One of the significant penalties a person can be given for a state conviction on cocaine possession is a prison term.

Here in Illinois, the length of such a term could be incredibly long. It could be all the way up to 50 years, depending on the circumstances. Now, not every person convicted of cocaine possession can be given this large of a prison sentence. This is because, under Illinois law, the prison sentence range for cocaine possession varies based on how much cocaine was possessed.

The 50-year maximum is the maximum sentence for the highest specified possession amount: over 900 grams. The minimum prison sentence for a possession offense at this amount level is 10 years. The maximum and minimum sentences are lower for lower amount levels. For example, for the next lowest amount level, which starts at 400 grams, the minimum term is eight years and the maximum term is 40 years.

Also, there are other types of cocaine crimes beyond possession, such as sale and trafficking. These crimes have different sentencing limits associated with them and thus, a person convicted of these crimes could end up with jail terms greater than the limits set for cocaine possession. 

So, what possible prison sentence range a person facing drug possession allegations in Illinois could end up facing depends on multiple factors, including how much cocaine they are accused of having been in possession of and whether they could be charged with a cocaine crime other than possession. As this illustrates, cocaine cases can vary considerably from one other. They can differ greatly in what the specific stakes are for the defendant and what issues are the primary battlegrounds. Experienced drug crime defense attorneys understand this and can help defendants in cocaine cases mount a defense tailored to specifics of their situation.

Source: FindLaw, “Illinois Cocaine Laws,” Accessed Feb. 18, 2016