If you are facing drug possession charges in Ohio, you are likely worried, anxious about your future, even frightened of the potential consequences. You need a solid, experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight for your rights and your future. You need a Centerville drug possession defense lawyer from Horwitz & Horwitz for the best possible outcome to your possession of drugs charges. Our highly experienced attorneys have been helping people in situations just like your own for 45 years.
We are dedicated to helping those charged with a serious crime navigate the criminal justice system. We will answer all your questions and discuss your options with you. If you have questions, we will comprehensively answer them in an understandable way. We understand that good people make mistakes and are committed to helping you with this mistake.
Drug Possession Charges in Ohio
Section 2925.11 governs drug possession charges in the state. Ohio classifies controlled substances into five schedules, ranging from the most serious (Schedule 1) to the least serious (Schedule V). Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD, marijuana, and similar drugs which have no medical use (except when a person has a valid medical marijuana prescription). Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, fentanyl and similar drugs. Schedule III drugs include ketamine, anabolic steroids, and similar drugs.
Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse or dependence and have medical uses, such as Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. Schedule V drugs have the least potential for abuse and the most medical uses. Cough suppressants are just one example of a Schedule V drug. The more serious the drug, the more severe the penalties for possession of the drug. There are different amounts for each drug, used as benchmarks to measure the penalty, based on the quantity of the drug. Some controlled substances are measured by weight, while others are measured, under Ohio Law, by bulk amount.
In general, possession of most (but not all) Schedule I or II controlled substances will be charged as aggravated possession of drugs. Marijuana, heroin, cocaine, are excepted from aggravated possession charges. Each of those drugs carries its own penalties. As an example, possession of fewer than 100 grams of marijuana is a minor misdemeanor, possession of at least 100 grams, but less than 200 grams is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, possession of at least 200 grams, but less than 1,000 grams, is a fifth-degree misdemeanor, possession of at least 1,000 grams, but less than 20,000 grams is a third-degree felony, and possession of more than 20,000 grams of marijuana is a second-degree felony.
Potential Consequences of a Drug Crime Conviction
Drug possession in the state of Ohio is generally a misdemeanor offense, but when the quantities possessed are large enough, the offense could be charged as a felony. Below are the penalties associated with various levels of drug possession in Ohio:
- Minor misdemeanor—Maximum $150 fine
- Fourth-degree misdemeanor—30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $250
- Third-degree misdemeanor—60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500
- Second-degree misdemeanor—90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $750
- First-degree misdemeanor—Up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000
- Fifth-degree felony—6-12 months in prison, and a maximum fine of $2,500
- Fourth-degree felony—6-18 months in prison, and a maximum fine of $5,000
- Third-degree felony—1-5 years in prison, a mandatory fine of $5,000, and a maximum fine of $10,000
- Second-degree felony—2-8 years in prison, a mandatory fine of $7,500, and a maximum fine of $15,000
- First-degree felony—3-11 years in prison, a mandatory fine of $10,000, and a maximum fine of $20,000
Quantities of Schedule III, IV, or V substances less than the bulk amount are a first-degree misdemeanor. Repeat offenses are fifth-degree felonies. Possession of a bulk amount of the substance elevates the offense. Possession of a Schedule I or II substance could be charged as a first, second, or third-degree felony, depending on the bulk amount.
Defenses to Possession of Drugs
While the defense used by your attorney for your drug possession charges will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest, the following are defenses that are commonly used.
- The drugs belonged to someone else. Perhaps you had friends in your vehicle or in your home, and you truly had no idea they left drugs behind. If this is the case, then your Centerville drug possession defense lawyer will argue actual innocence. Of course, there will need to be some compelling evidence to support your assertion that the drugs were not yours, although the burden of proof in a criminal defense lies with the state.
- Law enforcement illegally searched your home, car, or person. In order to come into your home and search or to search your vehicle or your person, law enforcement must have probable cause that you are in possession of illegal drugs. They may not enter your home or search your car without probable cause with only a few exceptions. If you give your consent, then, of course, the police may search your car, home, or person. If the police can clearly see the drugs (they are in plain sight), then this constitutes probable cause as well. If you were in your vehicle, then you must have committed a traffic infraction for the initial stop to be legal.
- You were the victim of entrapment. This defense is rarely successful, therefore rarely used, but there are specific circumstances when it could be a valid defense.
- The illicit substance is not a drug. The prosecution is required to prove the alleged illicit substance is actually a drug.
- The police failed to Mirandize you or refused to allow you to contact a Centerville drug possession defense lawyer.
How Centerville Drug Possession Defense Lawyer Jon Horwitz Can Help
The Centerville, Ohio Horwitz & Horwitz criminal defense attorneys are 100 percent dedicated to obtaining the best outcome possible for you following your charges for possession of drugs. We care about you, your family, and your future. That care and dedication is clear as we present the best legal advice and best defense you will find. If there were extenuating circumstances surrounding your arrest, we will bring those to light and use them on your behalf. While we believe those who commit a criminal offense should pay for their crime, we also believe that in most cases, they should not pay in ways that will alter their entire future. If you have been charged with drug possession in Centerville, or across the state of Ohio, contact Horwitz & Horwitz today.