Our client was charged with Possession of Cannabis >5000 grams (11 lbs) in LaSalle County. Our client and his co-defendant were accused of possessing more than 5000 grams of marijuana which was recovered from the trunk of their rental car during a traffic stop while driving home from a concert.
Possession of Cannabis >5000 grams is a class 1 felony. A class 1 felony is punishable by 4-15 years in the penitentiary. A penalty for this type of charge also includes fines up to $25,000.00 and a street value fine of $30,00.00. The client, an out of state resident, was fearful of the potential lengthy sentence this charge carried and the impact it could have upon his life. The client realized he needed an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle his complex situation. He retained Wigell Criminal defense to represent him in his matter.
After WCD entered the case and conducted a detailed analysis of the discovery, the Prosecutor assigned to the case made an initial offer in an attempt to resolve the case. In exchange for our client to plead guilty, the State was seeking 6 months jail time along with 48 months probation and for the client to pay the street value fine of $30,000.00 with additional court fines and costs.
Unsatisfied with the offer, the attorneys at Wigell Criminal Defense developed a strategy to counter the State’s offer. Additionally, the offer was conveyed to the client as well as the strategy that Wigell Criminal defense had developed to counter the State’s offer. The client approved of the strategy and Wigell Criminal Defense moved forward.
Specifically, the strategy was to counter the State’s offer with what is called a mitigation letter. A mitigation letter is a letter that essentially outlines the positive factors of an individual’s background. Typically presented in a narrative format, the letter entails the individual’s personal background, work history, educational achievements, family connections and in our client’s case, his lack of criminal background and suggestion of alternative sentences.
After meticulously developing the letter and obtaining the client’s approval, the letter was submitted to the Prosecutor for her review. After reviewing the letter, the Prosecutor immediately contacted WCD to further discuss the case. Impressed with the mitigation letter demonstrating the client’s extraordinary background, the Prosecutor modified the initial offer to a position that was acceptable to the client.
The modified offer proposed that the client serve a period of 30 months of conditional discharge (typically imposed in misdemeanor offenses) as opposed to their initial requirement of serving jail time. The State also significantly reduced the street value figure of $30,000.00 to $5400.00.
Typically, a disposition of a felony requires a person to serve a period of probation with a reporting requirement to a probation officer. Typically, a person needs to report for the mandated duration of the probation. Additionally, an individual serving a term of probation must request permission from his probation officer or in some instances, the court, to travel outside of the state. Impressed with the mitigation letter, the State was amenable to a sentence of non-reporting conditional discharge as opposed to probation. Conditional discharge would allow the client to live in his home state outside of Illinois and it would not restrict his ability to travel.
The client was overjoyed with the outcome and was extremely grateful for all of the work of Wigell Criminal Defense which lead to this extraordinary result. The client can now move forward with his life without the fear of incarceration or excessive fines both of which had the potential of negatively impacting his life indefinitely.