Ohio drug laws impose severe penalties for guilty verdicts. Even drug possession charges could result in significant jail time depending on the facts of the case and the person’s criminal record.
If you face drug possession charges, you need to understand Ohio drug possession laws. You also need criminal defense attorneys who have substantial experience representing individuals charged with Ohio drug possession crimes.
What Are the Important Ohio Drug Possession Laws You Need to Know?
The Ohio law for possession of a controlled substance can be found in Ohio Revised Code §2925.11 (ORC possession of drugs). The code defines possession of drugs as knowingly possessing, obtaining, or using a controlled substance or controlled substance analog.
Controlled substances are divided into classes or schedules. Schedule I contains the most serious drugs and is subject to the harshest punishments. Schedule V contains the least serious drugs.
The schedule of the drug is important. The penalty for possession of a controlled substance is based in part on whether the drug is in Schedule I or II or whether it falls in Schedule III through IV. Criminal penalties are also based on the amount of the drug the person possesses at the time of the arrest. The more drugs you have in your possession, the harsher the penalty for a conviction.
Sentences for drug possession can include fines and jail time.
What Are the Controlled Drug Schedules in Ohio?
The five controlled drug schedules for Ohio possession crimes are:
Schedule I contains controlled substances that have a high potential for abuse. There are no accepted medical uses for these drugs. They include marijuana, heroin, and LSD. NOTE: Medical marijuana is allowed with a valid license.
Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, but there are limited accepted medical uses for these drugs. Examples of drugs in Schedule II include oxycodone, cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.
Schedule III controlled substances have acceptable medical uses, and the risk of abuse or dependence is moderate to low. Drugs in this schedule include anabolic steroids and ketamine.
Schedule IV drugs have a low risk of abuse or dependence. They have known medical uses. Drugs in this schedule include Ambien, Valium, and Xanax.
Schedule V drugs have many common medical uses. The risk of abuse is very low. Cough suppressants and antidiarrheal medications fall into this schedule of controlled substances.
Can I Be Arrested for Drug Possession if I Have a Prescription?
Many of the controlled substances in Schedules III, IV, and V are prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions. If you have a prescription from a professionally licensed medical provider, you are not guilty of drug possession.
However, obtaining possession of these drugs through a friend or sharing your prescribed controlled substances can be a crime. Only the person who has the prescription should possess and use the medication. Any leftover medication should be disposed of immediately to avoid mistakes that could result in criminal charges.
Major Drug Offenders and Felony Drug Possession Charges
Is drug possession a felony in Ohio? Yes, many of the charges are classified as felonies.
A major drug offender in Ohio is a person who has 100 times the bulk amount of a drug in his or her possession. The charge is a felony and carries some of the harshest drug penalties.
Aggravated possession of drugs is also a felony charge. The amount of the drug and the schedule of the drug are factors of aggravated possession of drugs charge, as well as whether the person had actual = or constructive possession of the drug.
Penalties for felony drug possession can be severe. The least severe felony punishment is six to 12 months in jail. A felony in the first degree could result in a prison sentence of three to ten years. In addition, you could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $20,000.
Judges and prosecutors take drug possession charges very seriously. If you are charged with drug possession in Ohio, you need to take steps to protect your legal rights. Exercising your right to remain silent except for asking for a criminal defense lawyer is the best thing you can do for yourself after your arrest.
Are There Defenses to Drug Possession Charges?
There are several defenses that you might use to defend yourself against drug possession charges. However, it is unwise to try to argue these defenses without a lawyer. A lawyer analyzes every factor in your case to devise a defense strategy that gives you the best chance of beating the charges.
Potential defenses that an attorney might raise in a drug possession case include:
- You did not “knowingly” possess the drugs
- The drugs belonged to someone else
- You were the victim of police entrapment
- The drugs were found during an illegal search
- The police did not have probable cause for a search warrant
- You were not advised of your legal rights before questioning
- There is a problem with the chain of custody
- There was police misconduct involved in the discovery of the drugs and the arrest
- Errors in the lab’s analysis of the substance
The specific defense depends on the facts of your case. If the evidence against you is weak, the prosecution may agree to drop the charges based on your attorney’s defense strategy. In the alternative, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce the drug charges or agree to an acceptable plea deal.
What Should I Do if I am Arrested for Drug Possession?
Do not argue with the police or resist arrest. That could result in additional criminal charges. It is best to avoid talking to the police because the more you say, the more evidence you could give the police that could be used against you in court.
Remember, police officers lie. They also may try to provoke you to say something. Remain silent except for asking for a lawyer.
When you meet with your lawyer, be honest and upfront. Tell your lawyer everything. What you say to your attorney is confidential. Your lawyer needs to know all the facts to represent you effectively.
Trust that your lawyer is doing everything possible to get you out of jail and keep you out of jail. Follow your attorney’s advice. Do not talk about your case with anyone other than your lawyer.
Contact Our Dayton Drug Possession Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Do not take drug possession charges lightly. While a few drug possession charges may be misdemeanors, many of the charges are felonies. You do not want to risk your freedom by making mistakes before you talk with a lawyer.
Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our Ohio drug possession lawyers. We have substantial experience handling drug crimes. Even if you are innocent, you need an attorney to protect your legal rights.