Law Office of Philip R. Nathe
Recently, the city council in Evanston passed an ordinance that reduces the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana – 10 grams or less. The new ordinance keeps offenders out of the courts by issuing a ticket and fine rather than jail time for marijuana possession. According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl supported the bill as a way to allow young people to avoid a criminal record that might hurt their chances for later employment.
Within the last several months Oswego and Cook County have also discussed issuing tickets rather than jail time. Those in favor of “decriminalization” point out that the ticketing approach saves officers time and may also increase income for local cities and villages.
Naperville Has Not Considered Reduced Penalties
Naperville is unlikely to follow the lead of Evanston any time soon. In 2010, officers wrote 278 tickets for possession of a small amount of marijuana, according to the Naperville Sun. So far in 2011, 210 citations had been issued as of early November.
Police Chief David Dial does not support a change to existing laws. Dial does not believe that reducing the penalties for marijuana possession would make the community safer.
Current Penalties for Marijuana Possession
Possession of a small amount of marijuana is generally a misdemeanor. Jail time, fines and mandatory drug treatment are all possible penalties. The consequences of a conviction may also be wide-ranging and may make finding an apartment, new job or qualifying for financial aid more difficult, if not impossible.
Naperville remains tough on marijuana users even as other local communities discuss reducing the penalties for possession of a small amount of pot. An experienced criminal defense attorney is critical in Naperville and can provide defense options.
Source: Naperville Sun, “Bid to Change Marijuana Laws Brings Concern,” Nov. 5, 2011.