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Q 1. What is “diversion” in my drug case?

Diversion is an option for those who are accused of a crime and are first-time offenders. It is an effort to prevent overcrowding in the court system and prevent first-time offenders from going through the legal process and penalties faced by those with multiple offenses. Some states offer diversion programs that divert offenders to counseling without their pleading guilty, while others require an admission of guilt to trigger the diversion process.

Q 2. Can I refuse a breathalyzer?

You have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test if you are stopped by law enforcement and asked to submit to one. However, it is important to realize that doing so can have serious consequences, including suspending your license, levying fines, or putting you in jail. Despite these consequences, many legal experts encourage people to refuse a breathalyzer and instead ask for a blood test because the results tend to be more accurate.

Q 3. Are breath tests always accurate?

No, breathalyzer tests are not always accurate. Some would argue they tend to be inaccurate more than they are accurate. Law enforcement professionals are required to calibrate the testing device after a certain number of uses and this does not always happen. The devices can also malfunction for other reasons. This is why it might be smarter to undergo a blood or urine test than to agree to a field sobriety test using a breathalyzer.

Q 4. What should you do if stopped for a DUI?

If you are stopped because law enforcement believes you to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is important not to panic. Be polite and courteous, but share as little information as possible with the officer. Anything you say can be used against you, so it is always better to speak to an attorney before speaking to law enforcement. When stopped, remain in your vehicle, roll down the window, and do not act suspicious. Follow instructions, but do not agree to anything until you have spoken to an attorney.

Q 5. I have been charged with a drug crime. What are my rights?

Being charged with a crime is serious and can be frightening, but it does not strip you of your rights. If you are charged with a drug crime, you have a right to:

  • Claim of innocence
  • Remain silent during the arrest, while you are awaiting trial, and during the trial
  • Be represented by an attorney, even if you cannot afford to pay for one
  • Prevent evidence in your defense
  • Appeal a verdict handed down by the court

Q 6. What if my friend gave me a prescription medicine to hold on to and I am stopped by the police?

You have the same rights as anyone else stopped by law enforcement. It is important to speak to an attorney before sharing any information with the police, whether you are innocent of a crime or not. It is a crime to use prescription drugs that were intended for someone other than you, but this is somewhat vague. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to speak to someone who understands prescription drug laws in your state.

Q 7. Do penalties differ for each type of drug?

Yes, the penalties vary a great deal in drug crimes based on the type of drug. The amount of drug, what you were doing with the drug, and where you were when you were found with the drug also matter, as does whether or not you had drug paraphernalia with you. However, this does not mean that you should take all drug charges seriously. If you have been accused of a drug crime regardless of the penalty, it is important to speak to an attorney.

Q 8. Is a minor drug possession charge serious?

It can be, depending on your situation. You should consider all criminal charges serious. It is important to speak to an attorney even if you are facing drug possession charges because there can be serious long-term consequences. Your specific situation might also be affected by a drug charge, serious or otherwise. For instance, drug charges can play a role in your career, custody of your children, and your reputation. Second offenses are often more serious than first, too.

Q 9. What does DEJ mean?

DEJ stands for Deferred Entry of Judgment. People accused of a crime might be given the opportunity to have their criminal proceedings suspended if they are willing to complete a drug treatment program. It is a chance to “get clean” and have charges deferred for a period of time and if the program is completed the judge will drop the charges. These programs have been found to be successful when the treatment program is completed and taken seriously.

Q 10. How is drug trafficking defined in Illinois?

Criminal drug trafficking in Illinois is generally a Class X felony and is charged when it appears there was intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell a drug. The penalties of trafficking are double the term of imprisonment for possession of the controlled substance being trafficked. The penalties for drug trafficking can vary a great deal depending on the drug and the amount of the drug and can range from six to 120 years.

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