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Does a firearm make “intent to distribute” charges, worse?

| Jan 7, 2021 | Criminal defense | 0 comments

Earlier this year, a Chicago man faced serious drug and weapons charges from an incident last December when he allegedly possessed numerous illegal substances and two firearms. If convicted, the defendant, Mitchell Simmons, could face large fines and several years in federal prison.

When drug charges reach the level of “intent to distribute,” it can mean more than fines and jail time. Often, prosecutors will seek penalties over $100,000 and several years in federal prison.

Two ways to a trafficking charge

Since a drug sale can happen in a moment, there can be more to making a trafficking charge than catching someone distributing illegal substances.

While you may not intend to traffic illegal substances, being in possession of large quantities can give officers and prosecutors reason to suspect that distribution might be part of your plan.

Double trouble with a gun

Even if you are merely in possession of a firearm during a drug-related arrest, you could face a doubled fine, sentence or both. If you use or fire the gun during the offense, the state may add anywhere from 15 years to a life sentence.

Keep in mind; if you already have a felony conviction, you could face more significant penalties if you are in possession of a firearm. In Illinois, carrying a gun with a felony record could result in up to 10 years in prison.

From the time of your arrest, and often before your arrest, the State of Illinois is establishing the charges against you. It is critical to contact a knowledgeable attorney, to help you form a strong defense.