Drug offenses are aggressively prosecuted throughout Ohio, and convictions for these types of offenses can carry serious penalties like long jail sentences and hefty fines. Being charged with a drug offense should be taken seriously right away. Police and state attorneys have tremendous resources at their disposal and are working hard to gain convictions.
Having an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney by your side from the very beginning will help you protect your rights when you are charged with a drug crime and increase your chances for a favorable outcome. Don’t hesitate to call Ohio drug lawyer Troy Wisehart at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Zeiher Co. LPA at (419) 625-7770.
Possible Drug Charges
The Ohio drug lawyers of Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Zeiher Co. LPA defend against many kinds of drug charges, including:
- Possession or illegal use of controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, or drug abuse instruments
- Corrupting another with drugs or permitting drug abuse
- Funding or engaging in trafficking of drugs
- Illegal manufacture of drugs
- Illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for manufacture of drugs
- Deception to obtain a dangerous drug
- Illegal processing of drug documents
- Tampering with drugs
Schedule of Controlled Substances
The Ohio Revised Code’s controlled substance schedules are a major part of how the state prosecutes drug crimes and the types of penalties that are possible in a case. The law categorizes controlled substances, which include both illegal drugs and legal drugs that present a risk for abuse, into five classes or schedules.
Schedule I drugs are considered to be the most dangerous because they present the highest risk for drug abuse and addiction while having the least medical utility. On the other end of the spectrum, Schedule V drugs are considered the least dangerous with very low risk for abuse or addiction, in light of their legitimate and widespread use for medical treatment. Drugs are placed into each schedule by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy based on certain criteria such as:
- Whether users can potentially abuse the drug or become addicted to it
- Whether there is scientific evidence of the drug’s pharmacological effects
- Whether there is an established history of drug abuse with the substance, and how severe that abuse tends to be
- Whether the substance presents a health risk to the public
Drug charges can be intimidating. You may be unsure of how to answer the questions you’re being asked. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact an Ohio drug lawyer at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Zeiher Co. LPA at (419) 625-7770.
Possession is the most common drug abuse charge in Ohio. You may be charged with possession if you obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance. If the substance involved is a Schedule III, IV, or V substance, then the crime will be considered a misdemeanor unless there is a prior drug conviction. However, if the substance involved is a Schedule I or II substance, then it is automatically a felony.
The amount of substance involved also plays a role in the severity of the charges. Normally, possession of a Schedule I or II substance is a fifth-degree felony. Under the statute, certain amounts of specific controlled substances are designated as “bulk amounts,” and if a possession charge involves more than the bulk amount designated for the substance involved, then a person may be charged with a first-, second-, or third-degree felony based on the amount. Finally, a person who carries 100 times the designated bulk amount of a controlled substance or more is considered a major drug offender and may be subject to even harsher mandatory penalties.
Drug trafficking and distribution are serious drug charges in Ohio. You may be charged with this offense if you sell or offer to sell a controlled substance and you are not a licensed pharmacist or authorized health professional. You may be charged with this offense even if you don’t engage in directly selling a drug, but are involved in supporting activities such as preparing drugs for shipment, transporting drugs, or preparing drugs for distribution.
While trafficking is always considered a felony offense, the degree of severity (and the applicability of mandatory prison terms for designation as a major drug offender) depends on the kind of drug involved, the amount involved, and the presence of certain aggravating circumstances such as trafficking in the vicinity of a school or a minor. Normally, a trafficking charge is a fifth-degree felony unless it involves more than the “bulk amount” designated by law or if it occurs near a school or a minor. If so, then harsher penalties are possible.
Penalties for Drug Crimes
If convicted of a drug crime, you may face a host of penalties. Drug crimes may be misdemeanors, but are often felonies. Under Ohio Revised Code 2929.14, the typical sentencing ranges for felonies are:
- First-Degree Felony – three to 11 years incarceration
- Second-Degree Felony – two to eight years incarceration
- Third-Degree Felony – nine months to five years incarceration
- Fourth-Degree Felony – six to 18 months incarceration
- Fifth-Degree Felony – six to 12 months incarceration
Depending on the severity of the charge, the court may impose fines ranging from $1,000 to $20,000.
In addition to incarceration and fines, you may face collateral consequences, such as difficulty finding work or housing, diminished reputation, and revocation of a professional license. The best way to combat these consequences is to hire an Ohio drug lawyer to defend you against drug-related allegations.
How an Ohio Drug Lawyer Can Help
Regardless of the kind of drug charge, you are facing, or the circumstances of your arrest, you need an experienced Ohio drug lawyer to protect your rights against overreach by law enforcement and state attorneys and to provide an effective defense in your case. With an attorney by your side, you can ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted and that you will have an effective legal strategy for your defense.