Defense Lawyer For Aggravated Possession of Drugs in Columbus, Ohio
The State of Ohio takes drug possession or the possession of a controlled substance charges seriously. If police find drugs in your possession, it does not matter if you knew anything about them, if you are struggling with addiction, or if you are involved in criminal activity—getting the best outcome for your case hinges on protecting and enforcing your rights.
A Columbus drug crimes lawyer from the Joslyn Law Firm can untangle the complexities of your possession case. Our firm has handled more than 15,000 criminal cases. Columbus CEO magazine designated us as “Top Lawyer,” and the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys nominated us as a “10 Best Criminal Defense Firms in Ohio.”
Columbus Drug Possession Lawyer Near You
Possession of a controlled substance in Ohio can lead to hefty fines, jail time, or even imprisonment. A host of other consequences only add to the aftermath of a conviction. You have too much at stake with a drug possession conviction to take your chances with the criminal justice system.
If you have been arrested, are under investigation, or are otherwise facing charges for possession of a controlled substance, call the Joslyn Law Firm for a consultation. We are dedicated to protecting your rights.
Call today at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your case. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin reviewing your case and building your defense.
Understanding Ohio Drug Possession Laws
Ohio Drug Possession Charges Information Center
- Definition of Drug Possession Crimes
- Ohio Controlled Substance Schedules
- Drug Possession Crimes in Ohio
- Defenses to Drug Possession in Ohio
- Ohio Penalties for Drug Possession Offenses
- Collateral Consequences of Drug Possession Conviction in Ohio
- Columbus Drug Possession Investigations
- Evidence Drug Possession Cases
- Suppression of Evidence in Ohio Drug cases
- Ohio Court process in Drug possession cases
- Special Investigators and Prosecutors for Columbus Drug Possession Charges
- Drug Possession Resources
- Notable Ohio Drug Possession Cases
- Columbus Drug Treatment Centers
- Related Drug Possession News and Articles
- Frequently Asked Questions
Definition of Ohio Drug Possession Crimes
Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11 makes it a crime to “knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance.”
Prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had either actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. With actual possession, the alleged offender had physical control of the substance. With constructive possession, the individual had access to the controlled drugs and knew about them. This type of possession is harder to prove.
Some drug possession crimes constitute federal offenses, and they carry penalties associated with federal crimes.
How the state defines a drug possession crime and its corresponding penalties depends largely on two criteria: the quantity of drugs and the type of drug.
The state assigns each type of drug to one of five schedules (categories), according to their inherent risk of harm and their medical use.
Ohio Controlled Substance Schedules
Ohio Rev. Code § 3719.41 adopts the federal controlled substances schedule “for purposes of administration, enforcement and regulation of” controlled substances.
Schedule I drugs are those carrying the highest risk and the least amount of legitimate medical use. At the other end of the spectrum, Schedule V substances exhibit a comparatively lower risk relative to their medical use.
A collection of criteria guides the decision for where to place each controlled substance, as follows:
- Potential for abuse
- Historical severity of abuse
- Addictive potential
- Pharmacological effects
- Scientific knowledge of the drug
- Risk of danger to public health
- Whether it is used to manufacture another illegal substance
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy is tasked with adding and removing drugs from the state’s controlled substance schedules.
Descriptions of Ohio Controlled Substance Schedules
The following list describes each of Ohio’s controlled substance schedules (drug type and usage) and includes examples of drugs in each schedule:
- Schedule I: No valid medical use; high potential for abuse. Examples include ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and LSD.
- Schedule II: High potential for abuse and dependence (physical or psychological), but some medical use. Examples include cocaine, Vicodin, methadone, oxycodone, Ritalin, methamphetamines, and fentanyl.
- Schedule III: Potential for abuse rates as low to moderate with similar risk of psychological and physical dependence. Examples include anabolic steroids, Tylenol with codeine, testosterone, and ketamine.
- Schedule IV: Abuse potential and dependence risk is low. Examples include Darvon, Ambien, Xanax, Tramadol, Soma, Darvocet, Darvon, and Talwin.
- Schedule V: Lowest potential for abuse and limited amounts of narcotic ingredients. Examples include various antidiarrhea, analgesic, and antitussive drugs, like Robitussin AC, Lyrica, Lomotil, Parapectolin, and Motofen.
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy provides a complete table of controlled substances, along with their respective Schedule assignments and bulk amounts used for determining penalties.
Common Drug Possession Crimes in Ohio
A person in “possession” of Schedule III, IV, or V drugs could face standard drug possession charges.
Possession of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs qualifies as aggravated drug possession in the state of Ohio. Exceptions to this rule include possession of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, hashish, LSD, and controlled substance analogs.
The various drug possession-related crimes in Ohio include:
- Possession of a controlled substance (PCS)
- Possession with intent to sell a controlled substance
- Possession of marijuana
- Possession of marijuana in a school zone
- Cultivating marijuana
- Possession of a forged prescription
- Prescription drugs not in a proper container
- Possession of methamphetamine precursor
- Manufacturing methamphetamine
- Federal drug offenses
Some drug offenses constitute federal crimes. The Controlled Substances Act (21 USC § 13) defines these charges, along with their associated penalties. If you are facing both state and federal drug possession charges it is imperative that you contact a drug possession defense attorney near you like those at Joslyn Law Firm.
The USC also accounts for the fact that drugs can come into Ohio from different countries, typically the result of many people working in drug transactions. As such, the Act stipulates that an individual can be charged with a federal drug offense even when they are in Ohio. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) posts the complete Act, including offenses and penalties for federal drug possession crimes on its website.
The Joslyn Law Firm represents clients accused of drug possession offenses. Our attorneys can investigate your case, build a defense, represent you in court, and protect your rights. Call us today for a consultation: (614) 444-1900.
Defenses to Drug Possession in Ohio
A criminal defense lawyer in your area will review the drug possession case, along with the police report and other evidence to identify possible defenses. Possible defenses against a drug possession charge include:
Entrapment happens when law enforcement officers get a person to commit a crime they would otherwise not commit. If the defense can prove entrapment occurred, it will lead to the defendant’s acquittal.
Courts can test the entrapment defense using two standards: objective and subjective. With the objective standard, the court must decide whether actions taken by the police would be enough to induce a law-abiding person to commit a crime. With a subjective standard, the court must be convinced that the defendant was not predisposed to committing a crime. It will then fall upon the prosecution to prove that the defendant was, in fact, predisposed to commit a crime.
Substance Was Not a Controlled Drug
A defense attorney can present the defense that the substance found in the defendant’s possession was not an illegal drug in the state of Ohio. This defense puts the ball in the prosecutor’s court. They will send the substance to a crime lab for testing. The prosecution can make its case only if the analysis finds that the drug was an illegal substance.
Violation of the Fourth Amendment
This defense calls upon the court to honor the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees lawful search and seizures prior to an arrest, as an integral element in the amendment’s provision of due process of law. If the court determines that an illegal search and seizure took place—or some other violation of the Fourth Amendment occurred—and it was during this illegal search and seizure that law enforcement discovered the controlled substance, then the key evidence (the drugs) cannot be admitted into evidence. Without the drugs, the prosecution has no case.
A common example of this defense in a drug possession case involves the legal concept of “plain view.” In order for the drugs to be used to convict a person of possession, they must be out in the open and easily seen—in “plain view;” the police may not trespass or infringe on individuals’ privacy rights to better observe the drugs; and the police must have probable cause to believe that the drugs are illegal substances.
If a defendant is pulled over for running a stop sign, and the police officer sees a bag of cocaine sitting in the passenger seat, this constitutes plain view, and the police can lawfully seize the drugs. However, if the bag of cocaine is in a locked trunk that the driver does not authorize the police to search, and the police do so anyway, the cocaine cannot be admitted into evidence. This latter example would be an unlawful search and seizure, and a violation of the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Other examples where Fourth Amendment rights violations can be used as a defense include:
- Illegal wiretapping or surveillance (without a warrant)
- Searching without a warrant
- Canine searches (without probable cause)
- Illegal stops (without reasonable suspicion)
Proving an illegal search and seizure can be all that’s needed to dismiss or reduce a charge of possession of a controlled substance.
Medical Marijuana Exception
In June 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed HB 523 into law, legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana, provided the user has a doctor’s prescription. The law permits the dispensing of medical marijuana in various forms, including oils, tinctures, edibles, plant material, and patches. Other parameters of the law, including qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana, can be found in Title 37 Chapter 3796 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Drugs Did Not Belong to the Accused
Ohio law stipulates that just because controlled substances were found in or on property owned or occupied by an individual does not, in and of itself, mean that the individual was in legal possession of the drugs. A defense lawyer can argue that their client did not own the drugs and was not aware of their presence.
The Controlled Substance Was Planted
The defendant’s legal counsel can file a motion demanding that the police department release the law enforcement officer’s complaint file. Complainants can be then questioned and investigated in an effort to reveal evidence that the drugs were planted.
Drugs Are Missing
Sometimes confiscated evidence, including drugs, does not make it to the evidence locker. They may get lost during the course of multiple transfers. If the prosecutor cannot find the drugs, the case against the defendant may be dismissed.
Ohio Penalties for Drug Possession Offenses
The level of offense for drug possession charges depends on the type of drug and quantity of drug, including whether the quantity of drugs constitutes a “bulk amount.” Ohio Rev. Code § 2925.01(D) defines the quantity necessary to qualify for a bulk amount of drugs, which varies by controlled substance.
Below are the penalties for the various levels of offenses in Ohio:
|Level of Offense||Maximum Fine||Jail or Prison Term|
|Misdemeanor of the fourth degree||$250||30 days in jail|
|Misdemeanor of the third degree||$500||60 days in jail|
|Misdemeanor of the second degree||$750||90 days in jail|
|Misdemeanor of the first degree||$1,000||Up to 180 days in jail|
|Felony of the fifth degree||$2,500||6 to 12 months in prison|
|Felony of the fourth degree||$5,000||6 to 18 months in prison|
|Felony of the third degree||$10,000|
|1 to 5 years in prison|
|Felony of the second degree||$15,000|
|2 to 8 years in prison|
|Felony of the first degree||$20,000|
|3 to 11 years in prison|
Penalties may vary from case to case, so consult an attorney for help with your drug possession case.
Penalties for Possession of Schedule III, IV, or V Substances
Quantities of Schedule III, IV, or IV substances that are less than the bulk amount constitute a misdemeanor of the first degree. Repeat offenses are a felony of the fifth degree. Possession of a bulk amount of the substance elevates the offense.
Penalties for Possession of Schedule I or II Substances
Possession of a Schedule I or II substance – other than marihuana, cocaine, LSD, heroin, hashish, or controlled substance analogs – carries a charge of aggravated drug possession, which is a felony:
- Of the third degree, with a presumed prison sentence, if law enforcement discovers amounts of drugs that constitute a bulk quantity or greater but less than five times a bulk amount.
- Of the second degree, with a mandatory minimum sentence of two years, if police uncover drugs five times greater than the bulk amount but less than 50 times the bulk amount.
- Of the first degree, with a mandatory minimum prison term of three years, if the discovered drug amounts are as much as 50 times greater than a bulk quantity, but less than one 100 times the bulk amount.
- Major drug offenders (in possession of at least 100 times the bulk amount) are guilty of a first-degree felony and will receive a mandatory, maximum first-degree felony prison term.
Charges for possession of marihuana, cocaine, LSD, heroin, hashish, and controlled substance analogs similarly depend on the quantity of the drug.
Collateral Consequences of Drug Possession Conviction in Ohio
A drug possession conviction could impact offenders in ways that extend far beyond the penalties of imprisonment, parole, probation, fines, court costs, supervised release, forfeiture, and restitution. Once convicted of a crime in Ohio, a person faces many collateral consequences.
Felony drug convictions, for example can result in:
- Revocation of some state professional licenses
- Being barred from joining the military service
- Revocation of passports
The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Service (OJSC) conducted research into the collateral consequences to criminal convictions, including those for drug possession offenses. The State of Ohio imposes a wide range of such consequences, which the OJSC report divides into the following categories:
- Civil rights (ineligibility for jury duty, voting rights, public office, disenfranchisement affected 40 percent of respondents)
- Public employment and conducting business with the State (affected over 37 percent of study respondents)
- Custody, care, and control of family and children (custody affected over 30 percent of respondents)
- Regulated occupations, professions, businesses, and industries (20 percent of respondents experienced revocation of or ineligibility for professional licenses)
- Other privileges (firearms privileges affected 70 percent of respondents; this whole category, which also included suspension of driving privileges, affected 40 percent of respondents).
The report also conveyed the researchers’ belief that more than 50 percent of the respondents would be subject to random drug testing as a result of their conviction. The collateral consequence with the greatest impact among the entire group of respondents was the fact that prior convictions would play a role in sentencing for future criminal activities.
Legal Remedies for Collateral Consequences
Some drug possession offenders can obtain relief from these collateral consequences through the use of various legal mechanisms. Some of the mechanisms available for this effort include:
- Sealing of the criminal record
- Satisfying rehabilitation requirements
Although a drug crimes lawyer’s first priority is to avoid a conviction for their client, in the case that this effort does not succeed, a lawyer can also seek remedies that will mitigate collateral consequences for the client.
How Long Do The Police Have to File Drug Charges in Ohio?
Drug crimes have become an area of intense interest for Ohio investigators, and Columbus police put a great deal of time, planning, and effort into their investigations of these crimes. The statute of limitations for drug charges in Ohio is dependent on whether the possession charges are considered a misdemeanor or a felony. For misdemeanor drug charges the police have 2 years to file charges for felony drug charges the statute of limitations is 6 years.
When law enforcement receives a tip or complaint, or they otherwise suspect an individual of possession of a controlled substance, they may not arrest the suspect on the spot. Rather, they may:
- Request search warrants and execute the warrants.
- Place surveillance units and systems outside the suspect’s home.
- Use confidential informants (CI) to conduct controlled buys with recorded money.
If upon executing a warrant, police discover contraband, like illegal drugs, they may seize the substances. However, this does not mean the alleged offender will be charged at that time. Law enforcement may continue to investigate, gathering more evidence to strengthen the prosecutor’s case of drug possession and possibly other offenses.
A criminal defense lawyer near you at the Joslyn Law Firm will thoroughly examine the police investigation in your drug possession case to ensure your Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights were not violated in any way. Call us today at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation.
Evidence in Drug Possession Cases
The outcome of a drug possession case can tip for or against the defendant depending on the evidence presented in court.
Prosecutors in drug possession cases typically have access to many types of evidence, including:
- Surveillance footage
- Audio recordings
- Recorded buy money
- Wire taps
- Crime labs results
- Logbooks related to drug sales
- Schedules related to cultivation
- Witness testimony
- Police officer testimony
- Police body cameras
The defense of a drug possession case relies heavily on the criminal defense lawyer’s knowledge of the full range of evidence that the prosecutor plans to admit to the court and, just as important, an understanding of the legal tools that can be used to suppress or discredit as much evidence as possible.
Suppression of Evidence in Ohio Drug cases
A criminal defense attorney experienced in drug crimes aims to eliminate evidence. The less evidence the prosecutor has, the harder it is for them to prove the defendant’s guilt—and the weaker their case becomes. For this reason, a defense lawyer sets out early on in a case to look for evidence they can exclude.
A defense lawyer can file motions to exclude pieces of evidence that were unlawfully obtained. If, for example, police violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights by conducting an unlawful search and seizure that yielded evidence of cocaine possession, defense counsel can file to exclude the cocaine from the prosecutor’s case. Without evidence of cocaine, there is no possession of a controlled substance case.
A court can suppress evidence for several reasons, including:
- Unlawful search and seizure, revealing evidence that otherwise would not have been discovered
- Neglecting to read Miranda rights, perhaps resulting in a confession or improperly obtained statements
- Errors in evidence chain of custody, thereby damaging credibility
Prosecutors have multiple means for fighting against the suppression of evidence, including the officer’s belief they were acting in good faith and the probability that the illegally seized evidence would have inevitably been discovered legally.
Ohio Court Process in Drug Possession Cases
An individual who has been charged with drug possession in Ohio will go through the court system. It is useful for an alleged offender to be aware of how the process affects them. Here at the Joslyn Law Firm, we are with our clients every step of the way.
Arraignment or Intake
In this first step of the judicial process, the defendant will appear before a judge who will formally notify the defendant of the charge or charges filed against them. The defendant will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, and then the judge will inform the defendant of conditions to which they must adhere while the case is pending. The defendant may also be required to post bail or bond in order to stay out of jail while the case is pending. The judge will notify the defendant of the next hearing and possibly other future court hearings and the trial date.
The judge uses this hearing to check the progress of the case and address any issues that have arisen since the arraignment. The judge can resolve issues related to witnesses and evidence. If the case will be moving on to trial, any motion hearings will be set, as will the trial date.
At this stage, a defense attorney can file any of a variety of motions. Common types of motions include motions to dismiss (due to insufficient evidence, failure to preserve evidence, no probable cause for arrest, for example); and motions to suppress evidence.
Both sides let the court know if they are ready for trial. Either the defense or the prosecution can ask for a continuance if they do not feel they are prepared for trial.
Some drug possession cases do not make it to full trial. If the case proceeds to this stage, the defendant may be able to choose between a bench trial (trial by judge) or a jury trial. A defense lawyer can advise the defendant on which type of trial would be most advantageous. During the trial, the prosecutor will present evidence to prove the elements of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge or jury will decide if the prosecutor has succeeded in this regard and decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will decide the sentence. A defense lawyer can make a sentencing recommendation unless a sentence has been negotiated with the prosecutor. The defendant will have the opportunity to deliver a statement to the court.
Special Investigators/Prosecutors for Columbus Drug Possession Charges
The state of Ohio features hyper-focused drug crimes teams who have committed themselves to the statewide mission of prosecuting drug offenses, including possession charges.
Specialized prosecution teams are fortified with specialized task forces, including Ohio’s Drug Task Forces, a group of 27 multi-jurisdictional task forces that work as an investigative collaboration between sheriffs’ offices and municipal police departments. In February of 2020, Governor DeWine announced the state would be granting $5 million in grants to these task forces, significantly boosting their drug-busting resources.
The Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force aims to “reduce drug distribution and money laundering organizations, and the associated violent crimes in the Ohio HIDTA [high intensity drug trafficking area] region, and undermine the development of violent gangs that traffic in controlled substances.” They do this by sharing intelligence with “unified law enforcement efforts.” The Franklin County HIDTA Drug Task Force comprises the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), various police departments, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.
The Columbus Police Department’s Special Operations Unit addresses narcotics with a Tactical Unit it can deploy to any situation involving immediate action from law enforcement.
Governor DeWine created the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center (ONIC) in 2019. This specialized criminal intelligence unit operates as a part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety in Columbus. It will boost anti-drug efforts in local law enforcement with criminal intelligence analysts and computer forensic specialists, as well as advanced support in cryptocurrency and dark web investigations. ONIC makes available to the state an intelligence-driven, electronic platform that enables drug task forces to share information from their investigations with law enforcement agencies across the state.
The Ohio National Guard’s Counterdrug Program provides support to the state’s law enforcement, helping them “anticipate, detect, deter, disrupt, and defeat” illegal drugs in communities throughout Ohio.
At the prosecution level, Franklin County employs a drug unit prosecutor who has several attorneys reporting to her. Ohio’s attorney general can also handle drug cases.
At the interstate and international levels, the DEA enters the picture to investigate and prepare for prosecution drug activity that violates national drug laws and regulations.
With all these heavy-hitting anti-drug measures in place, the State of Ohio, Franklin County, and the city of Columbus have sent their message loud and clear. They are serious about drug cases—from investigation through prosecution.
Contact A Drug Possession Attorney in Ohio Near You
If you stand accused of possession of a controlled substance in Columbus, you must be aware of how seriously these offenses are investigated and prosecuted. Work with a criminal defense lawyer at Joslyn Law Firm to represent you throughout the investigative and judicial process—someone who can protect your rights amid all of these anti-drug efforts.
Call the Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation: (614) 444-1900.
Drug Possession Resources
- Ohio Revised Code: Drug Possession (Chapter 2925.11): Ohio’s laws related to drug possession
- Franklin County Drug Court: operates the “Treatment is Essential to Success” (TIES) Program aimed at curbing the impact of drug use on Franklin County crime by linking offenders to treatment programs.
- Ohio Drug Courts: facilitates the creation of drug court programs in the state
- National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS): DEA program that collects drug chemistry analysis results from cases analyzed by state, local and federal forensic laboratories.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: supports and conducts clinical research on the use of drugs and disseminates findings to improve treatment and prevention and to boost public awareness of drug addiction as a brain disorder
- Office of National Drug Control Policy: coordinates, implements, and assesses U.S. drug policy
- Opiate Use Prevention Resources Community Pocket Card: provided by Columbus Public Health
- Narcotics Anonymous Ohio: community-based nonprofit where recovering addicts meet in an effort to help each other stay clean
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): S. agency that investigates and prepares for prosecution cases that violate national drug laws
- NORML: organization that aims to influence public opinion about the legalization of marijuana
Notable Ohio Drug Possession Cases
Certain Ohio drug possession cases have paved the way to the state’s current handling of these offenses. Some of the most notable cases, in this regard, include:
Terry v. Ohio
A Cleveland police detective suspected a possible armed robbery and conducted a pat-down-search on three men he thought were about to rob a store. The search yielded concealed weapons on John Terry and Richard Clinton who were tried and convicted of carrying concealed weapons. The two defendants appealed the decision under the argument of illegal search. In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled that the detective was authorized to conduct a limited pat-down for weapons because the two men were acting suspiciously. Specifically, the Court held that a pat-down search does meet the definition of a search per the Fourth Amendment; however, Chief Warren determined that a stop-and-frisk does not necessarily violate protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
In this 2016 Columbus case, the Ohio Supreme Court weighed the state law that elevates cocaine possession penalties when the seized amount weighed a minimum of 3.6 ounces (at least 100 grams). Rafael Gonzales bought two kilograms of cocaine from an undercover police officer and police informant. One of the bricks weighed 139 grams. Gonzales was arrested and sentenced to 11 years in prison. The 6th District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, but they overturned the first-degree felony sentence because the cocaine also contained mock cocaine, which, in the Court’s opinion, could not count toward the total weight of the seized drug.
The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the appeals court regarding the role that purity of the cocaine must weigh into charges and sentencing for possession of the substance. However, in 2017, the same court reversed this decision, with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor writing that fillers constitute part of the usable drug.
The decision has enabled prosecutors to seek higher penalties for cocaine possession even when the substance is mixed with fillers, despite the fact that the substance is not purely cocaine.
Columbus Drug Treatment Centers
In some cases, a person charged with a drug possession offense can enter into a treatment program as a means for having charges reduce or dismissed.
The following is a sampling of drug treatment centers in the Columbus area:
Columbus Public Health Alcohol and Drug Services
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
Ohio Addiction Recovery Center
Southeast Healthcare Services Inc
Nationwide Childrens Hospital Behavioral Health
Amethyst an Alvis Recovery Program
Directions for Youth and Families Ohio Avenue
Community for New Direction Alcohol and Drug Outpatient Treatment
Crossroads Recover Services Inc
North Central Mental Health Services Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program
The Ridge Residential Drug Rehab
Related Drug Possession News and Articles
Hardly a day passes when an Ohio drug possession case does not make the news. Some recent cases are particularly noteworthy:
10 Years for Drug Trafficking
A Canal Winchester man was sentenced to 10 years for cocaine trafficking. William M. Totten led a drug trafficking ring in Central Ohio. A joint investigation by law enforcement in Columbus and Franklin County, as well as federal and state law enforcement busted the ring, which had distributed more than 20 kilograms of cocaine.
Cocaine in a Baby Blanket
In 2012, a man from Delaware, Ohio tried to traffic drugs in a baby blanket that had been shipped from the Dominican Republic. The blanket, which was saturated with 881 grams of cocaine, was seized when law enforcement took Omar Osualdo Gutierrez into custody. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
Flat Tire Leads to Possible Felony Drug Possession
When police stopped to help a car with a flat tire in Pepper Pike, Ohio, they detected a strong marijuana odor coming from the car. The Cleveland Heights driver admitted to the presence of drugs. When police searched, they found around five and half ounces of marijuana, 23 grams of edible THC items, sandwich bags, and a digital scale. They also found individual doses of suspected LSD, which have been forwarded to a crime lab for analysis. The woman faces a potential felony charge.
Akron Man Faces Life in Prison for THC Vape Cartridges
Federal agents discovered more than 3,500 marijuana vape cartridges in the home of an Akron man. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Cleveland and charged with intent to distribute. THC levels ranged between 40 and 80 percent. This compares to high-grade marijuana, in which THC levels are around 20 percent. A conviction could lead to a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.
Marijuana Decriminalization Electronic Campaigns
Activists who want to put marijuana decriminalization on local Ohio ballots can now collect signatures electronically, thanks to a recent federal judge ruling. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the activist group from gathering in person, which prompted the ruling. The judge further ordered Ohio state officials to extend the deadline for the submission of signatures to July 31, from its original July 1 deadline.
Semi-Truck Contained Cocaine in Special Compartments
Investigation of a drug case that already had led to two arrests resulted in law enforcement stopping a semi-truck in which officers discovered 10 kilos of cocaine. The drugs were concealed in specially designed compartments. Arrests led to suspects being charged with several first-degree felonies, including possession and trafficking, as well as the second-degree felony related to fabricating a hidden compartment in a vehicle.
59 Arrests in Massive Southern Ohio Drug Bust
The U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force coordinated an investigation that led to 59 arrests in Southern Ohio. Local, regional, and state agencies worked together over a long period to conduct the investigation. Ultimately, they seized 95 ounces of methamphetamine and 109 hydrocodone doses, along with fentanyl, cocaine, suboxone, and heroin. Police also seized eight stolen firearms. The suspects were indicted for charges that included aggravated trafficking and trafficking in a counterfeit controlled substance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Possession Charges
What is considered a controlled substance in Ohio?
A controlled substance includes illicit drugs such as marihuana, cocaine, heroin, and LSD. Individuals may also face drug possession charges if in possession of certain legal drugs without a prescription. Ohio Rev. Code § 3719.41 adopts the five schedules of controlled substances under federal drug laws.
Is drug possession in Ohio a felony or misdemeanor?
Drug possession offenses can be either felonies or misdemeanors depending on the type and quantity of drug in question.
How long do you go to jail for drug possession?
Jail and prison sentences for drug possession depend on the type and quantity of drug. Sentences can range from no jail time at all for some misdemeanors to up to 11 years for a felony of the first degree.
What is the minimum mandatory sentence for drug possession?
A felony of the second or first degree comes with a minimum mandatory sentence. Those convicted of a felony of the second degree face a mandatory minimum sentence of two years. Those convicted of a felony of the first degree face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.
What does aggravated possession of drugs mean in Ohio?
Those in possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance (other than marihuana, cocaine, LSD, heroin, hashish, or controlled substance analogs) can be charged with aggravated possession of drugs.
Can an Ohio drug possession conviction cost me my driver’s license?
Yes, depending on the circumstances of your case, you could face a driver’s license suspension.
Can law enforcement search my car for illegal drugs?
Only under certain circumstances can police search your car: if you consent to the search, if the police have placed you under arrest, if they have reason to believe a search is warranted, if there is probable cause, or they have a search warrant. Otherwise, the evidence they seize can be excluded at your trial.
Can a possession conviction result in my being expelled from college?
This depends on the school. A conviction could violate your school’s code of conduct, which could result in expulsion or suspension. A criminal record could also interfere with your being accepted to a college or university.
How would a drug possession conviction affect my employment?
At some companies, a criminal conviction is grounds for immediate termination. A conviction would definitely negatively impact your ability to find a job, as most companies perform background checks on new hires.
A drug crimes lawyer from the Joslyn Law Firm can answer these and other questions you may have in a consultation. Call us today at (614) 444-1900.