Summer is almost here in Chicago, meaning a calendar full of street festivals and concerts nearly every weekend. After a cold winter inside, events like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival, Do Division, and Jazz Fest feel earned and Chicagoans want to take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts. These festivals also bring an uptick in fines and arrests for possession of marijuana as well as arrests for Driving Under the Influence. Let’s review some things to keep in mind as you are out enjoying what Chicago has to offer.
Possession of Marijuana
If you are caught with less than 10 grams of cannabis in Illinois, it is considered a “violation punishable by a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $200.” The fine is then paid to the clerk of the circuit court. This is not a criminal offense, however, this incident may appear on a background check.
The penalties for being caught with more than 10 grams of marijuana increase as the amount you are caught with increases, for example:
- Between 10 and 30 grams: This is a Class B Misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $1,500 and a maximum of six months in jail
- Between 30 and 100 grams: This is a Class A Misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $2,500 and maximum of one year in jail
Some people might be worried if they are caught sharing marijuana, but this is not the same as ‘dealing.’ This is considered ‘casual delivery’ and carries the same penalties as possession.
Defensive strategies for marijuana possession might include examining the lawfulness of the search itself. Did the officers have the right to search you? Was the search itself executed lawfully? These are the types of questions an attorney will consider in your defense.
Driving Under the Influence
In addition to arrests for marijuana, there is also an increase in DUIs during the summer months. Some of these DUIs may take place after a big festival like the Taste of Chicago, or after a concert at Ravinia.
A first offense DUI conviction is a Class A Misdemeanor. You may serve five days in jail or complete a certain amount of community service. Other factors (was the DUI considered ‘aggravated,’ was this a second or third offense, did the offense occur near a school) may generate a harsher penalty and greater fine.
Defensive strategies for a DUI might include examining the execution of the SFST (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests) and questioning the prosecution’s assertion that beyond a reasonable doubt a defendant was driving under the influence.
If you suffer a possession or DUI charge during or after a street festival or concert this summer in Chicago, you are highly encouraged to contact an effective criminal defense attorney to assist you with your case. Contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates LLC for a free consultation.