Possession of a Controlled Substance

Possession of a controlled substances is defined in Ohio as knowingly obtaining, possessing or using a controlled substance under the Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11.

Drug offenses in Ohio, including Possession of a Controlled Substance, or PCS, can result in very serious repercussions and harsh punishments, including prison sentences, fines and negative effects on employment and educational opportunities.

Possessing an illegal drug in Ohio is punishable as a state offense, federal offense or both. Controlled substances or drugs can include medications with a prescription, medications without a prescription, street drugs, illegal drugs, natural substances and chemicals.

Columbus Drug Possession Lawyer

If you have been charged with drug possession in Columbus, Ohio, Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Law Firm will listen to the details of your particular case and attempt to find defenses or mitigating factors that may reduce or eliminate the charges against you. Call the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a free consultation today.


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Possession Laws in Ohio

An alleged offender has to have actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance in order to be charged with PCS in Ohio. Because “possession” is a required element of Possession of a Controlled Substance, if the prosecution is unable to prove the alleged offender had either actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance, they will most likely be unable to convict the offender with this offense. Constructive possession is usually much harder for the prosecution to prove than actual possession.

  • Actual possession is having actual, physical of the controlled substance on your body or in your possession. Examples of actual possession include if the controlled substance is in your pocket or in your purse.
  • Constructive possessionis usually made up of the following three requirements:
    • The alleged offender was aware the substance was in their vicinity;
    • They knew the substance was illegal; and
    • The controlled substance was close enough to actually possess or was in close proximity to the alleged offender.

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Ohio Controlled Substance Schedules

Under section 3719.41 of the Ohio Revised Code, controlled substances in Ohio are classified into five schedules, ranging from the most serious drugs with the harshest penalties (Schedule I) to the least serious drugs with the least harsh penalties (Schedule V).

  • Schedule I - These substances have a high potential for abuse by users and no known or accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples of controlled substances in this category are marijuana, mescaline, morphine, peyote and psilocyn.
  • Schedule II – These substances have a high potential for abuse, but may have limited accepted medical use in the United States. Examples in this category include codeine, methadone and GHB.
  • Schedule III – These substances have some potential for abuse and accepted medical uses in the United States. Controlled substances in this schedule include anabolic steroids, ketamine and barbituric acid.
  • Schedule IV – These substances have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs and have known medical uses in the United States. Common examples in this schedule can include Xanax, Valium and the generic versions of these types of drugs.
  • Schedule V - Substances in this schedule have the least likelihood for abuse and are commonly used for medical treatment in the United States. Examples in this schedule can include medications with small amounts of narcotics.

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Ohio Penalties for Drug Possession Offenses

The penalties for possessing controlled substances depend on many factors, including the amount of the substance, the type of substance, whether the offense occurred near a school or with minor children, whether the offense was aggravated, and many other factors. Ohio’s general sentencing guidelines for misdemeanors and penalties can be found in §§ 2929.13 and 2929.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

If the substance in a person’s possession is a schedule I or II drug, except for marihuana, cocaine, LSD, heroin or hashish, they can be charged with aggravated possession of drugs, which is at minimum a felony of the fifth degree. If the amount is equal to or in excess of the bulk amount, an offender can be charged with a felony of the third, second or first degree, depending on the amount. Most of these felony charges will incur mandatory prison sentences. A person charged with 100 times the bulk amount or more is considered a major drug offender.

If the substance is a Schedule III, IV or V drug, an alleged offender can be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree or felony of the fifth, fourth, second or first degree.

The following is a list of suggested sentences in Ohio, but can vary depending on the facts of each particular case:

  • Misdemeanor of the First Degree – Not more than 180 days in jail and/or fines not exceeding $1,000;
  • Felony of the Fifth Degree – Prison sentence ranging from six to 12 months and/or fines not more than $2,500;
  • Felony of the Fourth Degree – Sentence from six to 18 months in prison and/or fines not exceeding $5,000;
  • Felony of the Third Degree – Ohio prison sentence from one to five years and/or fines up to $10,000;
  • Felony of the Second Degree – Sentence ranging from two to eight years in prison and/or fines not more than $15,000; and
  • Felony of the First Degree – Prison sentence ranging from three to 10 years and/or fines not exceeding $20,000.

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Joslyn Law Firm | Columbus Possession of a Controlled Substance Attorney

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Columbus, Ohio contact the Joslyn Law Firm to discuss the facts of your particular situation. Brian Joslyn is a drug charges lawyer who will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious repercussions and consequences to your alleged offense.

Call (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your controlled substance offense in Franklin County, and the surrounding counties of Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County in Ohio.