Yesterday, Kane County State’s Attorney, Joe McMahon, announced that Kane County saw a 7% increase in the number of felony cases filed by the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office in 2017. The increase in the filing of felonies in Kane County continues a rise in the number of felony cases filed that began in 2015. In 2007, Kane County saw 3,349 felony cases filed. That number declined from that year until 2015, when 2,011 felony cases were filed in Kane County. In 2016, 2,255 felony cases were filed. In 2017, 2,413 felony cases were filed. That represents a 7% increase over 2016.
McMahon attributes the 7% increase over 2016 to the rise in the number of felony drug cases that were filed in Kane County last year. McMahon reports that last year, his office charged 447 felony drug cases. That number represents a 42% increase over 2016. Some of the cases filed in Kane County in 2017 were severe drug cases such as Possession with Intent to Deliver, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, and Drug Trafficking. The increase in the number of drug cases filed in 2017 coincides with the rising number of heroin-related overdose deaths that have been rising in King County and other surrounding counties.
McMahon believes that the increase in the number of felony drug cases in Kane County is a combination of an increase in the number of drugs coming into the area and the increased attention that law enforcement has placed on attacking the heroin and opioid-related crises in Kane County.
The opioid crisis has become a national crisis. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 115 Americans die every day from opioid-related overdoses. The economic cost to the American economy is roughly $78.5 billion a year. The costs associated with the opioid epidemic include healthcare related expenses, lost work productivity, drug treatment, and criminal justice expenses. 67 people died in Kane County last year from heroin and opioid related overdoses. 32 people died from heroin overdoses. In 2014 22 people died from heroin overdoses and in 2015 21 people died of heroin overdoses.
The over-prescription of opioids for treatment of pain has a direct link to the rising number of heroin-overdose related deaths and the number of heroin-related criminal prosecutions. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 21% to 29% of patients that are prescribed opioids end up misusing them. Anywhere from 8% to 12% of those patients end up developing problems with the use of opioids. Anywhere from 4% to 6% of the people who develop problems with the use of opioids end up using heroin. 80% of heroin users started off by misusing prescription opioids.
An argument can be made that the heroin-related problems in Kane County and the surrounding counties, is more of a drug addiction issue than a criminal issue. With that in mind, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, at the direction of Joe McMahon, has enacted the Kane County Deferred Prosecution Program. The Kane County Deferred Prosecution Program seeks to give first-time offenders a second chance to avoid having a criminal conviction appear on a background search on their criminal record. The Kane County Deferred Prosecution Program has a specific program for first-time felony drug offenders in Kane County. It’s available to defendants charged with a Class 4 Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance, up to 5 grams, and a Class 4 Unlawful Possession of Cannabis up to 100 grams. The program allows criminal defendants to enter into a 1-year drug treatment program that treats the underlying drug problem which caused the criminal case to happen. If you are able to successfully complete the program, the criminal charges will be dismissed and you will be allowed to expunge the case so that it does not appear anywhere on a background search.
Last year, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office implemented the Lake County Alternative Prosecution Program. The Lake County program is very similar to The Kane County Alternative Prosecution Program. The Lake County Alternative Prosecution Program also allows first-time drug offenders to enter into a drug treatment program that allows for the treatment of the underlined drug addiction issues instead of treating the matter as a criminal case. As in the Kane County Deferred Prosecution Program, if you are able to successfully complete the requirements of the Lake County Alternative Prosecution Program, the case will be dismissed and you will be allowed to file a Petition to Expunge to have the matter completely removed from the public record.
James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, Kane County criminal defense lawyer. James Dimeas has over 25 years of experience handling drug cases in Kane County. James Dimeas is has been named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by The National Trial Lawyers. James Dimeas has been named a “Best DUI Attorney” and a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise. Recently, the American Institute of Legal Advocates named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer In the State of Illinois For the Year 2018.” The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys have name James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” AVVO rates James Dimeas as “Superb”, the highest rating possible for any criminal defense lawyer in the United States.
If you are being charged with a drug case in Kane County or Lake County, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You could always reach James Dimeas by calling him at 847-807-7405.