Facing Drug Charges? Put Former Prosecutors on Your Side!
When facing drug charges in Ohio, you could be in danger of facing years in prison, heavy fines, and other life-changing penalties. Your choice of criminal defense counsel will be the factor that decides the outcome of your case. You must ensure you choose a firm that can effectively defend your rights. At Patituce & Associates, LLC, we are led by former prosecutors who know how the “other side” thinks and works. Our Cleveland drug crime lawyers have more than 70 years of combined legal experience and a keen understanding of federal drug laws, and we understand exactly how to challenge drug charges in Ohio.
It’s time to learn how our firm can help you. Call(440) 471-7784 for a free, private consultation.
“I realize that you are doing your job. But, I cannot say enough how grateful we are to you for your understanding, your on-the-ball-ness, your knowledge, and your support. This is an extremely tough time for us, and being able to depend on your excellence is invaluable. Thank you!”- Donna S.
Cleveland Drug Crime Defense Resources
- Challenging the Police & Prosecutors
- Ohio Drug Cases We Handle
- Drug Possession & Drug Trafficking Arrests
- Ohio Drug Trafficking Schedule
- Funding of Drug or Marijuana Trafficking
- Penalties and Jail Time for Ohio Drug Crime Convictions
- Representation for Ohio Federal Drug Crimes
- Federal Controlled Substance Schedule
- Federal Drug Possession Charges
- Will my Drug Crime Case be Held in Federal Court
- Defenses to Federal Drug Charges
- Contact our Cleveland Drug Crime Lawyers
Challenging the Police & Prosecutors
In our experience as Cleveland drug crime lawyers, we’ve found that these cases can present significant challenges. Often, our clients are young adults involved in minor drug-related crimes. Often, these are individuals who got caught by the police with a small number of drugs; other times, our clients are far more sophisticated individuals allegedly involved in the drug trade. Regardless, there are many different ways to handle a drug case. For some people, a treatment program is the best fit. For others, taking the case all the way through trial is the best option.
In either case, we always do at least the following:
- Obtain the search warrant used against you;
- Obtain any video and audio involving you;
- Obtain the name, identity, and record of any witness against you;
- Prepare to have evidence thrown out through a suppression hearing;
- Prepare and try the case if necessary.
These cases can be far more complicated than simply filing the above motions and making preparations for trial. Each case is different, and we base our strategy and representation on what your case requires. Our Cleveland drug crime lawyers will challenge the evidence and make sure you are properly defended. We are not the type of attorneys who take the police, or prosecutor, at their word. We make them prove their case.
We will fight for you by filing motions to dismiss and motions to suppress after a misdemeanor or felony drug charge. Sometimes, our Cleveland drug crime attorneys have to use creative drug possession defenses, and, if necessary, we will utilize possession and trafficking expert witnesses to testify to the examination performed on the drugs you allegedly possessed or trafficked in.
Ohio Drug Cases We Handle
Our Cleveland drug crime lawyers can assist on all drug-related cases of all kinds:
- Possession of controlled substances (2925.11)
For example, possession of; marijuana, cocaine, prescription pills, etc.
- Trafficking or aggravated trafficking in drugs (2925.03)
The sale or offer to sell controlled substances.
- Corrupting another with drugs (2925.02)
Sharing or coercing another to use a controlled substance.
- Illegal manufacture of drugs, illegal cultivation of marijuana or methamphetamine (2925.04)
Growing marijuana or making meth.
- Illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs (2925.041)
Making schedule I or II controlled substances or possessing at least one chemical to make illegal drugs.
- Funding, aggravated funding of drug or marijuana trafficking (2925.05)
Bankrolling or otherwise helping to finance the movement or trafficking of drugs.
- Illegal administration or distribution of anabolic steroids (2925.06)
Injecting or providing steroids to anyone or selling steroids to end-users.
- Possession of controlled substances (2925.11)
Purchasing or possessing a controlled substance. We consider this a “catch-all” offense.
- Possessing drug abuse instruments (2925.12)
Possessing any item or tool whose primary purpose is to inhale, inject, or ingest illegal drugs.
- Permitting drug abuse (2925.13)
Allowing someone to commit felony drug abuse on any property that you own, rent, or occupy.
- Illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia (2925.14)
Possessing an item or tool that can be tied to anything related to a controlled substance.
- Illegal use or possession of marijuana (marijuana) drug paraphernalia (2925.141)
Drug paraphernalia possession of any item or tool that can be used to store, hold, conceal, ingest, or inhale marijuana.
- Deception to obtain a dangerous drug (2925.22)
- Illegal processing of drug documents (2925.23)
- Illegal dispensing of drug samples (2925.36)
- Counterfeit controlled substance offenses (2925.37)
- Criminal forfeiture of property relating to felony drug abuse offense (2925.42)
Drug Possession & Trafficking Arrests
It’s quite common to find that our clients are charged with more than one drug offense, such as possession and trafficking, at the same time. As former prosecutors, our Cleveland drug crime lawyers are highly skilled in defending clients charged with these offenses.
This includes charges involving possession and trafficking of:
- Crack cocaine
- Prescription pills
Whether it’s a state or federal drug charge, we can defend you from the serious penalties associated with convictions. All drug crimes in Ohio have a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least six months, but more importantly, certain drugs carry mandatory prison time if you have above a specified amount of drugs.
As Cleveland drug crime defense attorneys, we understand that these are serious charges, and the punishments for drug possession and trafficking are extreme. We approach each case with the utmost seriousness and are available 24/7. In an emergency, we will make ourselves available at all hours in order to protect you from the allegations the police are making. We handle the most serious of cases, and our clients trust us when their lives are on the line.
Ohio Drug Trafficking Schedule (O.R.C. 2925.03)
When prosecutors believe they can prove you sold, shipped, transported, or delivered controlled substances that were intended to then be sold to others, you will be charged with trafficking or aggravated trafficking in drugs (ORC 2925.03) in Cleveland. The state of Ohio, like the federal government, defines drugs according to a “schedule,” where Schedule I and II drugs have a high probability of abuse and little or no medical use.
Schedule I and II drugs include:
- Methamphetamine (crystal meth)
- Some painkillers
If you are charged with trafficking Schedule I or II drugs, you will be charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs (ORC 2925.03). Penalties vary based on drug type and amount, but you are facing a felony charge. This is true of simple trafficking in drugs, as well. Penalties vary, but you’re facing a felony charge and all the problems that go with it, including jail time and a felony record. Our attorneys are former prosecutors, so we know how drug trafficking cases are built and prosecuted — and we know how to push back and protect our clients.
Funding of Drug or Marijuana Trafficking (O.R.C. 2925.05)
Under ORC 2925.05, it is a crime in Cleveland to provide money or other items of value to a person with intent or knowledge that the recipient will use it to obtain any controlled substance to manufacture, cultivate, or sell drugs. The aggravated drug funding charge is applied when the substance in question is a Schedule I or II drug and is a first-degree felony. Drug funding for schedule III, IV, or V drugs is a second-degree felony. When the drug in question is marijuana, the charge is funding marijuana trafficking, a third-degree felony.
Aside from often lengthy prison sentences, a conviction results in significant fines, a suspended driver’s license, and for licensed professionals in the state, mandatory notification of the licensing board or agency. These are charges that can destroy your career and steal your freedom.
Penalties & Jail Time for Ohio Drug Crime Convictions
One thing that almost always concerns our clients about their drug charges is how much time they can get. As former prosecutors and attorneys who used to handle drug cases for the government, we can tell you that the amount of time in prison can be extensive. Some drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and meth, have mandatory prison sentences for very low quantities (based on weight). This means that even if you have a relatively low-level felony and it is your first offense, you might have to go to prison if convicted—even if you had no prior convictions or charges. This is why it is important to hire an attorney. When dealing with larger quantities, and when firearms get involved, the amount of time can become quite significant. You could be looking at 11 years per charge on certain quantities and weights.
If you have been charged with a drug offense in Ohio, you need to hire a Cleveland drug crime defense attorney. In many of these cases, there is mandatory prison time and the potential to be forced to forfeit valuable property. The prison time in these cases can reach decades depending on the type, quantity, and weight of the drug involved.
The government aggressively pursues these cases with an almost unlimited supply of officers, investigators, detectives, and prosecutors. It is, therefore, in your best interests to hire the most experienced criminal lawyer that you can afford. Often, the right Cleveland drug crime attorney can be the only difference between freedom and prison.
Representation for Ohio Federal Drug Crimes
Federal drug charges are different from state charges, and there are so many considerable differences that only a federal drug charges lawyer can walk you through them. At Patituce & Associates, we’re one of the few firms in Ohio that can provide aggressive, successful defense for individuals who’ve been charged with a federal drug crime.
According to the federal sentencing guidelines, depending on the quantity of the drugs involved, you may face mandatory years, or decades, in federal prison. It is important that if you believe you are being investigated, have been charged, or have been indicted that you immediately speak with a Cleveland federal drug charges lawyer.
Federal Controlled Substance Schedule
Typically each state has its own drug schedule, Ohio has them divided into five categories of controlled substances. Controlled substances with high risk and no accepted medical use are Schedule I drugs, while Schedule V narcotics have the lowest potential for abuse.
Schedule I Controlled Substances
As we mentioned before, Schedule I drugs do not have any currently accepted medical use in the country and have a high risk of abuse and addiction.
Common examples of Schedule I narcotics include:
Schedule II Controlled Substances
While Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, there are still some currently accepted medical uses.
Common examples of Schedule II narcotics include:
- Oxycodone (e.g. OxyContin and Percocet)
- Medicinal cannabis
Schedule III Controlled Substances
Drugs in this schedule have a risk for abuse which is comparatively less than narcotics in Schedules I or II. Abuse may result in moderate to low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
Common examples of Schedule III drugs include:
- Painkillers with low doses of narcotics (e.g., Tylenol with codeine, Suboxone, etc.)
- Anabolic steroids
Schedule IV Controlled Substances
Drugs in Schedule IV have a low risk of abuse in comparison to Schedule III narcotics. When used in the proper manner, they have accepted medical uses.
Common examples of Schedule IV drugs include:
Schedule V Controlled Substances
Drugs in Schedule V have a lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule IV narcotics. For the most part, they consist of preparations that contain low doses of specific substances.
Common examples of Schedule V drugs include:
- Cough medicines contacting low doses of codeine (e.g. Robitussin AC, Phenergan with codeine, etc.)
Federal Drug Possession Charges
Drug possession charges, and drug charges in general, are different from other crimes in that the court will take into account a number of different factors in deciding a sentence. You should make sure that any Cleveland federal drug charge attorney that you hire has experience defending those facing drug crime charges. Defending drug charges is incredibly complicated-and if the defense lawyer does not have the experience necessary, they will not be effective for you. As former prosecutors, we have a unique insight into how the police conduct investigations, use confidential informants, use surveillance equipment, and many other facets of prosecuting drug crimes.
As Cleveland federal drug charge attorneys, we have had an incredible amount of success defending clients from drug possession charges by challenging the strategy and techniques the police use.
Will My Drug Crime Case Be Held in Federal Court?
One of the most common questions people ask is whether their case will be prosecuted in state or federal court. Many people are unaware of the circumstances necessary to try a case in federal court. While there some drug offenses could either go to state or federal court, others require federal courts to have sole jurisdiction.
The following are several factors that determine whether or not a drug crime case is held in federal court:
- Federal authorities made the arrest – Whether it’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) if a federal law enforcement agency arrests you, your case will often be subject to federal court proceedings. These authorities conduct an investigation with more personnel and are given an extensive amount of resources compared to state police.
- The drug crime was carried out on federal grounds – If the offense occurred on federal property, your case will be held in federal court. For instance, if a drug crime occurred within the property of a federal bank, this would be investigated by federal authorities—no matter which illegal substance or how many drugs were involved.
- The drug crime occurred in multiple states – When a drug crime crosses state lines, the case is taken up to the federal court. If an individual purchases drugs online from someone in another state, this is considered a federal crime even though you or the dealer physically didn’t cross the state line.
- The drug crime is of a serious nature – Whether it involves recreational use, the illegal manufacture, or traffic of drugs, the more serious the criminal offense is, the more likely the federal court will end up handling it. If you were only arrested for possession of a limited amount (if you’re not on federal property), your case will likely end up in state court.
- State and federal authorities make a decision – In some cases, federal and state authorities will deliberate whether or not to try your case in federal court. It is possible for local police to refer a case to federal authorities.
He saved my life.
“I was charged with a federal offense that started with a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison but really called for a sentence of over 200 months. My first attorney tried to get me to take a plea that would have sent me to prison for a period of 151 to 180 months. I wish I had done my research first. Joe saved my life. He cost more than my first attorney but that was money well spent. He knew what he was doing, his team was effective. Any time I called Joe with a question I got a call back within an hour… even on the weekends. I highly recommend him, he saved my life”– R.Z.
Federal Drug Trafficking Charges
Federal drug trafficking charges are often handled differently from other crimes. Not only are the investigations and prosecutions handled completely differently than a weapons charge, the federal sentencing guidelines require that the court take into account a number of different factors in deciding a sentence. You should make sure that any federal defense lawyer that you hire has experience defending people from drug charges.
Federal defense attorneys are the best person to speak to if you have been charged with such a crime. An attorney will challenge the evidence and examine the proof if there is any. Drug trafficking cases, as stated before, are complex, and you need to speak to a lawyer in order to best protect your freedom, income, and family. Make sure the firm you choose has experience defending clients charged with trafficking in marijuana, cocaine, LSD, crack, heroin, and many other types of drugs. Then you will know you have the best you can get.
Defenses to Federal Drug Charges
Our Cleveland federal drug charge attorneys can investigate your arrest and determine which defenses might apply to your case, helping you obtain the most positive outcome. While some defenses dispute evidence or testimony, others address procedural mistakes by law enforcement.
The following are the most common defenses to federal drug crimes:
- Violation of Fourth Amendment rights – According to the Fourth Amendment found in the U.S. Constitution, every citizen has the right to due process of law, which includes lawful search and seizure protocols before an arrest is made. If police fail to obtain your consent or a warrant signed by a judge prior to searching your vehicle or home, it is considered unlawful. Any evidence that was collected by an unlawful search could be suppressed, which could result in the dismissal of your entire case.
- The drugs are not yours – Another common defense is saying that the drugs do not belong to you. For instance, you borrowed your friend’s car and got pulled over by the police, who perform a vehicle search and discover drugs in the glove compartment. You or your lawyer can argue that you had no idea that the drugs were there.
- The drugs are not what they appear to be – After the drugs are seized by law enforcement, they are sent to the crime lab for analysis. At trial, the crime lab analyst will show his/her findings to help the prosecution make its case. If the results from the crime lab determine the substances obtained at arrest are not actually illicit drugs, then your case will be dismissed.
- The drugs were planted – Whether the police officer’s body camera footage shows him/her planting drugs, or another officer blew the whistle, evidence of planting drugs will result in the dismissal of an entire case. However, since sworn testimony by law enforcement carries significant weight at trial, this could be tough to prove.
- Entrapment – Although law enforcement commonly orchestrates sting operations, entrapment happens when an officer or informant induces a suspect to commit a crime he/she otherwise may not have. For example, if an undercover cop or informant pressures you into buying drugs, it is deemed as entrapment.
Cleveland Federal Drug Lawyers Ready to Protect You
Federal drug charges, as you are aware, carry serious consequences.
Most of the time, the evidence defendants face in these cases consists of wiretaps, confidential informants, and undercover agents. It is important when selecting a drug crimes defense attorney to represent you that you pick a lawyer who has a significant amount of experience evaluating, and challenging, this type of evidence. As a former prosecutor, Joseph Patituce, the managing partner of Patituce & Associates, has a history of dealing with wiretaps, confidential informants, undercover agents, and many different forms of alleged drug trafficking.
Do Not Speak to Federal Agents. Let Our Attorneys Do It!
A conviction in federal courts results in more severe penalties since they often deal with more serious cases. The role of a federal agent is to obtain evidence to use, against you. Often, they will promise you leniency, or they will claim no charges will be filed if you cooperate with them. If you possess information or can be of some help to the investigating agents, it is important that a federal defense lawyer works on your behalf to obtain a reduction in any charges you might face if evidence really exists to indict you. By speaking with the agents, and not having a proper deal in place, you give away your biggest negotiating chip: you.
Call(440) 471-7784 to set up a free consultation with our Cleveland drug crime lawyers.