Ohio consistently ranks as one of the worst states for drug abuse. This has motivated legislators, prosecutors, and law enforcement to aggressively pursue drug cases against people, including those they hold responsible for this abuse.
Unfortunately, this means that many people are falsely accused by law enforcement and informants trying to escape their own criminal penalties or overcharged by zealous prosecutors.
While many states are decriminalizing or reducing penalties for drug crimes, Ohio has gone the opposite direction and increased potential penalties. A Cincinnati criminal defense attorney can help aggressively advocate for your rights if you are facing drug trafficking charges. Contact us 24/7 for a free case review.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking is selling or offering to sell a controlled substance or an analog or preparing for shipment, shipping, transporting, delivering, preparing for distribution, or distributing a controlled substance or analog, knowing that it will probably be sold to someone else.
Ohio Penalties for Drug Trafficking
The potential penalties you face depend on the type of drug you are accused of trafficking and the amount. Drug trafficking can be charged as a fifth-degree felony to a first-degree felony. Here are some potential penalties for a conviction of drug trafficking:
|Severity of Crime
|Possible Term of Imprisonment
|Marijuana – Up to 199 grams
Cocaine – Up to 4 grams
Heroin – Under 1 gram
LSD – Under 1 gram
Fentanyl – Under 1 gram
|One year jail sentence
|Marijuana – 200 to 999 grams
Cocaine – 5 to 9 grams
Heroin – 1 to 4 grams
LSD – 1 to 4 grams
Fentanyl – 1 to 4 grams
|Eighteen-month prison sentence
|Marijuana – 1,000 to 19,999 grams
Cocaine – 10 to 19 grams
Heroin – 5 to 9 grams
LSD – 5 to 24 grams
Fentanyl – 5 to 9 grams
|Five year prison sentence
|Marijuana – 20,000 grams or more
Cocaine – 20 to 26 grams
Heroin – 10 to 49 grams
LSD – 25 to 99 grams
Fentanyl – 10 to 19 grams
|Eight-year prison sentence
|Cocaine – 27 grams or more
Heroin – 50 grams or more
LSD – 100 or more grams
Fentanyl – 20 or more grams
|Eleven-year prison sentence
In addition to these penalties, you could face a number of collateral consequences for a drug conviction, including:
- Loss of civil rights – You can lose your right to vote, possess a firearm, hold public office and other rights.
- Employment – You could lose your job or be refused employment due to a drug-related conviction. You could also be subject to random drug testing, which could further jeopardize your job. You could also lose your professional license.
- Child custody – You could lose your parental rights or be at a disadvantage in any child custody dispute.
- Housing – You could be denied the right to live in public housing because of a drug conviction.
- Civil forfeiture – The government can seize real and personal property used to support the drug trade.
These penalties are significant and require hiring a highly experienced lawyer to help avoid them.
Possible Defenses in Drug Trafficking Cases
An experienced drug trafficking lawyer can carefully review your case and determine if any of the following defenses may apply to your case:
- Unlawful search and seizure
- Procedural errors
- Testing errors
- Drugs are only for personal use
- Substance in question is not a controlled substance
- Lawful possession
Unlawful Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Fourth Amendment gives the attorneys at The Wieczorek Law Firm the strongest defense in drug cases to have the evidence in the case suppressed which may result in a complete dismissal of your case. The burden is on the State to prove the warrantless search reasonable and that your Constitutional Rights were NOT violated.
Searching Your Home
The location where the search and seizure occurred plays an important role in determining the reasonableness of the search itself. When a police officer searches an individual’s home without a warrant it has been concluded that it is a “presumptively unreasonable” search and therefore illegal.
Means that the drugs must be out in the open and clearly visible. For example, on a coffee table in the wide open and visible from the front door. Or, at a traffic stop the drugs must be readily visible in the center console or on the passenger seat.
Searching Your Car
The identical standard to searching a home applies. Police must have probable cause to believe they will find drugs in your car before they can lawfully search it. Without probable cause, only drugs that are in plain view can be seized as evidence of your possession charge. Any drugs confiscated illegally are deemed “fruit of the poisonous tree” and could be suppressed prior to trial.
An officer must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to detain you longer than is necessary to write a traffic citation during a traffic stop. Failure of the State to meet this standard may result in the entire traffic stop being suppressed and your case potentially dismissed.
Contact an Experienced Drug Trafficking Lawyer for Legal Assistance
If you are facing charges for drug trafficking, The Wieczorek Law Firm can help. Contact us today for a free case review with an experienced drug trafficking lawyer. We can explain your legal rights and options in a confidential setting.