FREE CONSULTATIONS (614) 444-1900
Penalties for Drug Charges in Ohio

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms. We are highly experienced penalties for drug charges in ohio lawyers. Experience matters when dealing with these cases, which prosecutors and judges handle differently on a case by case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible.

Begin Your Defense Today: (614) 444-1900 Begin Your Defense Today:
(614) 444-1900

Penalties for Drug Charges in Ohio

If you face penalties for drug charges in Ohio, consult a criminal defense lawyer from our firm. Joslyn Law Firm is dedicated to protecting your rights and fighting for your freedom. Our attorneys can negotiate and litigate on your behalf to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. You could walk away from a drug charge without permanent damage to your personal and professional reputation.

A drug charge can forever change your life. While there are different classifications (called schedules) of drugs, any drug conviction could result in incarceration, fines, driver’s license suspension, and even a limit on your future educational, professional, and residential opportunities.

Lawyer for Drug Charge Penalties in Ohio

Joslyn Law Firm can build a case and attempt to help you avoid serving time and other consequences. We have handled 20,000 cases, and we have a record of success as outlined under our drug case legal victories.

Brian Joslyn, our firm’s founder, has been nationally recognized with honors and awards as a top criminal defense lawyer. Our lawyers will aggressively protect your rights with a customized defense strategy.

Please do not take chances with your life and liberty. Call Joslyn Law Firm today for a free consultation: (614) 444-1900.

Penalties for Drug Charges in Ohio Information Center


Back to top

Ohio Drug Possession Laws

Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11 explains Ohio’s drug possession laws. The state classifies controlled substances into five “schedules” that range from the most serious to least serious. (The state uses Roman numerals to number these drug schedules).

Schedule I and II drugs have a high potential for abuse, limited medical use, and therefore, carry the most severe penalties. All controlled substances have the potential for severe penalties if they are in what the state considers “bulk amount.”

Ohio uses the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) guidelines with the following schedules of controlled substances:

*Ohio permits individuals with proper authorization to buy and consume marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the policies of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Arrested on Drug Charges? A Lawyer from Our Firm Can Help with Your Defense

Too often, police officers try to make an individual feel like they are having a conversation when it is an interrogation. Your best defense begins by using your right to remain silent and request that your attorney be present at all phases of your case.

It is intimidating to go through the dehumanizing process of an arrest, mug shot, and spending time in jail. A drug crimes lawyer from our team can prevent you from inadvertently jeopardizing your case.


Back to top

Firearms and Drug Sentencing

It is difficult to predict how a judge or court will rule in a case. However, if you had a gun on your person or in your car at the time of arrest, this will automatically result in a mandatory one-year consecutive prison sentence per Ohio Code §2941.141. Even if your drug charge would not result in prison by itself, possession of a firearm at the time can change that.

For example, if you are sentenced to nine months for possession of marijuana, you can potentially be released early. However, if you had a firearm at the time of arrest, you must serve you one-year term for the firearm, even if you are let out early for the drug charge.


Back to top

About Sentencing for Drug Crimes in Ohio

The type of drug that you allegedly possess will determine your drug crime sentence. A criminal defense lawyer from our firm helps you understand the nature and severity of the charges against you and creates a defense based on these factors.

Ohio Revised Code § 2929.14 determines jail or prison terms, fines, and other penalties.

In general, the following considerations will affect the penalties for drug charges in Ohio:

  • What type of drug: Sentences relate to the schedule of drugs, with Schedule I and Schedule II drugs carrying the harshest penalty.
  • What amount of drug: Quantity makes a difference when you face drug charges (carrying a single joint versus possessing a kilo).
  • What was your location: You could face aggravated charges if you were arrested within 100 feet of a school, public park, or other designated drug-free zone.
  • What were you doing: Drug charges that include an intent to sell or distribute have higher consequences than possession alone.

Ohio law uses the drug schedule classification and a “bulk amounts” formula to determine a specific charge and penalty. Bulk amounts vary depending on the drug. For example, marijuana is measured in weight, while the number of tablets measures OxyContin.

Felony Versus Misdemeanor and Possession Versus Aggravated Possession

Penalties for drug charges in Ohio are felonies or misdemeanors. There are five degrees of felonies, with a first-degree felony carrying the harshest sentences. There are four degrees for misdemeanor charges, and these also range in severity from one to four. Felony and misdemeanor charges are typically written as F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, etc.

Under Ohio law, you could be charged with drug possession if you had Schedule III, IV, or V drugs. If you have Schedule I or II drugs you could be charged with aggravated possession of drugs. Aggravated charges carry harsher penalties.

Sentencing Guidelines, Bulk Amounts, and Drug Scheduling in Ohio

Penalties for possession of controlled substances other than heroin, cocaine, LSD, fentanyl-related compounds, hashish, controlled-substance analogues, and marijuana will depend on whether you had more or less than the defined bulk amount.

Drug schedules per DEA guidelines include some of the following drugs:

  • Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, methaqualone, peyote
  • Schedule II: Cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl, Adderall
  • Schedule III: Ketamine, Anabolic Steroids
  • Schedule IV: Xanax, Ambien, Tramadol
  • Schedule V: Certain cough medicines with codeine (based on amount) like Robitussin AC, Lomotil, Lyrica

Bulk amount is defined under Ohio Revised Code §2925.01. Bulk amount will differ based on the type of drug (or drug schedule). Bulk amounts can be very different depending on the substance, and other factors can impact charges for bulk amounts of controlled substances.

Understanding Felony Sentencing

With felony drug charges, you can face prison time and fines for all levels of offenses. Some charges have mandatory minimum sentencing, which means you are guaranteed to go to prison for a certain amount of time if you are convicted based on the level of the felony.

However, other offenses are at the discretion of the judge and other factors. Some convictions may not require jail time, and the judge may end up sentencing you to community control (probation).

Per Ohio Code § 2929.13 (B)(1)(b), sentencing for fifth- and fourth-degree felonies is nuanced. While some individuals may face only probation or other community control sanctions if they have no priors, others might face prison time. For example, previous convictions or having a gun at the time of the offense can sway a court’s decision to sentence someone to prison.

Our lawyers can examine your case and argue on your behalf for reduced or no sentencing when possible. Our team will investigate your case and see if there were any violations of your rights or if arresting officers did not handle your case properly. Many cases are not straightforward, and our firm is prepared to examine any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to fight for your rights and freedom.


Back to top

Drug Trafficking and Manufacturing or Cultivation

Ohio defines drug trafficking in Ohio Code § 2925.03. Essentially, trafficking comes down to intent for sale, or being aware that the controlled substances are for sale. Drug trafficking felonies are often referred to as “aggravated trafficking” charges.

As for manufacturing or cultivation, Ohio outlines the illegal manufacturing or cultivation of controlled substances in Ohio Code § 2925.04. Both of these charges have special provisions if the trafficking or cultivation occurred in the vicinity of schools or juveniles.


Back to top

Misdemeanor Drug Possession Chart
DrugAmountMisdemeanor TypeMaximum FinesPrison Time RangeNotes
MarijuanaLess than 100 gramsMinor Misdemeanor$150N/AThese convictions do not create a criminal record.
Marijuana100 to 200 gramsFourth-Degree Misdemeanor$250Up to 30 daysPenalties may include both fines and jail time.
Schedule III, IV, VLess than the defined bulk amount.First-Degree Misdemeanor$1,000Up to 180 daysIf you have a previous conviction of a drug offense, this crime will
become a Fifth-Degree Felony.

Back to top

Misdemeanor Drug Trafficking Chart
DrugAmountMisdemeanor TypeMaximum FinePrison TimeNote
Marijuana (in vicinity of a school)Gift of 20 grams or lessMinor Misdemeanor$150N/AMinor misdemeanor (MM) on first offense, M-3 on a subsequent
offense.
Marijuana (in vicinity of a juvenile)Gift of 20 grams or lessThird-Degree Misdemeanor$50060 daysPenalties may include both fines and jail time.

Back to top

Misdemeanor Drug Manufacturing or Cultivation Chart
DrugAmountMisdemeanor TypeMaximum FinePrison Time MaximumNote
MarijuanaLess than 100 gramsMinor Misdemeanor$150N/A
Marijuana (in vicinity of a school or juvenile)Less than 100 gramsFourth-Degree Misdemeanor$25030 daysPenalties may include both fines and jail time.
Marijuana100 grams to less than 200 gramsFourth-Degree Misdemeanor$25030 daysPenalties may include both fines and jail time.
Marijuana (in vicinity of a school or juvenile)100 grams to less than 200 gramsThird-Degree Misdemeanor$50060 daysPenalties may include both fines and jail time.

Back to top

Felony Drug Possession Chart
Fifth-Degree Felony (F-5): Possession
DrugAmountMaximum FinePrison TimeNote
Schedule I or IILess than the defined bulk amount$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time per Ohio Code §
2929.13 (B)(1)(a)
.
Marijuana200 grams to less than 1 kilogram$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time per Ohio Code § 2929.13 (B)(1)(a).
CocaineLess than 5 grams$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time per Ohio Code § 2929.13 (B)(1)(a).
HeroinLess than 1 gram$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time per Ohio Code § 2929.13 (B)(1)(a).
LSD (Solid or Liquid)Less than 1 gram$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time per Ohio Code § 2929.13 (B)(1)(a).
Fentanyl-Related CompoundLess than 1 gram$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time per Ohio Code § 2929.13 (B)(1)(a).

Back to top

Felony Drug Trafficking Chart
Fifth-Degree Felony (F-5): Trafficking
DrugAmountMaximum FinePrison TimeNote
Schedule III, IV, VLess than the defined bulk amount$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time.
MarijuanaMore than 200 grams$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time.
Cocaine< 5 g$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time.
Heroin< 1 g < 10 UD$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time.
LSD< 10 UD (solid) < 1 g (liquid)$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time.
Fentanyl-Related Compound< 1 g < 10 UD$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time.

Back to top

Felony Drug Manufacturing or Cultivation Chart
Fifth-Degree Felony (F-5): Manufacturing/Cultivation
DrugAmountMaximum FinePrison TimeNote
Marijuana≥ 200 g to < 1 kg$2,5006 to 12 monthsThis felony may result in community control sanctions instead of
prison time.

Back to top

Penalties for Drug Crimes Last for Years or Your Entire Life

Penalties for drug crimes in Ohio may extend beyond a prison sentence or probationary period. If you are convicted of a drug crime, you could experience one or more of these restrictions to your liberty and personal freedom:

  • Permanent criminal record
  • Loss of voting rights
  • Inability to run for elected office
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Loss of gun ownership rights
  • Custody restrictions of minor children
  • Inability to serve your country in the military
  • Financial problems because you cannot qualify for specific jobs
  • Possible deportation depending on your legal status

A criminal defense lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm fights to protect your rights, life, and liberty.


Back to top

Federal Drug Sentencing

Some people are prosecuted for drug crimes at a state level, but others may be facing federal charges. Drug crimes usually fall under federal guidelines if you are transporting drugs across state lines, if a federal officer arrests you, or if your crime happened on federal land or by mail.

Federal sentencing can be complicated and intimidating. Our lawyers can handle both state and federal charges, even if you are facing both at the same time. Let our team handle this for you so you don’t have to face these charges alone.

The chart below gives a quick overview of the federal drug sentencing guidelines outlined in 21 U.S.C. § 841:

Federal Drug Sentencing5 – Year Mandatory Minimum*10 – Year Mandatory Minimum*
Marijuana100,000 grams (100 kilos or plants)1,000,000 grams (1,000 kilos or plants)
Crack Cocaine28 grams280 grams
Powder Cocaine500 grams5,000 grams (5 kilos)
Heroin100 grams1,000 grams (1 kilo)
LSD1 gram10 grams
Fentanyl40 grams of fentanyl mixture or 10 grams
for a mixture containing a fentanyl analogue
400 grams of fentanyl mixture or 100 grams
for a mixture containing a fentanyl analogue
PCP10 grams of pure PCP or 100 grams of a PCP
mixture
100 grams of pure PCP or 1000 grams (1
kilo) of a PCP mixture
Methamphetamine5 grams of pure methamphetamine or 50 grams
of a methamphetamine mixture
50 grams of pure methamphetamine or 500
grams of a methamphetamine mixture
If 1 prior felony drug offense (for any drug)10-year mandatory minimum sentence for
above weights
20-year mandatory minimum sentence for
above weights
If death results on first drug offense for all drugs, (including
Schedule I and II)
20-year mandatory minimum sentence for
above weights
20-year mandatory minimum sentence for
above weights
If death results with 1 prior felony drug offense for all drugs
(including Schedule I and II)
Mandatory life sentence for above weightsMandatory life sentence for above weights
If 2 or more prior felony drug offensesN/AMandatory life sentence for above weights

*These minimums do not include parole.

 


Back to top

Defenses for Drug Crimes in Ohio

Our firm’s founder, award-winning attorney Brian Joslyn, knows from personal experience the importance of a strong defense. As a teen, Brian was unfairly and wrongly entangled in the criminal justice system.

Since then, Brian has become a staunch advocate for individuals facing arrests or criminal charges. Your attorney is your legal advocate and confidant. Everything you discuss is considered privileged information. A criminal defense lawyer with our firm is here to help you throughout this process.

Possible Defenses for a Drug Crime

There are several defenses to a drug charge, including:

  • You did not know that you possessed a controlled substance. For example, you borrowed a friend’s car without knowing there were drugs in the trunk.
  • You have a doctor’s prescription for a controlled substance.
  • Your arrest was the result of an illegal search and seizure.
  • You are a human trafficking victim forced into selling drugs.

Sometimes you find yourself in circumstances beyond your control. You cannot change the past, but we can help you prevent future losses. A lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm who understands drug charges can be a powerful ally.


Back to top

Resources for Drug Crimes in Ohio

Drug addiction is often a reason for drug crimes. Joslyn Law Firm can connect you with resources to help you or a loved one who has an addiction. Our legal team is committed to helping you with the best representation possible combined with a genuine desire to help those in need.

The following is a list of resources that you may find helpful throughout your drug arrest and sentencing. They include addiction support services, drug rehabilitation centers, and social services.


Back to top

Ohio Drug Crimes in the News

A criminal defense lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm will attempt to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of a future case, our law firm has successfully defended many Ohioans arrested on drug crime charges.

Drugs arrests are often in the news, such as:

Franklin County Corrections Officer Arrested on Drug Charges

Lonnie Maxson, 32, was arrested after allegedly attempting to receive two prescriptions for the same pain reliever.

According to NBC4i, Maxson tried to obtain a prescription for hydrocodone-acetaminophen while he already had an open prescription for the same drug.

Troopers Seize $60,000 Worth of Fentanyl Pills During Madison County Traffic Stop

Ohio State Troopers stopped Jason Butler, 27, for speeding but realized criminal indicators when a police dog alerted them to the vehicle. Inside the center console, they found $60,000 worth of fentanyl, prompting the troopers to arrest Butler for possession of drugs, a first-degree felony.

If Butler is convicted, he could face 11 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine, according to FOX28.

Columbus Man Pleads Guilty to Methamphetamine Conspiracy

Rashawn Akmed Miller, 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as part of a busted polydrug network operation. Miller now faces up to 40 years in prison if he’s convicted. His sentencing is scheduled to take place on July 27, 2021.


Back to top

Ohio Drug Crime Penalties FAQs

Q. How Much Marijuana Is Considered a Felony?

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11, individuals caught with small amounts of marijuana usually face misdemeanor charges. However, you could be charged with a felony if you have more than 200 grams of marijuana in your possession.

Q. Will I Do Time for a Fifth-Degree Felony Drug Charge?

The maximum penalties for a fifth-degree felony (F-5) drug charge include up to one year in prison, $2,500 fine, and mandatory probation (community control). You could also be labeled as a felon on your permanent record, which could cost you the right to vote, bear arms, and run for office.

Q. What Should I Do if I Am Arrested on Drug Charges?

Our legal team recommends that you do not resist arrest and calmly refuse to answer any police questions without an attorney present to represent you.

Q. Could I Be Sentenced to Drug Rehab Instead of Jail?

Depending on the nature of your charges and any personal history of drug abuse or addiction, the court may sentence you to mandatory drug rehabilitation rather than a jail sentence. Higher level felonies are not typically eligible for rehab, only lower-level felonies or misdemeanors can qualify.

Q: What Happens if I Have a Gun on Me When I’m Arrested?

Firearms during a drug bust typically add a mandatory one-year sentence that is served consecutively. This applies to crimes that might not otherwise result in jail time.

Q: Can I Avoid Prison Time for an Ohio Drug Offense?

It depends. Some drug crimes have mandatory minimum sentencing, like second- and first-degree felonies, and you must serve time. Some felonies are more likely to go to prison even if the sentence is not mandatory, but it will depend on the court and circumstances of your offense. A court or judge will weigh your behavior, prior record, the presence of a firearm, and other details of your case.

Q: Which Ohio Drug Offenses Have Mandatory Minimum Sentences?

First- and second-degree felony drug charges have mandatory minimum sentences. These crimes do not qualify for good behavior or judicial release. The presence of firearms will also enhance your sentence with an additional mandatory minimum that must be served consecutively.

Q: What Are the Differences Between Federal and State Drug Charges in Ohio?

Federal drug laws can be complicated, but essentially, federal drug charges deal with the location of the drugs at the time of the arrest. For instance, if you were crossing a state or national border with drugs, this case would typically result in federal charges. It is possible to be charged with both state and federal crimes, which can make cases challenging for anyone unfamiliar with state or federal laws. Our lawyers can assist you regardless of the level of your crime.


Back to top

How an Ohio Drug Charge Penalties Lawyer Can Help You

It is frightening to become entangled in our criminal justice system. It is your right to consult a lawyer and hire that person as your legal advocate.

Penalties for drug charges in Ohio are among the toughest in the nation. A criminal defense lawyer with Joslyn Law Firm will fight strenuously for the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.

We Create Reasonable Doubt in the Prosecution’s Case

The Constitution guarantees you the right to ask for a trial by jury. You also are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. Both rights are powerful elements in a strong defense.

It is up to the state to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Our award-winning legal team understands what it takes to create this reasonable doubt if your case goes to trial.

We Will Attempt to Reach a Plea Bargain on Your Behalf

A lawyer with Joslyn Law Firm could reach a plea bargain where you avoid serving time or paying a fine.

There are a few contributing factors that can affect the success of a plea bargain:

  • Nature of the charges against you
  • Class of controlled substance
  • Previous drug or other criminal charges

Your life can change in a second when you face drug charges. Use all the available resources to avoid spending time in jail (or prison), paying thousands of dollars in fines, and potentially sacrificing your reputation and career.


Back to top

Get a Free Consultation Now to Get Started with a Drug Charges Lawyer

If you or a loved one was arrested or charged with a drug crime, it is important to build a defense as soon as possible. Call Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Ohio with a team of lawyers and investigators who are determined to deliver the best outcome for your case.


Back to top

  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Begin Your
Defense Today
Joslyn Law Firm Group Photo Joslyn Law Firm Group Photo

Use the form below to request your free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.