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Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11 makes it illegal to “knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance.” There are two types of possession that the prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt: actual possession infers that the alleged offender had physical control of the substance. Constructive possession, which is harder to prove, means that the defendant not only had access to the controlled drugs but knew about them, too. Sentencing for these crimes is complicated and relies on the type and quantity of the controlled substance involved.
If you or a loved one has been arrested or is facing a drug possession charge, Patituce & Associates can help. We have over 70 years of combined experience representing people in your situation across the state of Ohio.
Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in OH
To determine the possible penalties for possession of a controlled substance, you need to know:
- What drug you are charged with possessing
- How much drug you possessed
- Where you possessed these drugs
Penalties depend on the drug involved. There are different penalties for different controlled substances. The law treats the possession of marijuana more leniently than the possession of cocaine or heroin. For instance, if you are arrested with 100 grams of cocaine, you face 3 to 11 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. However, if you are arrested with 100 grams of marijuana, you face a maximum of 6 months in jail.
Ohio Marijuana Possession Charges & Penalties
Currently, marijuana is only legal for medicinal uses with a valid medical marijuana card and only for certain medical conditions, including pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries. At this time, it is illegal to smoke marijuana (vaporization is legal however) – the only legal forms of medical marijuana will be edibles, oils, patches, plant material, and tinctures.
Therefore unlawful possession of marijuana can result in significant fines and jail time, depending on the amount of the drug in a person’s possession. According to Ohio law, if the drug involved in the violation is marijuana, the person is guilty of possession of marihuana. The penalty for this drug possession is determined as follows:
- <100 grams: Minor misdemeanor with a max fine of $150
- 100-200 grams: Misdemeanor of the 4th degree with up to a 30-day jail sentence and $250 fine.
- 200-1,000 grams: Felony of the 5th degree and up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500.
- 1,000-20,000 grams: Felony of the 3rd degree up and up to 3 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000
- 20,000 – 40,000 grams: Felony of the second degree and a mandatory prison term of five, six, seven, or eight years.
- Over 40,000 grams: Felony of the second degree and a mandatory prison term of 8 years.
Heroin Possession Charges & Penalties
In Ohio, heroin possession or trafficking may result in fines of thousands of dollars and even up to 10+ years in prison. Heroin is considered a Schedule I drug and charges are based on the amount in possession.
These charges include:
- <1 gram: 5th-degree felony with 6-12 month prison sentence.
- 1-4 grams: 4th-degree felony and 6-18 month prison sentence.
- 5-9 grams: 3rd-degree felony and 9-month to 3-year prison sentence.
- 10-49 grams: 2nd-degree felony and 2-8 year prison sentence.
- 50-249 grams: 1st-degree felony and 3-10 year prison sentence.
- >250 grams: major drug offense (MDO) and 11-year mandatory prison sentence.
Cocaine Possession Charges & Penalties
In Ohio, cocaine charges and penalties are based on the amount in possession or sold. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug. The drug possession charges for cocaine possession range from a 1st degree to 5th degree felony.
The amounts and penalties for cocaine possession include:
- <5 grams: 5th-degree felony; fines up to $2,500 and 6-12 months in jail.
- 5-9 grams: 4th-degree felony; fines up to $5,000 and 6 months in jail to 18 months in prison.
- 10-19 grams: 3rd-degree felony; fines up to $10,000 and 9 months in jail to 36 months in prison.
- 20-27 grams: 2nd-degree felony; fines up to $15,000 and 2-8 years in prison.
- 27-99 grams: 1st-degree felony; fines up to $20,000 and 3-11 years in prison.
- >100 grams: 1st-degree felony; fines up to $20,000 and 11 years in prison.
Ohio Fentanyl Penalties
In Ohio, fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance and is charged by “bulk amount” found in possession. The “bulk amount” refers to either: (1)> 10 grams; or (2)> 25 doses of the controlled substance.
Possession of fentanyl in Ohio may result in the following penalties:
- <a bulk amount: 5th-degree felony; 6-12 months in prison and a fine of $2,5000.
- >a bulk amount & <5x bulk amount: 3rd degree felony; 9 months-5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- 5x-50x bulk amount: 2nd-degree felony; mandatory minimum of 2 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
- 50x-100x bulk amount: 1st-degree felony; mandatory minimum of 3 years in prison and fines up to $20,000.
- >100x bulk amount: 1st degree felony; mandatory minimum of 11 years in prison; major drug offender (MDO).
Penalties for Methamphetamine Possession
In Ohio, meth possession is a felony drug crime and will result in fines and jail time.
The penalties for these crimes are based on the amount in possession.
- <3 grams: 5th-degree felony; 6-12 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
- 3-15 grams: 3rd-degree felony; possible 9-36 months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
- 15-150 grams: 2nd-degree felony; 2-8 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
- 150-300 grams: 1st-degree felony; 3-11 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
- >300 grams: 1st-degree felony; 11 years in prison, up to $20,000 in fines, major drug offender (MDO).
Other Repercussions and Potential Drug Charges in Ohio
Of course, drug possession is only one of many potential drug-related charges in Ohio. Depending upon the circumstances, you may be charged with:
- Drug trafficking – the sale of controlled substances.
- Illegal manufacture of drugs – including going marijuana or making meth.
- Possessing drug abuse instruments – possession of any tool or item where the primary purpose is to ingest, inhale, or inject illegal substances.
- Illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia – possession of a tool or item related to an illegal drug.
- Corrupting another with drugs – forcing another to use drugs or sharing drugs with a minor.
- Among many other potential charges.
In addition to incarceration and monetary fines, a drug possession conviction can have a wide-ranging and long-lasting negative impact on your life. A drug charge can affect your employment prospects and career advancement, make it difficult to qualify for government assistance, affect child custody or adoption actions, and threaten your right to vote or possess firearms.
Drug Possession Defense Attorneys in Cleveland, OH
There are numerous ways to defend drug possession crimes as each case is unique. An experienced drug possession lawyer can help guide you through this process. At a bare minimum, each case needs to have what is called a suppression hearing.
A suppression hearing is where the attorney challenges:
- The reason for your arrest
- The reason for any search
- The science behind the drug analysis
- The conclusions regarding amount of the drug
- Anything else that is relevant to the case
It is important in defending these cases to know your goal. Are you a college student? You risk losing all of your financial aid. Are you a professional? You have professional licensing issues that you need to avoid. Everyone has something to lose if these cases are not handled the right way.
Call our Cleveland drug possession attorneys at (440) 471-7784 for a free consultation. Ask to speak to one of our lawyers personally about the facts of your case. The call is completely confidential and without any obligation. If we agree to take on your case, our team of ex-prosecutors will go to work fighting for you.
If you have been charged with the possession of a controlled substance under O.R.C. 2925.11, you face some serious penalties. Contact our Cleveland drug possession lawyers now!
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