many of these overdoses occur in public with witnesses watching. Is There a Solution? Officials across the country say they expect the use of heroin in public to continue to increase, but are hopeful about a solution in the future. Some Americans have called for supervised injection facilities, places where users could inject themselves with medical help available, which have been successful in Canada and Europe. These sites are not yet legal in America, but as the heroin epidemic continues to creep into the public view, they may be considered. In Boston, one organization has plans to create a safe place where heroin users could come to ride out their high, although they would not be able to inject the drug onsite. In addition to health consequences, heroin use could lead to serious legal consequences. Under the Illinois’ Controlled Substances Act, the possession, sale, or trafficking of heroin is a felony, with consequences depending on the factors such as the amount of heroin, previous offenses, and location of the crime. Prison time could be over 50 years depending on the circumstances. Not only are there serious legal consequences, but drug charges can damage your career, your family life, and your reputation.

If you are facing drug charges, you need the help of a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney. Hal M. Garfinkel and his team have years of experience handling drug  offense cases, and will work aggressively to provide a quality defense. Call 312-629-0699 to schedule your free consultation immediately. Serious charges require the help of a serious criminal defense attorney with experience. Contact us today to learn more about how we can protect you.

Sources: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates


Illinois drug law, drug searches, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Recently, a judge in the federal district court covering northern California and centered in San Francisco delivered a ruling that will reverberate around the nation’s legal community for some time on the topic of warrantless drug-related searches.

While the decision came as part of a larger case involving medical marijuana patients in California, the implications, as well as the timing, send a message far beyond the circuit itself and, in fact, could be a well-timed legal dart into the overall federal discussion about not just drugs, but fundamental constitutional issues underlying current public policy nationally.

Mere Declaration of a Public Threat Does Not Make It So



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