Defending a Drug Crime Conspiracy Charge in Illinois

Posted on in Drug Crimes

drug crimes conspiracy, criminal law, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyWhat Qualifies as a Criminal Conspiracy?

The Illinois state statutes define a criminal conspiracy as an explicit arrangement among two or more persons to commit criminal activity or crime(s). Generally, anyone who is charged with conspiring to commit a drug related crime would receive penalties similar to what would have resulted if the crime had actually been committed and a conviction was successful.

Drug Conspiracy is a Serious and Often Nuanced Charge

Conspiracy charges in drug crime cases rarely encompass the only allegations a defendant must content with. Typically, conspiracy charges are one prong of  various additional charges that the individual in question must defend themselves against.

To successfully prove a drug conspiracy case, the government meet the burden of proof in three crucial areas:

  • Offer proof that there was an agreement to violate drug law;
  • Show that all alleged conspirators had knowledge of the agreement to disobey drug law and participated in the conspiracy of the their own free will and with intent; and
  • Offer proof of at least one act committed for the purpose of advancing the conspiracy.

It is alarmingly common in many cases for the government to be successful in endeavoring to have circumstantial evidence admitted in an attempt to meet these burdens of proof.

Defense Strategies

Many times in conspiracy cases, a defense team must put the government’s witness on trial and attempt to impeach their credibility. It is important to make clear how the government’s circumstantial evidence is being supplied by witnesses with questionable motives. If a witness has something to gain by offering their testimony, then an obvious potential for bias exists.

Whether government witnesses are alleged co-conspirators, alleged customers, or jailhouse informants, there are questions that every defense team can pursue to help discredit the witness’ testimony.

Defense teams will typically seek to illustrate to the court any of the following relevant factors that would serve to cast doubt upon the motives of the witness in question:

  • Any relevant bias,
  • Criminal record,
  • Government approved "deals" such as reduced criminal charges or sentencing,
  • Anything the witness stands to gain from testifying,
  • The whereabouts of the witness when the alleged crimes occurred.

An Attorney With Trial Experience Is Crucial

Working with an attorney who has a significant amount of trial experience in drug conspiracy cases will be important if you or a family member is contending with these categories of criminal charges. An attorney with the experience and ability to effectively discredit a government witness at trial can be crucial to a successful resolution of your case.

If you are facing conspiracy charges related to drug crimes in Illinois, contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Scott F. Anderson. Attorney Scott Anderson has over 23 years of experience working in the Illinois criminal justice system and has handled drug conspiracy cases both in trial courts and on appeal.  He has represented clients for misdemeanor and felony crimes throughout Cook, Lake, DuPage and McHenry Counties. Please call 847-253-3400 to schedule a free initial consultation today.