Category : trafficking
In 2005, Illinois passed one of the nation’s strictest laws on human trafficking which involve offenses of involuntary servitude, sexual servitude of a minor or forced labor of persons for services. Charges range from a Class 4 to a Class X felony if kidnapping or injury to the victim is involved. If convicted, you may face severe penalties of heavy fines, jail time, a permanent criminal record and possibility of having to register as a sex offender, as well as having to pay restitution to the victim for their forced labor. The Illinois laws protect the victims of human trafficking and prostitution by providing social services under both Federal and State programs and immigration assistance.
Also, in 2010, the Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Safe Children Act which protects minors forced into sex and ensures that children are immune from criminal prosecution and instead are placed in the child protection system. Human trafficking crimes are also illegal under federal law, Title 18, Chapter 77 and the Mann Act 18 U.S.C.A. § 2421 [as amended 1986], making it a crime to transport a person over interstate lines or for foreign commerce for the purpose of prostitution or other immoral acts.
Prostitution, pimping, pandering and solicitation of prostitution are also illegal under the following Illinois laws listed below. You can be found guilty of crimes ranging from Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony which carry sentences Prostitution; pandering, pimping and solicitation charges carry sentences of up to 1 yr and/or $2,500 then 1-3 yrs and/or $25,000. Law enforcement may impound any vehicle used by the person in the commission of the offense.
720 ILCS 5 Sec. 11 14.1 solicitation of a sexual act is considered a Class B misdemeanor offense.
720 ILCS 5 Sec. 11 15 solicitation for a prostitute offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor.
720 ILCS 5 Sec. 11 16 pandering by compelling a person to become a prostitute and receiving compensation or arranging for the situation is a Class 4 felony and a Class 3 felony if the violation takes place within 1,000 feet of a school.
720 ILCS 5 Sec. 11 17 keeping a place of prostitution is a Class 4 felony.
720 ILCS 5 Sec. 11 18 patronizing a prostitute is a Class A misdemeanor.
720 ILCS 5 Sec. 11 19 pimping by receiving any article of value from a prostitution earned in part from act of prostitution is a Class 4 Felony and a Class 3 felony if the violation takes place within 1,000 feet of a school.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s pilot program announced that their Columbus Day weekend joint eight law enforcement agency sweep of “Johns” called “National Day of Johns Arrests” resulted in sting activities and arrests on the streets, hotels, brothels, the Internet and other places which were concluded on Monday morning October 10, 2011. Among those agencies that participated were:
Cook County Sheriff Police Department (Illinois)
Aurora Police Department (Illinois)
Cincinnati Police Department (Ohio)
Elgin Police Department (Illinois)
Las Vegas Police Department (Nevada)
Los Angeles Police Department (California)
Phoenix Police Department (Arizona)
Newport News Police Department (Virginia)
There were a total of 247 charges with the arrest of 216 Johns, a total of 223 arrests, fines totaling $238,490, 71 vehicles that were towed, 2 pimp arrests, 8 drug arrests. The majority of arrests took place on the street and in hotels. A grant from Demand Abolition supports Illinois public awareness programs to deter offenders from participating in commercial prostitution and/or human trafficking by offering eligible defendants an opportunity to participate in the law enforcement agency’s pilot program “John Schools.” Other voluntary and involuntary programs are also offered to rehabilitate offenders.
Victims of prostitution and human trafficking are offered social services and safe housing to allow them to leave their lifestyle of prostitution. The success of the law enforcement agency’s pilot program is expected to lead to future collaboration John sweeps across the nation in the fight of solicitation of sex and related crimes. Next year, under Illinois Senate Bill 1037, sponsored by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and Rep Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood), defendants of human trafficking at the time of their prostitution convictions will be able to file a motion to vacate the conviction if they can prove their participation was because they were a victim.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are arrested of a prostitution or human trafficking crime in Illinois, it is important to understand your rights. Since these are serious crimes, it is recommended that you hire an Illinois Criminal Defense attorney to defend you. The attorney understands that arrests for prostitution, pandering, solicitation and related human trafficking crimes many times involve entrapment, violation of privacy and are discriminatory resulting in false charges and individual rights being violated. Other factors to be considered are whether a human trafficking offense occurred as a result of fear or abuse. The attorney will defend your rights to try get your charges reduced, community service, a voluntary or mandatory John educational or other community program, probation or get your case dropped.
Common drug offenses in Florida involve marijuana. Florida has the harshest marijuana laws in the nation. If you are arrested and convicted of drug offenses for possession, sale, cultivation or distribution of marijuana, you could face jail time, fines and penalties depending on the amount of marijuana in your possession and whether you were intending to sell, distribute or cultivate it. The most serious offense is the sale, delivery or cultivation of more than 25 lbs, which is considered trafficking and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years to 25 years and fines of $25,000 to $200,000. A conviction for any marijuana offense means an automatic suspension of your driver’s license up to two years.
Florida Statute XLVI, Chapter 893
For possession only of marijuana (cannabis) in Florida, you face the following penalties and fines:
· 20 grams or less misdemeanor, 1 year jail, $1,000 fine
· More than 20 grams is a felony, five years jail, $5000 fine
· 25 or more plants (formerly 300 plants) now a felony, 15 years jail 10,000 fine
· Any conviction causes a driver license suspension of 6 months to two years.
For the sale, cultivation or distribution of marijuana in Florida, you face the following penalties and fines:
· 20 grams or less, misdemeanor 1 year, jail $1,000 fine
· 25 lbs or less, felony, 5 years, $5,000 fine
· More than 25 lbs to 200 lbs or 2000 plants, felony and considered trafficking, mandatory minimum sentence 3 years, $25,000 fine. Under Florida law, sale delivery or cultivation of more than 25 lbs is considered trafficking.
· 2,000 to 10,000 lbs or 10,000 plants, felony, mandatory minimum prison sentence 7 years, $50,000 fine
· 10,000 lbs or 10,000 plants or more plants, felony, mandatory minimum 15 years, $200,000 fine.
· Under Section 893.1351, if you are arrested for leasing a residence with the intent of using it as a “grow house” you are facing a second degree felony, with 15 years jail time and a $10,000 fine. Anyone caught operating a “grow house” where a minor is present faces a first degree felony and a 30 year jail sentence.
If you are arrested within 1,000 feet of school, college or park with possession of 25 or more plants it is considered evidence of intention to sell or distribute, and it is a second degree felony which carries a maximum 15 years in jail and a 10,000 fine. Possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor, with a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
The Florida Bong Bill
Florida’s tough laws on marijuana are further demonstrated by the latest Florida Bong Bill sponsored by regarding Representative Darryl Rouson, which was recently signed into law by Governor Crist, and went into effect July 1, 2010. The Bill bans the sale of bongs, pipes and other devices associated with smoking marijuana by stores that receive 25% or more of their annual revenues from these sales. The Bill is aimed at Florida head shop businesses. A class action lawsuit has been filed challenging the constitutionality of the law. Violators face up to one year in jail. Tobacco shops would not be affected because the sale of these items does not reflect 25% of their annual revenues. People who want to buy marijuana drug paraphernalia can still purchase it at Florida tobacco shops or drive across state lines to make their purchases. Rouson says he has been fighting against the pipe industry, which he believes is part of the drug trade that is helping to destroy families and neighborhoods. It is Rouson’s opinion that the new law supports Florida’s public awareness of health and safety and law and order of society.
Gainesville Police were questioning suspect 24 year old Bryant Michael Forsythe of 3707 S.W. 28th Terrace on Sunday July 11, 2010, when they found 13 oxycodone tablets on him while he was searched. Forsythe told the police he could prove the drugs were his because he had prescription information in his bag that he directed the police to search. Instead, police found his marijuana. He also directed police to search his closet after they found the marijuana. Officers did not find the prescription information or any more marijuana. Forsythe was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia and is being held at the Alachua County Jail.
Marijuana offenses carry stiff jail sentences and penalties in Florida. If you are arrested for a marijuana offense in Florida, you should contact a Florida criminal defense attorney. The attorney can obtain plea bargain offers for reduced charges, or diversion to a drug treatment program, probation or get the case dismissed as a result of unlawful search and seizure or insufficient evidence. The attorney may also be able to argue a “necessity defense” under Florida common law if you are using marijuana to help alleviate symptoms of your medical condition.
Unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver (also referred to as “UPCS”) is a very serious felony offense in Illinois. Intent to deliver in Illinois means manufacturing, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver. Drugs that are commonly involved under UPCS are cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, mushrooms, or LSD. Penalties and fines are substantial.
720 ILCS 570 Illinois Controlled Substances Act
UPCS offenses carry the following sentences and penalties under 720 ILCS 570 Illinois Controlled Substance Act if you are charged with possession of cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, mushrooms or LSD:
· Possession of less than 1 gram is a Class 2 felony offense with a 3-7 year prison sentence. Fine can be $200,000. Probation is possible.
· Possession of 1-15 grams is a Class 1 felony offense with a 4-15 year prison sentence. Maximum fine allowed is $250,000. Probation is possible.
· Possession of 15-100 grams is a Class X felony offense. No probation is available. Mandatory minimum sentence is 6 years in prison with a maximum 30 years. The fine can be $500,000.
· Possession of 100-400 grams is considered an enhanced Class X felony offense or Super X offense which carries a prison sentence between 9-30 years. No probation is available. The fine can be $500,000.
· 400-900 grams is an enhanced Class X offense (Super X) with a 12-50 year prison sentence. No probation is available. The fine can be $500,000.
· 900 or more grams is a Class X enhanced offense (Super X) with a 15-60 year prison sentence. No probation is available. The maximum fine is $500,000.
Agents with the State Line Area Narcotics Team (SLANT), in conjunction with the Freeport Police Department Street Crimes Unit, arrested Terrance D. Young, a 37 year old Freeport, Illinois man, on June 10, 2010, with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, which is a Class X felony, and unlawful possession of cannabis, which is a Class C misdemeanor, after allegedly finding 77 grams of crack cocaine, 2 grams of cannabis, $430 cash and packaging materials at his residence. According to John Vogt of the Stephenson County State’s Attorney’s office, possession of 77 grams of cocaine was a significant amount. A Slant commander, who wishes to remain unnamed, said the arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation against Young regarding the sale of narcotics. SLANT is comprised of a joint effort of police officers from the Freeport, Loves Park, Rockford, and Monroe, Wisconsin police departments, as well as from the Stephenson County and Green County, Wisconsin sheriff’s departments and the Illinois State Police. If convicted of the possession of 77 grams of cocaine, a Class X felony in Illinois, which is the most serious of his charges, Young faces a 6-30 year prison sentence. Young was also charged with other felony charges for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of school from a crime that occurred in March 2010. Bond for all charges was set at $200,000.
Another case involving the Freeport Police was the arrest of 21 year old Darren T. Miller on June 26, 2010, on felony charges of unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of Embury United Methodist Church, located at 515 S. Galena Ave. in Freeport. The police allege that Miller possessed, with the intent to deliver to another person, more than 1 gram but less than 15 grams of cocaine. Miller was taken to Stephenson County
Jail, and bond was set for $75,000. If convicted of this Class 1 felony offense of possession of 1-15 grams of cocaine, Miller could face a 4-15 year prison sentence in Illinois and a maximum fine of $250,000. Probation is also possible.
If you get arrested in Illinois for unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, you should hire an Illinois criminal defense attorney. The attorney can argue a defense such as illegal seizure to get your case dismissed, or you may be eligible for a diversion program for drug treatment if you have a drug problem. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a lesser offense with a plea bargain to get your charges reduced to a Class 2 felony so you can avoid jail time and receive probation instead.
According to the Department of Justice FBI Crime Report for 2009, there were 682 arrests in Massachusetts for drug offenses involving persons under the age of 18 years and a total of 12, 127 total drug arrests involving all ages. Drug offenses can be for possession, distribution or drug trafficking. When making arrests, police look at the quantity, whether drug paraphernalia was found, what items were at the scene such as scales, measuring tools, other ingredients, plastic bags and if there are large amounts of cash lying around when deciding whether to charge someone with intent to sell and distribute or just for possession. Penalties for drug offenses in Massachusetts vary depending on the type of drug, the amount and the location of the drug activity. If convicted of possession or distribution of large amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or prescription drug fraud, you face stiffer prison sentences and the loss of your driver’s license.
To illustrate the difference in penalties for conviction for possession of drug vs. conviction with the intent to sell or distribute, here are some typical sentences that you could face:
· Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana decriminalized in 2009 –civil infraction and a $100 fine. Juvenile offenders must pay the $100 fine and attend a drug treatment program or pay a $1,000 fine.
· First offense for possession of a Class D substance such as marijuana – 6 months probation and then dismissal if there are no other charges.
· Second or subsequent offense for possession of a Class D substance such as marijuana – drug treatment, fines or jail time.
· Possession of 200 grams of cocaine (7 ounces) – mandatory prison sentence of 15 years.
· Possession of 100 grams of heroin (3.5 ounces) -mandatory sentence of not less than 10 years.
· Any amount of any type of drug sold in an unmarked free drug zone 1,000 feet from a school or 100 feet- an additional two year prison sentence and a fine of $1,000 to 10,000.
· Cultivating marijuana with the intent to sell up to 50 lbs.-Jail sentence of up to two years and a $5,000 fine.
· Cultivating marijuana with the intent to sell 50 lbs. or more- mandatory one year sentence and up to 2.5 to 15 years jail time and fines from $500 to 10,000.
· Cultivating marijuana with the intent to sell 100 lbs or more- mandatory three year jail sentence and up to 15 years and a fine between $2,500 to $25,000.
On April 27, 2010, according to Boston Federal prosecutors and the DEA, “Big Brother” contestant Matt McDonald from Charlestown, MA was indicted in Boston’s Federal District Court for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone in a purported drug operation run by another former contestant and winner of the Big Brother show, Adam Jasinski. Jasinski was arrested last October in North Reading, Massachusetts after attempting to sell oxycodone to a cooperating government witness. If convicted, McDonald faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine.
While many Massachusetts drug offenses involve much less serious charges such as possession or sale of small quantities of marijuana, ecstasy or other class D drugs, all crimes for drug offenses in Massachusetts should be taken serious. College students and people under the age of 18 if convicted for possession or sale of small amounts of class D drugs such as marijuana could lose their college Pell grants, other school scholarships and loans. Having a conviction on your record could affect future and current employment.
If you have been arrested on a drug charge in Massachusetts, you should hire a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney to defend you. If you were charged with possession with intent to distribute, the attorney will attempt to get the charges reduced to just possession or negotiate a lesser sentence such as community service or attendance of a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time. The attorney can file a motion to suppress evidence in order to exclude evidence seized by the police at the time you were arrested. For possession charges of a small amount of Class D drugs such as marijuana or ecstasy, the attorney may be able to get the drug possession charges dropped to a civil infraction.
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