Ohio’s drug possession laws are some of the harshest laws in the United States. In some states, a first offense drug possession charge might result in probation. However, in Ohio, a first-time offender could face jail time for drug possession.

If you have illegal drugs in your possession, you need to understand the penalties you could face if you are arrested and convicted of a drug crime. In particular, a Felony 5 drug possession charge in Ohio can be serious.

What is Considered Drug Possession in Ohio?

Drug possession is defined by law as knowingly possessing, obtaining, or using an illegal controlled substance or controlled substance analog. You could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or a fifth-degree felony. However, the charges could be increased if you are in possession of higher amounts of an illegal drug or there are aggravating circumstances.

Classification of Controlled Dangerous Substances in Ohio

Controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are divided into five schedules based on the drug’s potential for abuse and addiction. 

Schedules I and II have the most dangerous controlled substances. These substances have little to no medical use and have a high risk of abuse or addiction. Schedule I drugs include LSD, marijuana, heroin, and ecstasy. Schedule II drugs include fentanyl, cocaine, Vicodin, oxycodone, Adderall, and methamphetamine.

The drugs in Schedules III, IV, and V may still be somewhat addictive, but the risk of abuse and addiction is lower. Many of these drugs have medical purposes. Schedule III drugs include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and testosterone.

 Schedule IV drugs include Ativan, Xanax, Ambien, Darvocet, and Valium. Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous drugs and include Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, codeine cough syrups, and Parepectolin. 

The type and amount of the drug in your possession determine the level of the felony you may face. Other factors could increase the charges against you, such as aggravating circumstances and prior convictions for drug crimes.

What Types of Possession Crimes Fall Under a Fifth Degree Felony Charge?

Felony 5 or F5 felony charges may apply in numerous drug possession cases. 

You could be charged with 5th degree drug possession for being caught with the following drugs:

  • Less than 5 grams of cocaine 
  • Less than 10 doses of LSD
  • Less than 1 gram of heroin
  • 200 to 999 grams of marijuana 
  • Less than three grams of crystal meth

In addition to facing penalties for a Felony 5 Ohio conviction, you could also be labeled a major drug offender, possibly resulting in mandatory prison terms.

Penalties for a 5th Degree Felony Conviction

A Felony 5 conviction can result in significant jail time and fines. 

For a conviction of a Fifth Degree drug possession charge, you could receive:

  • Six months to 12 months in prison
  • A fine of up to $2,500
  • Up to five years of probation (community control)

Additionally, you will have a permanent criminal record that could make it more difficult to obtain a job, student loans, and other benefits. A felony charge could result in losing a professional license and your driver’s license. Felony convictions can result in the loss of civil rights, including the right to vote and possess firearms.

The facts surrounding the drug possession charges can make a sentence more severe. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer to represent you can give you a better chance of avoiding the most severe penalties for a felony conviction for drug possession.

Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Several defenses could apply in your drug possession case. A trained and experienced criminal defense attorney can review your case, investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest, and develop a defense strategy to fight the charges.

Potential defenses to drug possession charges in Ohio include:

  • The substance was not a controlled drug
  • You were the victim of entrapment by law enforcement officials
  • Your Fourth Amendment rights were violated by an illegal search and seizure
  • Lack of probable cause for a search
  • Illegal stops without reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed
  • The drugs did not belong to you
  • Laboratory mistakes and contaminated samples
  • Chain of custody problems
  • You were not aware the drugs were in your possession (you were wearing a friend’s jacket)

You can help your defense by not resisting arrest or arguing with the police. During an arrest, remain silent. Do not answer any questions or make any statements.

You are only required to provide your name and address. Otherwise, you should ask for an attorney and stop talking until you meet with a criminal defense lawyer. Talking to the police about your drug possession charges could result in a much harsher outcome for your case.