drug possession

Possession of a Controlled Substance in Illinois

Controlled substances is the legal name for legal and illegal drugs in law enforcement and the courts. In Illinois, possession of a controlled substance is defined in 720 ILCS 570/402. It states “a substance, other than a controlled substance, which is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or, if approved, is not dispensed or possessed in accordance with State or federal law, and that has a chemical structure substantially similar to that of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II, or that was specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to that of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II. Examples of chemical classes in which controlled substance analogs [counterfeit drugs] are found include, but are not limited to, the following: phenethylamines, N-substituted piperidines, morphinans, ecgonines, quinazolinones, substituted indoles, and arylcyclohexylamines.” 

Controlled Substances Are Divided Into Five Classes

Controlled substances are divided into five classes according to the Controlled Substance Act: Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V. The Controlled Substance Act points out “it is not the intent . . . to treat the unlawful user or occasional petty distributor of controlled substances with the same severity as the large-scale, unlawful purveyors and trafficker of controlled substances.”

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous due to their high potential for abuse and general lack of medical benefit and include heroin, LSD, PCP, MDMA, hallucinogenic mushrooms, salvia, peyote, and ecstasy.

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Demerol, OxyContin, Fentanyl, Morphine, Adderall, Ritalin, Percocet, and Methadone.

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs include codeine, ketamine, testosterone, anabolic steroids, and suboxone.

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Tramadol, and Klonopin.

Schedule V

The lowest level of controlled dangerous substances are Schedule V drugs and include Lyrica, Lomotil, and cough syrup with low levels of codeine.

As you can tell from the list above, many of these drugs are commonly prescribed medications and legal in prescribed amounts. What generally makes each drug a cause for arrest by law enforcement is the amount and whether or not it was legally obtained.

Possession of a controlled substance is a charge that has become increasingly common.

A person convicted of possessing a controlled substance can expect serious consequences depending on the substance involved, including jail or prison time (1-7 years), hefty criminal fines, and anywhere from a Class 4 to a Class 1 felony on their record depending on the facts of the case or the amounts of the controlled substance.

A critical factor in possession of controlled substance cases is whether the person charged knows or has reason to know they were in possession of a controlled substance. Possession is divided into two categories: actual and constructive possession.

Actual Possession

Actual possession is just as it reads- the person has the drug on their person when stopped.

Constructive Possession

Constructive possession means the person knows about where the drugs in question are located and the person can exercise dominion and control over those controlled substances.

Since a guilty verdict can lead to loss of a job, a permanent record, or eviction (HUD funded public housing communities have a zero tolerance for drug use or possession), it is important to have a lawyer that knows the intricacies of the law. A skilled attorney such as Edward Worman at Worman Law, LLC, can negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and put your case in the best possible position to defend you and your rights.


As an example, if the defendant is being charged with constructively possessing a controlled substance, Worman Law, LLC may be able to prove they do not live alone or the location where the drugs were found can be accessed by others, then it may be possible that enough doubt can be created to make it difficult for the prosecution to get a conviction.

When a defendant is charged with actual possession, a skilled attorney can call into question the authority or integrity of the law enforcing officer. Depending on the facts surrounding the alleged incident, If there was not a proper search warrant, the defense can challenge the evidence and possibly have it suppressed.

Arrested with Prescription Drugs

If you are arrested with prescription drugs that are missing their prescription label or have another individual’s name on the container then it is possible you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance.  It is wise to always keep and transport these medications in the prescribed container.  If you are found in possession of a drug that you are legally prescribed, Worman Law, LLC will fight your charge.

Recreational and Medical Marijuana Limitations

Although recreational and medical marijuana are legal in both Illinois, it is still illegal on the Federal level, and you can be charged if crossing state lines with marijuana and related products.  Worman Law, LLC is licensed in Illinois and knows the limits for medical and recreational marijuana.

Being charged with possession of a controlled substance is a serious offense in Illinois. Don’t trust your freedom to just anyone. Call Worman Law, LLC at (314)695-9529 for a free consultation.

This article does not constitute legal advice and is not a guarantee of any particular result in your case.


No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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Clients are responsible for case costs and expenses, unless they do not prevail (win). Fees are collected before costs and expenses are deducted.

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