Drug crimes in Ohio can include a variety of offenses that range from misdemeanors to felony charges. As a result, punishments can vary from minimal sentences and fines to mandatory prison sentences. Felony drug convictions can also result in a loss of driver’s license, denial of the right to vote and the inability to maintain or obtain professional positions, such as the healthcare industry, aviation or in public office positions. Drug offenses can also be charged as federal offenses under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Federal drug charges usually result in more serious penalties and consequences than Ohio drug charges. If you’ve been charged with a drug related offense, you need an attorney who understands exactly what is being alleged in order to provide the proper defense strategy.
Drug Charges Overview
Chapter 2925 of the Ohio Revised Code lists multiple elements that may be contained in your drug charge. These most commonly includes: possession, assembly, trafficking, manufacturing, and administration or distribution. Each charge carries its own definition and requirement of proof along with a misdemeanor or felony charge with it. It is imperative your attorney understand the specifics of your case in order to properly understand your charges and create the best defense strategy.
Drug Crimes Definition
As it relates to drug related crimes, the Ohio Revised Code is very specific in how it defines various charges. Common definitions include:
Trafficking in Drugs
This offense is defined as the sale, shipment, transportation, distribution or delivery of any controlled substance. It can carry a fifth, fourth, third, second or first degree felony, depending on the type and amount of drug and whether the offense occurred near minors or school property. Aggravated Trafficking involves certain controlled substances as defined in the Ohio Revised Code.
Illegal Manufacture of Drugs
Manufacturing involves engaging in any part of production of a controlled substance. It carries a possible third, second or first degree felony charge depending on the type and amount of drug and whether the offense occurred near minors or school property.
Possession of Controlled Substances
Any person who knowingly obtains, possesses or uses a controlled substance can be charged with this offense. This offense can be a misdemeanor of the first degree or felony of the fifth, fourth, third, second or first degree, depending on the type and amount of drug and whether the offense occurred near minors or school property. Aggravated Possession of Drugs involves certain controlled substances as defined in the Ohio Revised Code.
Possession of Paraphernalia / Drug Abuse Instruments
Any person who knowingly makes, obtains, possesses or uses any instrument, article or thing that is intended to use or administer a controlled substance, and the thing has been used by the alleged offender. Examples can include hypodermics, syringes, papers, needles, plastic bags, cutting devices, spoons, razors, etc. This offense can be a misdemeanor of the first or second degree.
Ohio Drug Charges vary based on severity of the crime, use of a weapon, amount of substance and whether or not the offense occurred near schools or minors. The following sentencing guidelines are used for Ohio drug charges:
Minor Misdemeanor – Fines up to $150;
Misdemeanor of the Fourth Degree – Jail time up to 30 days and/or fines not exceeding $250;
Misdemeanor of the Third Degree – Up to 60 days in jail and/or fines up to $500;
Misdemeanor of the Second Degree – Jail sentence not more than 90 days and/or a fine up to $750;
Misdemeanor of the First Degree – Up to 180 days in jail and/or fines up to $1,000;
Felony of the Fifth Degree – Prison time from six to 12 months and/or fines up to $2,500;
Felony of the Fourth Degree – Prison sentence from six to 18 months and/or fines not more than $5,000;
Felony of the Third Degree – Prison sentence ranging from one to five years and/or fines not more than $10,000;
Felony of the Second Degree – Sentence ranges from two to eight years in prison and/or fines not exceeding $15,000; and
Felony of the First Degree – Ohio prison sentence ranging from three to 10 years and/or fines up to $20,000.
If you’ve been accused of a drug related crime contact us 24/7 to schedule a Free Consultation.