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Appelate Court Decision- Methamphetamine Precursor: Criminal Knowledge

10/31/2016 12:00:00 AM

Appellate Case Posted 10-25-16

1. Criminal Law: Methamphetamine Precursor: Criminal Knowledge: Affirmed: Section 120(a) of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, which prohibits persons previously convicted under the Act from "knowingly purchas[ing], receiv[ing], own[ing], or otherwise possess[ing] any substance or product containing a methamphetamine precursor," does not require that defendant had criminal knowledge. Knowledge, as a criminal mens rea, means conscious awareness of facts making a person's conduct unlawful. We note the meaning assigned does not require awareness one's conduct is unlawful; the meaning requires only awareness of the facts. Knecht, J.

No. 2016 IL App (4th) 140995 People v. Laws (WEBLINK) Filed 10-25-16 (MGB)

Defendant, Todd L. Laws, had a 2010 conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He now appeals his November 2014 conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine precursors in violation of section 120(a) of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act (Act) (720 ILCS 646/120(a) (West 2012)). On appeal, defendant argues the State failed to prove he knowingly purchased, owned, or otherwise possessed a product he knew to contain a methamphetamine precursor on November 18, 2013. The State argues it met its burden of proof because the statute requires the State to prove only knowledge of possession and not knowledge the substance contains a methamphetamine precursor. We affirm. An individual who purchases medication containing a methamphetamine precursor is on notice the medication contains the precursor because the ingredients are listed on the box or bottle containing the medication. The argument an individual is unaware a particular substance is a methamphetamine precursor is a mistake of law claim, which is no defense. Even if we interpreted the statute to require knowledge a methamphetamine precursor is contained in the substance possessed, defendant's argument he was unaware Sudafed contained pseudoephedrine or unaware pseudoephedrine was a methamphetamine precursor would necessarily fail. The stipulated facts at trial establish that defendant purchased 12-hour Sudafed, a product containing the methamphetamine precursor pseudoephedrine. By physically purchasing the Sudafed and taking it with him from the drugstore, we can infer defendant was consciously aware he was in possession of the Sudafed.

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