Heroin Possession

Ohio law doesn’t take drug charges lightly. The penalties are often determined by the drug’s potential for chemical dependency. Heroin is considered a high-risk controlled substance and is classified as a schedule I drug. Possessing even trace amounts of the controlled substance can result in serious penalties including time in prison.

A conviction of any kind can have a lasting effect on your life. If you’re convicted for possession of heroin, you could be facing felony charges. A felony conviction on your record could be a serious cause for alarm for future employers or educational institutions. You may be denied from job, housing or scholarship opportunities.

If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of heroin, it’s in your best interest to seek trusted legal representation.

Columbus Attorneys for Heroin Possession in Ohio

It’s prohibited in Ohio to possess, distribute or transfer heroin. Even holding a small amount of heroin can lead to felony charges and even incarceration. For these reasons, it’s important you’re prepared for whatever could happen in that courtroom. That is why we highly advise you secure legal counsel as soon as possible. 

Find excellent criminal defense attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm. Our defense lawyers are experienced in handling all types of drug cases in Ohio’s courts. We strive to obtain the best possible results for your case using our resources and extensive knowledge. Find not just an attorney, but a legal partner with Joslyn Law Firm by calling us at Joslyn Law Firm.

Joslyn Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Franklin County area including Columbus, Grove City, Hilliard, Gahanna, and Worthington.

Overview of Heroin Possession Charges in OH

Penalties for Heroin Possession in Columbus, OH

Heroin, also known as diamorphine, is an opioid that can induce euphoric effects in the user. It’s considered a high-risk drug that has a high potential for physical dependence. For this reason, Ohio lawmakers have categorized it as schedule I drug which carries the harshest penalties. It must be taken into consideration that even the trace amounts of heroin possession can result in felony charges.

 Amount of Heroin


 Maximum Fine

 Maximum Prison Time

Less than 1 Gram

5th Degree Felony


Up to 12 Months

1 to 5 Grams

4th Degree Felony


Up to 18 Months

5 to 10 Grams

3rd Degree Felony


Up to 5 Years

10 to 50 Grams

2nd Degree Felony


Up to 8 Years

50 to 250 Grams

1st Degree Felony


Up to 10 Years

Greater than 250 Grams

1st Degree Felony


Up to 10 Years

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The Difference Between Actual and Constructive Possession

You must be in either actual or constructive possession to be charged with possession of a controlled substance in Ohio. If the prosecution is unable to prove you were in actual or constructive possession, then they’ll likely be unable to convict you. 

However, it’s important to know there’s a stark difference between actual and constructive possession in the eyes of the law. Actual possession is when someone has the controlled substance on their body or within arm’s reach. For instance, if you had heroin in your pocket you would be in actual possession.

Constructive possession is a little more complicated. It’s when a person meets all the following requirements listed below: 

  • They were aware the substance was in their vicinity;
  • They had knowledge that it was illegal; and
  • The ability to maintain control over the substance

The term “control” in this context means you could choose what would happen to this substance. It means you have complete dominion over what can happen to it.

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Drug Courts in Columbus, Ohio

The penalties associated with heroin possession are severe. Thankfully, the state of Ohio has created an alternative to incarceration for drug offenders. In some cases, the courts will choose to rehabilitate the offender by requiring them to participate in a drug court program. 

Drug courts in Ohio serve to stop the vicious cycle of drug abuse and criminal activity. Successful completion of the program will result in your charges either being reduced or dismissed entirely. However, not everyone can join drug court. You must meet the requirements if you choose to participate. These include: 

  • Diagnosis of a chemical dependency in a substance abuse evaluation;
  • Having enough motivation for treatment and change;
  • Meeting the guidelines for a presumption of probation; and
  • Convicted of a 4th or 5th degree drug-related felony offense

People who are disqualified from drug court include:

  • Charges which are violent or sexually oriented;
  • A firearm was involved in the offense;
  • The offender has multiple prior felony convictions;
  • The offender has a prior felony drug trafficking charge; and
  • The offender has a prior conviction for a violent crime

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Additional Resources

Drug Laws in Ohio – Visit the official website for Ohio’s Laws and Rules, to learn more about their legislation regarding possession of a controlled substance. Access the statutes to learn the penalties to possessing heroin as well as other substances such as cocaine, cannabis or LSD.

Franklin County Drug Court – Visit the official website for the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to learn more about their drug court program. Access their site to learn the requirements, contact information, and the phases of the drug court itself. 

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Defense Lawyer for Heroin Possession in Franklin County, Ohio

If you’ve been arrested for heroin possession, it’s highly recommended you hire an experienced attorney. Possessing even minimal amounts of heroin can result in a felony charge. A conviction can hinder you in both your professional and personal goals as well as lead to serious penalties including incarceration. It’s important you’re prepared for anything by hiring legal representation.

Be proactive and start your defense today. Pick up the phone to call (614) 444-1900 for a skilled and knowledgeable attorney from Joslyn Law Firm. We are experienced in criminal defense and have represented people in numerous drug-related cases. Let us help you in these trying times.

Joslyn Law Firm represents people throughout the Columbus area and surrounding cities including Hilliard, Grove City, Groveport, Bexley and Whitehall.

This article was last updated on July 2, 2019.

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