According to American Addiction Centers, the vast majority of convicted drug traffickers are male (84.9 percent), with an average age of 36. Almost three-quarters of all convicted drug traffickers were U.S. citizens, and half had no prior criminal history. The state of Ohio devotes considerable resources to investigating and prosecuting those suspected of drug trafficking. Those accused of drug trafficking need serious legal help to help avoid the serious consequences of a drug trafficking charge. A Centerville drug trafficking defense lawyer from Horwitz & Horwitz has more than 45 years of combined experience in criminal law. This gives us all the knowledge and skill you will need in the coming weeks and months. We understand that you are feeling anxious about your future, and we are dedicated to helping you face every difficult issue associated with your charges.
We will ensure you have all the information you need to make the right choices for your future. Further, we will not allow the state or law enforcement to intimidate you into making a hasty—and probably detrimental—decision about your future. We have helped more than 15,000 people in situations like yours; we will fight for you and protect your rights every step of the way.
Overview of Drug Trafficking Charges in Ohio
Ohio Revised Code Section 2925.03 details drug trafficking charges in the state of Ohio. Lawmakers in Ohio have taken a harsh approach to the prosecution and punishment of accused drug traffickers, due in part to the fact that the 2019 DEA Drug Threat Assessment ranked Ohio the second-highest among states impacted by drug overdose deaths. Drug trafficking is defined as selling or intending to sell a controlled substance or the preparation of a controlled substance for transport, shipping, delivery, or distribution.
There is an intent element involved (intent to sell), in that it must be shown that the accused had full knowledge the substance(s) were intended for sale or resale and intended to do so. Charges could be for drug trafficking or aggravated drug trafficking. Aggravated trafficking offenses in the state include Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 drugs, with certain exceptions. Aggravated drug trafficking is charged as a felony of the fourth degree unless the offense occurred close to a school or involved a juvenile, then is charged as a felony of the third degree. For larger amounts of drugs, the charges can be increased to a first or second-degree felony.
Drug trafficking offenses generally involved drugs that fall under Schedule II, IV, or V. Drug trafficking is usually charged as a felony of the fifth degree. Your specific charges will depend on where you were, which drugs you were in possession of, and how much of those drugs you possessed. A conviction for a fifth-degree felony is from 5-12 months in prison, fines up to $2,500, or both. Fourth-degree felonies are punishable by from six to 18 months in prison, fines up to $5,000, or both. Third-degree felonies are punishable by from 9-36 months in prison, fines up to $10,000, or both.
As of March 22, 2019, first and second-degree felonies are punishable by an indefinite or indeterminate sentence. This means the prison sentence consists of a range of years. For a first-degree felony the range is from 3-11 years, and for a second-degree felony, the range is from 2-8 years. The judge then adds an additional 50 percent of the minimum prison term to reach the maximum term. The fines for a second-degree felony can be as high as $15,000, and for a first-degree felony, $20,000. Ohio’s sentencing laws are complex, requiring a highly experienced Centerville drug trafficking defense lawyer from Horwitz & Horwitz.
Drug Trafficking Charge Defenses
The defense used for your Centerville, Ohio drug trafficking charge will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your charges, however, the defenses below are common drug trafficking defenses:
- Law enforcement engaged in an unlawful search and seizure. The search and seizure was not reasonable, violating your right to privacy, or there was no probable cause for a warrant. Unlawful search and seizure could apply to your home, your vehicle, or your person.
- Your home was searched without your consent and there was no probable cause, the discovered evidence was not in plain view, and the search did not occur during the course of a lawful arrest.
- Your car was illegally searched; you committed no traffic offense, so there was no reason to pull you over and/or no reason for a search, absent your consent or drugs in plain sight.
- You were induced by law enforcement to engage in drug trafficking, a crime you would not have committed otherwise (entrapment).
- The drugs did not belong to you, i.e., you had no knowledge of the drugs—perhaps you were tricked into carrying the drugs for another person. The burden of proof lies with the state.
- The drugs were for your personal use. Depending on the quantity of drugs seized, your Centerville drug trafficking defense lawyer may argue that while you were in possession of the drugs, you had no intent to sell or distribute the drugs.
- Law enforcement refused your request for an attorney or failed to read your Miranda Rights to you.
What You Should Do If Arrested for Drug Trafficking
If you are arrested for drug trafficking in Centerville, Ohio, immediately tell law enforcement you want an attorney. Until you are given the opportunity to contact an attorney, do not say anything, other than giving the officer your name and address. No matter how many times you are questioned, continue to (politely) ask to call an attorney. You do have the right to remain silent, and you should absolutely take advantage of that right.
How Centerville Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer Jon Horwitz Can Help
If you are facing a drug trafficking charge in Centerville, Ohio, contacting a Horwitz & Horwitz criminal defense attorney could well be the single most important call you make. At Horwitz & Horwitz, we always put your best interests first. We will handle your case from start to finish and will do so personally, never “handing you off” to paralegals or assistants. When you call, you will speak to one of our attorneys who will give you straightforward advice, never making promises we cannot keep. We will ensure you understand the risks and benefits of each of your options. Contact Horwitz & Horwitz today to talk about your unique situation.