To be charged with possession of a controlled substance in Ohio, you need to knowingly obtain, possess, or use controlled substances without lawful reason. It’s also critical to understand what class each drug falls into so you understand the potential penalties of being caught with the substance.

Drug Schedules 

Controlled substances are classified into five schedules depending on the potential for abuse and dependence. Ohio adopted the schedules based on federal law. 

Schedule I drugs

Acknowledged as having a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical application, substances like heroin and LSD are listed here. While marijuana is technically a Schedule I drug as per federal guidelines, Ohio does allow for medicinal usage

Schedule II substances

These also possess a high potential for abuse but also have some legitimate medical purposes. Examples include cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids like Oxycodone and Fentanyl. 

Schedule III substances

These drugs exhibit a moderate to low potential for abuse or dependence. Their medical uses are commonly recognized and globally accepted – with examples including ketamine and anabolic steroids.

Schedule IV substances

Falling further down on the spectrum of risk, these substances have known medical uses along with a reduced potential for abuse or physical dependency. Prescribed anxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium or sleeping aids like Ambien fall into this category.

Schedule V substances

Lastly, there are Schedule V drugs, which hold the least risk in terms of addiction/abuse while being widely used for common ailments. These consist of over-the-counter products like certain antidiarrheal treatments and cough suppressants. 

What Does Possession Mean?

If you’ve been charged with possession of a controlled substance, it’s crucial for you to comprehend what exactly the prosecutor needs to prove. They must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that you had both awareness and control over these illicit substances.

There are two significant terms in law when discussing possession – actual or constructive.  

Actual Possession

Actual possession would be if the drugs were found directly on your person. For example, if the drugs were in your hand or in your pocket, this is actual possession.  

Constructive Possession

Then there’s constructive possession, which is a bit more subtle. This term refers to situations where you might not physically have drugs on your person, but law enforcement sees enough evidence suggesting that you had knowledge about their existence and intent to exercise control over them anyway.

For example, drugs were found in a backpack or a vehicle that you were driving. 

Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance

When you’re facing a drug offense charge in Ohio, it’s important to realize the possible consequences attached. The court might impose serious penalties if you’re found guilty, like hefty fines or even jail time. There are other collateral consequences that might follow as well. 

For example, your driver’s license might be suspended or completely revoked upon conviction. Additionally, professional licenses can be suspended or revoked as well, such as the license to practice law or nursing. 

The impact doesn’t stop there, though. Exploring future job opportunities with a drug conviction can make employers apprehensive to hire you, causing you to miss out on significant employment opportunities. 

The same goes for housing as well. A criminal record can follow you around, popping up on background checks, making your life more difficult.

This is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, even for an offense as seemingly minor as possession of a controlled substance. 

Understanding potential legal defenses for drug charges is incredibly helpful and can decrease some of your stress surrounding the charges. Two of the most common defenses include:  

No Possession

This defense revolves around challenging the evidence presented by the prosecutor that the drugs were actually in your possession. Challenging constructive possession is easier, as your lawyer can argue that the drugs belonged to someone else and/or that you didn’t know about them. This is especially true if other people were around at the time the drugs were found.  

Illegal Search and Seizure

When looking to challenge the evidence of possession, your lawyer can use what is known as a motion to suppress. This aims to prevent the prosecution from presenting certain pieces of evidence that could work against you in court. 

Filing a motion to suppress is done when your constitutional rights were infringed upon in the process of evidence gathering. 

The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement. If it is proven that this vital right was violated while obtaining evidence against you – for example, if officers didn’t have a warrant and there was no exception to the warrant requirement present — any resulting incriminating evidence might be kept out of trial proceedings altogether.

A Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Make Your Strongest Case

A well-crafted defense strategy can significantly impact how your charges are dealt with. It’s essential to work with a criminal defense lawyer who has experience handling these types of charges. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Contact the Dayton Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (937) 531-0435 or visit us at our Dayton law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Dayton
130 West Second Street #17-129
Dayton, OH 45402
United States