Drug Crimes

If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, you’re likely worried about your future–and for good reason.

In Ohio, the consequences for drug offenses can be severe. Depending on the amount and type of drug, you could be facing a misdemeanor charge or a felony offense. You could be sentenced to months or years in prison, required to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines, and ordered to complete a drug treatment program.

Because of the seriousness of drug charges, it helps to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

Our firm has years of experience handling drug charges involving:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug possession — including illegal possession of prescription drugs
  • Intent to sell
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Drug charges in juvenile crimes

Any drug-related incident in the State of Ohio is a criminal matter and is subject to federal law as well. Drug crimes can refer to the possession, purchase, sale, cultivation, manufacture or production of illegal substances. These illegal substances include, but are not limited to,  amphetamines, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, prescription medications (without a valid prescription) and marijuana. The average sentence for breaking a relatively minor drug law across the United States can range from probation to a number of years in prison.

Sentencing outcomes in the state of Ohio typically reflect at least some flexibility, dependent on a variety of factors, including the defendant’s prior criminal history, the impact of the drug crime on any victims and the likelihood the defendant will re-offend in the future. The highly experienced Horwitz & Horwitz Ohio drug crime attorneys know how to fight drug offense convictions and limit sentences. While we are highly experienced negotiators and will, when applicable, negotiate a lesser crime or lesser sentence, we are also aggressive litigators and will never hesitate to step into a courtroom on your behalf.

Marijuana Drug Crimes in Ohio

Marijuana is not a legalized drug in the State of Ohio.  Possession of marijuana in small amounts—less than 200 grams—is a misdemeanor. As a minor misdemeanor, possession of small amounts of marijuana less than 100 grams do not lead to incarceration, but rather, carry a maximum fine of $150. If the amount of marijuana in one’s possession is between 100-200 grams, the penalties can include up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

While the criminal penalties may not be excessive for possession of small amounts of marijuana, the offense can result in the loss of a driver’s license as well as the inability to get student loans. Larger amounts of marijuana—including growing marijuana plants—can result in years in state prison if there is a conviction. Any marijuana charges related to distribution, trafficking or selling can also result in years in state prison as well as significant fines.

Ohio Felony Drug Offenses and Sentences

Under Ohio law, there is a prohibition on obtaining, possessing or using a controlled substance. This includes any prescription medication possessed without a prescription as well as street drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, LSD and cocaine. The drug and the amount possessed as well will determine the level of sentencing. As an example, possession of less than one gram of heroin is a fifth-degree felony in the state of Ohio, with a maximum sentence of one year in prison. Possession of more than 100 grams of heroin, however, becomes a first-degree felony, with a maximum sentence of up to 11 years in prison.

Actual or constructive possession is a required element for charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance.  Actual possession means a person has actual, physical control of the substance, either on their body, or in their possession (a pocket or purse). Constructive possession has three basic requirements:

  • The defendant was aware the substance was in proximity to him or her;
  • The defendant was aware the substance was illegal, or
  • The controlled substance was in close proximity to the defendant, or close enough that the defendant could actually possess.

Obviously, actual possession is easier for the prosecutor to prove than constructive possession.

Controlled Substance Schedules in the State of Ohio

Section 3719.41 of the Ohio Revised Code details controlled substances in the state, classifying them into five “schedules” which range from the most serious controlled substances—with corresponding harshest penalties—to the least serious controlled substances with the least serious penalties. The schedule of controlled substances is as follows:

  • Schedule One Controlled Substances—Schedule One drugs are considered to have no medical use in the United States as well as a significant potential for abuse. In Ohio, Schedule One drugs include psilocyn, peyote, morphine, mescaline and marijuana.
  • Schedule Two Controlled Substances—Schedule Two drugs are considered to have very limited medical use in the United States as well as a high potential for abuse. In Ohio, Schedule Two drugs include GHB, methadone and codeine.
  • Schedule Three Controlled Substances—Schedule Three drugs are considered to have accepted medical uses in the United States as well as some potential for abuse. In Ohio, Schedule Three drugs include barbituric acid, ketamine and anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule Four Controlled Substances—Schedule Four drugs are considered to have known medical uses in the United States as well as a low potential for abuse. In Ohio, Schedule Four drugs include Valium, Xanax and the generic versions of these drugs.
  • Schedule Five Controlled Substances—Schedule Five drugs are those which are commonly used for medical treatments in the United States and have a very limited likelihood for abuse. In Ohio, Schedule Five drugs include medications with small amounts of narcotics.

If a person is found to have a Schedule Three, Four or Five drug in his or her possession, the charges can range from a misdemeanor of the first degree all the way to a first, second, third, fourth or fifth-degree felony, depending on the amount. If a person is found to have a Schedule One or Schedule Two drug in his or her possession—other than heroin, hashish, cocaine, LSD or marijuana—the charge can be aggravated possession, which is, at a minimum, a felony of the fifth degree.

If the amount of the drug in the person’s possession is equal to or in excess of the “bulk” amount, the charge could be a first, second or third-degree felony. Most felony charges in the state will result in a mandatory prison sentence. If a person is charged with 100 times the bulk amount or more, he or she will be designated a major drug offender. “Bulk” amount is more fully defined in Chapter 2925.01—Drug Offense Definitions.

A conviction for a felony of the fifth degree can result in a prison sentence from 6-12 months, and fines as large as $2,500. A conviction for a felony of the fourth degree can result in a prison sentence from 6-18 months, and fines as large as $5,000. A conviction for a felony of the third degree can result in a prison sentence from 9-36 months, and fines as large as $10,000.  A conviction for a felony of the second degree can result in a prison sentence from 2-8 years in prison and fines as large as $15,000. A conviction for a first-degree felony can result in a prison sentence from 3-11 years and fines as large as $20,000.

Getting the Help You Need

If you have been charged with a drug crime in the state of Ohio, it is imperative that you immediately seek legal representation. The highly experienced drug crime attorneys at Horwitz & Horwitz can help you during this difficult time. We will work hard on your behalf for the very best outcome possible. Drug crimes are taken very seriously in the state of Ohio, and we take them just as seriously.

We will do all that we can to get you the best possible solution in your case, whether that is a dismissal or acquittal of your charges or an alternative to incarceration. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to avoid jail time by completing a diversion program. Your charges may be dismissed and your criminal record kept clean if you agree to go through a drug treatment program.

We will review the discovery with you, discussing the strength of the evidence, then will work with you to choose the best course of action. Our consultations are always free and confidential. During your consultation, you will meet with experienced criminal defense lawyer Jon Horwitz, who will listen to your story, answer your questions, and talk about your options. Contact Horwitz & Horwitz today for exemplary legal representation for your drug crime charges.

Learn More About Drug Crimes in Centerville