Drugs charges in Ohio range in severity from simple possession with only a fine and court costs to high-level manufacturing and distribution which may carry a significant mandatory prison sentence. Regardless of the alleged offense, it is important to consider the potential impact of a drug conviction and carefully consider your options. If you are being investigated or already charged with a drug-related crime, you need to take your situation seriously. Each drug case is unique, and the exact offense and possible consequences you face depend on a number of factors. These include the type and amount of the drugs in question, your criminal record, and your conduct related to the charges.
Whether you are a facing a misdemeanor related to marijuana possession or a felony for heroin trafficking, you need a skilled attorney as soon as possible to begin crafting a strong defense. Attorney Walter J. Benson can aggressively protect your rights from start to finish and fight for the best possible result.
The federal government has a controlled substances schedule. Most states, including Ohio, also have their own distinct, yet similar schedules. These schedules are important, as they largely influence the specific drug charges you may face.
Ohio’s controlled substance schedule divides drugs into five distinct categories:
· Schedule I drugs typically have no medically accepted purpose and have the highest risk of abuse or dependence. These include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, other hallucinogenic drugs, marijuana, and synthetic cannabinoids.
· Schedule II drugs may have a medically accepted use and have a high risk of abuse and dependence, though it is slightly less than Schedule I substances. These include cocaine, methamphetamine, opium, many painkillers, and GHB.
· Schedule III substances have a moderate risk for abuse and dependence in addition to having legitimate, medical uses. These include anabolic steroids, barbiturates, and some painkillers.
· Schedule IV drugs have a relatively low risk of abuse and dependence and medical uses. These include depression and anxiety medications such as Xanax and other sedatives.
· Schedule V drugs have the lowest risk of addiction and dependence and have commonly accepted medical uses. This covers many prescription and over-the-counter medications that include a small amount of codeine in addition to some stimulants.
The type of drug you are accused of interacting with matters a great deal to your case. The consequences can vary greatly between a conviction for a schedule IV versus a schedule I substance.
Some common drug crimes in Ohio include: Drug Possession – Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 2925.11 lays out the crime of possessing a controlled substance. It is illegal to knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance unless you are a manufacturer, have a license to prescribe drugs, or a prescription for said substance. If you possess a Schedule I or II drug other than marijuana, LSD, cocaine, or heroin, then you may face fifth-degree felony charges. If you possess a Schedule III, IV, or V substance, you may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or a felony. You may face a harsher charge if you have a significant amount of one or more of these drugs, or if you have a previous drug conviction. Drug Trafficking – ORC Chapter 2925.03 states that no one shall knowingly sell, offer to sell, prepare to ship, transport, deliver, prepare for distribution, or distribute controlled substances. For Schedule I or II drugs other than cocaine, LSD, heroin, or marijuana, this is at least a fourth-degree felony. If the offense involved a Schedule III, IV, or V drug, trafficking is at least a fifth-degree felony. However, for all schedules of drugs, different factors can increase the charge, such as a large quantity of drugs, or the offense occurring near children. Trafficking is a more serious crime than simple possession. Drug Paraphernalia – Under ORC Chapter 2925.14, drug paraphernalia includes several items. Any equipment, product, or material of any kind that you used, intended to use, or was designed to use in propagating, cultivating, manufacturing, producing, processing, preparing, packaging, storing, containing, concealing, or ingesting a controlled substance is considered paraphernalia under this law. Based on ORC Chapter 2925.14(C), it is illegal to knowingly use, possess with the intent to use, sell, or advertise for sale any drug paraphernalia. Possessing paraphernalia is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Selling, intending to sell, and advertising the sale of paraphernalia is a second-degree misdemeanor.