Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession

According to Illinois law, ‘possession’ can break down into actual possession or constructive possession.

Actual possession occurs when you are found in physical possession of the controlled substance. Constructive possession, on the other hand, occurs when you are not in physical possession of the controlled substance, but have knowledge of it, an intent and ability to maintain control over it, and/or control over the location of the controlled substance. Common cases of constructive possession include when controlled substances are found in your residence or in your car.

Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance

The penalties for possession can vary depending on the type and amount of the controlled substance found in your possession.

Cocaine Possession

In Illinois, possession of cocaine is a felony. The following is a chart describing sentencing guidelines in Illinois for possession of cocaine.

Illinois Possession of Cocaine Sentencing Guidelines
Amount in PossessionCrime ClassificationSentencingFines
1 – 14 gramsClass 4 Felony1 – 3 yearsUp to $25,000
15 – 99 gramsClass 1 Felony4 – 15 yearsUp to $200,000
100 – 399 gramsClass 1 Felony6 – 30 yearsUp to $200,000 or
the full street value
of controlled substance
400 – 899 gramsClass 1 Felony8 – 40 years
900 grams or moreClass 1 Felony10 – 50 years


New Illinois laws passed in 2016 decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana and charges possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana as a civil violation with a maximum fine of $200.

Illinois Possession of Cannabis Sentencing Guidelines
Amount in PossessionCrime ClassificationSentencingFines
0 – 10 gramsCivil ViolationNoneUp to $200
11 – 30 grams
First Offense
Subsequent Offenses
Up to 1 year
1 – 6 years
Up to $2,500
Up to $25,000
31 – 500 grams
First Offense
Subsequent Offenses
Felony1 – 6 years
2 – 10 years
Up to $25,000
501 – 2000 gramsFelony2 – 10 years
2001 – 5000 gramsFelony3 – 14 years
More than 5000 gramsFelony4 – 30 years

Contact our Top Chicago Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys – DuPage County

In any case, a misdemeanor or felony conviction for drug possession can have a negative and long-lasting impact on your life and your future. If you are facing possession charges and looking at a possible misdemeanor or felony conviction, it is in your best interest to seek quality legal representation in an experienced drug crimes defense attorney and discuss your options.

To speak to an attorney today or to schedule a free consultation, contact Dolci & Weiland drug crimes defense lawyers.

Chicago Office: (312) 238-9007
DuPage Office:
(630) 261-9098