Exclusively Practicing Criminal Defense for
Two Decades
David Olshansky

Delivery of a Controlled Substance

Although the law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors take possession and consumption of drugs seriously, the manufacture, delivery and distribution of drugs is considered a much more severe offense.

Delivery of controlled substances is a very serious crime in Illinois. So much so that the delivery of even a small quantity of drugs, like 15 grams, could be charged as a Class X felony, which carries a minimum prison sentence of 6 years.

State Legislation

Delivery of controlled substance is covered under the drug laws of 720 ILCS 570/400. It is unlawful for any person to knowingly manufacture, deliver or be in possession of a controlled, counterfeit or analog substance.

A controlled substance is defined as a drug that is unlawful in Illinois such as Heroin, Cocaine, LSD, Amphetamine, Morphine, Marijuana and Peyote etc.

A counterfeit substance means a controlled substance, which bears the trademark, imprint or trade name of a manufacturer, distributor or dispenser without authorization.

An analog substance has a chemical structure similar to that of a controlled substance. It is specifically designed to produce an effect similar to that of a controlled substance.


The punishment for delivery of a controlled substance is dependent on the quantity of the banned drug in question.

In the case of Heroin for instance, the punishment is 6 – 30 years for a quantity between 15 to 100 grams. The punishment is 9 – 40 years for a quantity between 100 to 400 grams. The punishment becomes 12 – 50 years for an amount between 400 to 900 grams. For a quantity higher than 900 grams, the punishment is 15 – 60 years.

Punishments for other controlled substances similarly increase based on the quantity in question.

Considerations for Delivery of Controlled Substance

One thing to consider is the difference between possession and delivery. While possession of any controlled drug carries a high prison term, a person may be able to get a reduced prison term.

In order to prove delivery, the prosecution must show that the defendant had the intention of delivering or selling the drugs to another. Prosecution finds this easier to prove in cases where the controlled drugs have already been delivered to another person by the accused. In cases where the drugs have not been transferred, the defense may be able to argue on the basis of lack of evidence from the prosecution.

Marijuana is a special case among drugs. It is banned for delivery or sale at any location within the state except designated medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois. The drug was legalized for medical consumption in 2014.

A defendant who is a registered patient with a medical marijuana record may be able to argue that marijuana in his or her possession was for personal consumption.

Examples and Court Cases

A man from Chicago was recently sentenced in Bureau County court for possession and delivery of a controlled substance in a Class 1 Felony.

Zell Jordan 28, was sentenced to four years and six months in prison after he had been found guilty of possession while driving. A search of his vehicle revealed he had 15.2 grams of cocaine in the vehicle.

In another case, the law enforcement officers arrested three teens from Aurora on charges of possession and delivery after they had been pulled for a traffic violation. Jordi Nevarez, 18, and Brandon Alcaraz, 18, were charged with armed violence, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful delivery of cannabis and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

Another 16 year old teen was also in the car and charged with possession of tobacco by a minor.

According to the police report, they pulled Nevarez on February 18th after he made a traffic violation at an intersection. When the officers approached the car, they smelled weed inside. The police then searched the car and found Xanax pills, a jar of weed and a .38 caliber handgun inside.

In a separate sting operation, police officers arrested a man and woman from Chicago in connection with selling and delivery of controlled substances. The duo was charged with four counts of manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance.

Torriente Robinson, 42, and Teshinya Wilnewic, 43, were arrested on the 6th of February. Undercover agents had approached them previously to buy heroin worth more than $5,000. The suspects agreed to deliver the drugs and were arrested at the time of the planned exchange. The officers also seized 26 grams of heroin in their possession.

Possible Legal Defenses

Possession of unlawful substances with intent to deliver is usually charged as a Class X felony unless the quantity of drugs in question is very small. Class X felonies carry the maximum prison sentence and the prosecution usually assigns their best legal teams to these cases.

A large number of these charges result in convictions, unless the defendant gets a very good legal defense team on their side.

There are a number of possible defenses that can get the accused an acquittal or a reduced sentence.

The first defense option is to call the method of evidence collection in question. The fourth amendment gives U.S. citizens the right of security in their homes and properties. It guards against unreasonable search and seizure. It also protects people against warrants to be issued without probable cause.

Another defense is to question the authenticity of the information. A good defense team can find inconsistencies in the prosecution’s narrative about the chain of events that took place before the arrest. A good legal expert would closely examine the search warrant and any inaccuracies can be challenged in the court, rendering the warrant and search as inadmissible in court.

Another option in defense is to bring the witness testimony into question. The prosecution may be relying on the testimony of witnesses with hazy memory or a coached testimony. An experienced defense team would be able to see right through this technique and prove inconsistencies in the story during cross examination.

In a situation where the prosecution has built a strong case, the defense may still be able to admit to possession without admitting to an intention of selling the drugs. The quantity of drugs may also be questioned. A quantity of drugs less than 15 grams can only be charged as a Class 1 felony, which carries a shorter prison term than a Class X felony.

The best defense to choose would depend on the merits of the case. A legal counsel can only recommend the best course of action on the basis of each individual case.