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Columbus Drug Possession Lawyer

Charged with Drug Possession in Ohio? Call LHA for a Free Consultation: (614) 500-3836.

Every day in central Ohio, people are arrested on drug possession charges ranging from marijuana and cocaine to heroin and ecstasy. The penalties for drug possession can range from a fine only, to a mandatory prison term. The penalties depend largely on the type of drug you are alleged to have possessed and the quantity of that drug. If you’re facing drug possession charges in Ohio, don’t delay contacting a Columbus drug possession lawyer from Luftman, Heck & Associates today.

If you are charged with drug possession under the Ohio Revised Code, you will be subject to a possible driver’s license suspension. In addition, a drug possession conviction could disqualify you from student financial aid loans and can also cause licensure issues in some professions.

How LHA Attorneys Handle Columbus Drug Posesion Charges

The Columbus Criminal Defense team takes a two-pronged approach to all drug possession cases. First and foremost, we will figure out what mistakes the police made and what legal issues can be raised on your behalf.

Some potential legal issues we look for in every drug possession case include:

  • Fourth Amendment violations;
  • Warrants issued without probable cause;
  • Wiretapping and other illegal surveillance;
  • Miranda Rights warnings omitted, abridged or defied by police and prosecutors;
  • Statements and evidence illegally obtained, or improperly allowed at trial; and
  • Findings delivered as a result of canine searches (drug-sniffing dogs).
  • Lab analysis issues

Review The Details

We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes, and lab analysis of the drug. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor for your review.

Find Weaknesses

Based on the legal weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.

Secure the Best Possible Result

If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily with a plea, it would then proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.

Will Drug treatment Help You?

The second approach taken by our Columbus drug possession lawyers is to identify whether you have a substance abuse problem and if there are treatment programs available in lieu of jail or prison.

For nearly ten years, our Columbus drug possession lawyers have successfully represented clients on drug possession charges ranging from minor misdemeanors to first-degree felony drug possession. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

Possession of a Controlled Substance

It may seem intuitive that controlled substances are illegal drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, or cocaine, but under Ohio law, the term “controlled substances” also includes many legal drugs that it may be illegal to possess without a prescription, or to manufacture or sell without proper credentials.

Ohio employs a fairly circular definition of controlled substances by stating in Ohio Rev. Code 3719.01 that “controlled substance” is any drug, mixture, or compound that is listed in the controlled substance schedules. It’s the responsibility of the state Board of Pharmacy under Ohio Rev. Code 3719.44 to add or remove a drug from the controlled substance schedules.

Controlled Substance Schedules

Ohio Rev. Code 3719.41 categorizes controlled substances into five classes called “schedules.” Schedule I drugs are those considered the most dangerous, while Schedule V drugs are those with the least risk.

Drugs are placed into a particular schedule based on:

  • The potential for users to abuse the drug
  • Scientific evidence of the drug’s pharmacological effects
  • What science currently knows about the drug in general
  • Whether there’s a history of abuse of the drug, and how severe abuse tends to be
  • Whether the drug poses a public health risk
  • The drug’s potential to be addictive
  • Whether the substance is a component in the manufacture of another illegal drug (i.e., a precursor chemical)

Schedule I

drugs are those considered to have the greatest risk of abuse and addiction, and little to no medical value. This schedule includes some common street drugs including LSD, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, and some hallucinogenic drugs.

Schedule II

drugs are those considered to have a high risk of abuse and addiction, but some limited medical value in restricted use. This schedule includes drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, “date rape drug” GHB, and narcotic painkillers like oxycodone.

Schedule III

drugs are those deemed to have a moderate risk of abuse and addiction, but also to have some legitimate medical purposes. This schedule includes drugs such as anabolic steroids, barbiturates, and limited quantities of codeine and morphine.

Schedule IV

drugs are those considered to have a relatively low risk of abuse and addiction, and accepted uses for treatment of medical conditions. This schedule includes some common anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, and sedatives such as Valium.

Schedule V

drugs are deemed to have a low risk of addiction or abuse and are widely used for the treatment of medical conditions. This schedule includes medicines containing small quantities of narcotics, such as codeine, and some stimulants, such as ephedrine.

Columbus Drug Possesion Charges

Most drug possession offenses in Ohio are relatively serious and will result in a permanent criminal record as a drug offender. Penalties generally depend on the type of drug, which schedule it falls on, and the amount involved.

Many controlled substance offenses are felonies, which can have a lasting impact on your life and prevent you from being hired for a job, renting an apartment, getting a college degree, or even result in your deportation if you are not an American citizen.

Felony Drug Possession

Possession of any Schedule I or II drugs besides marijuana is automatically a felony. For marijuana, the amount must be more than 199 grams to be charged as a felon. Felony drug possession has much harsher penalties associated with it than misdemeanor drug possession, including fines as high as $20,000 and a prison term as long as 10 years. In light of this fact, it’s of utmost importance that you consult with an experienced Columbus drug possession lawyer to chart out your best course of action.

Aggravated Possession of Drugs

In order to be charged with aggravated possession of drugs, you must have on your person Schedule I or II drugs other than marijuana, spice, cocaine, LSD, heroin, or hashish. Penalties for aggravated possession of drugs are doled out according to the “bulk amount” of the drug you were charged for. This differs by drug.

Are You in Trouble? Contact our Columbus drug possession lawyers.

If you’ve been charged with possession of drugs, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced Columbus drug lawyers to fight for you in court, please contact us at (614) 500-3836 or via email at [email protected].

Drug Possession Penalties

Marijuana

Less than 100 grams

Though this is a minor misdemeanor, it will not appear on your permanent record. It carries the following penalties:

  • At most, a fine of $150
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
100 to 199 grams
This is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to 30 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $250
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
200 to 999 grams

This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
1,000 to 4,999 grams
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of nine months to three years
  • A fine ranging from $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
5,000 to 19,999 grams

This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine ranging from $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
20,000 to 39,999 grams

This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of five to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
40,000 or more

This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Cocaine

Less than five grams
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Five to 9 grams
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties::

  • A prison term of six to 18 months
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $5,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Ten to 19 grams

This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Twenty to 26 grams
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Twenty-seven to 99 grams
This is a felony of the first degree, and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of three to 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One hundred grams or more

This is a felony of the first degree, and if convicted, you will be considered a major drug offender. It carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of 11 years
  • A fine ranging from $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Heroin

Less than one gram or less than 10 doses

This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Five to 9 grams or 50 to 99 doses
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:ties:

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Ten to 49 grams or 100 to 499 doses
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Fifty to 249 grams or 500 to 2,499 doses
This is a felony of the first degree, and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of three to 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Two hundred fifty grams or more; 2,500 doses or more
This is a felony of the first degree, and if convicted, you will be considered a major drug offender. It carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Crystal Meth

Less than three grams
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Three to 14 grams
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Fifteen to 149 grams
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One hundred fifty to 299 grams
This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of three to 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
300 grams or more
This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Aggravated Possession Penalties

Less than the bulk amount
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Bulk amount to four times the bulk amount
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A probable prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Five times the bulk amount to 49 times the bulk amount

This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Fifty times the bulk amount to 99 times the bulk amount
This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of three to 10 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One hundred times the bulk amount or more
This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of 10 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Frequently Asked Questions

If the drug is not on me, am I free and clear?
Not necessarily. You could qualify for “constructive possession” if you were aware the drug was in your vicinity, you knew it was illegal and it was close enough to you that someone could reasonably assume it was yours. If you are in a situation like this, it’s important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to see what kinds of defenses are available to you.
What are some common defenses to drug possession?
Generally, a criminal defense attorney will first look to see whether your right to be protected against illegal search and seizure was violated in any way during the incident. Officers must have probable cause before stopping you to commit a search. Any violation in protocol has the potential to help your case.
Will a minor misdemeanor marijuana charge (less than 100 grams) go on my permanent record?
Nope! Your driver’s license (and possibly your professional license) may still be suspended, however, and you’ll have to pay a fine of up to $150.

Resources

For over a decade, the Columbus criminal defense lawyers at LHA have successfully represented clients on criminal offenses ranging from minor misdemeanors to first-degree felonies. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

Talk to a Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have any questions about the material or if you need an experienced, competent attorney, call the Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836.

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