In the state of Ohio, possession of a controlled substance is defined as knowingly obtaining, possessing, or using a controlled substance.
In addition to simple drug possession, Ohio Revised Code 2925.03 defines drug trafficking as the shipment, transportation, sale, distribution, or delivery of a drug or controlled substance. Drug trafficking takes place when an individual knowingly trafficks a drug or controlled substance that is intended to be sold or resold to another person. In the state of Ohio, this crime can be charged as a federal offense, state offense, or both.
There is a large assortment of illegal drugs, controlled substances, and prescription pills that are commonly possessed and trafficked in the state of Ohio. Some of the most common substances that are found during drug busts include, but are not limited to:
Possession of a controlled substance is a drug crime that will carry severe consequences if not handled properly. If you have been accused of or charged with drug possession in Columbus, Reynoldsburg, Groveport, or one of the other cities in the Franklin County area, you’re going to need a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you navigate these rough waters. When you need legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact Sabol Mallory LLC. Led by experienced attorneys based in Franklin County, we are confident in our ability to defend the accused. Contact us today at 614-300-5088 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with a legal expert.
● Drug Possession Statutes
● Ohio Drug Schedule
● Penalties for Drug Possession and Trafficking
● Resources for Drug Possession in Ohio
In Ohio, an alleged offender must have either actual or constructive possession of a drug or controlled substance in order to be formally charged with this offense. Prosecutors bear the burden of proof, and if they are unable to prove that an alleged offender had actual or constructive possession, they will undoubtedly have a hard time successfully convicting an individual.
Actual possession is having actual possession of a controlled substance on your person. For example, if an individual is found with a controlled substance in their pockets, backpack, purse, or bookbag, they can be found guilty of actual possession.
Constructive possession is harder to prove. Constructive possession takes place when an alleged offender is in close proximity of a controlled substance while knowing the substance was illegal and in their vicinity.
According to Ohio Revised Code 2925.03, drug trafficking is an offense that is typically only applied to controlled substances and/or drugs classified under Ohio Drug Schedules III, IV, or V. The penalties associated with trafficking in drugs can vary depending on the type and amount of drug that was trafficked. The location of where the alleged offense took place can also play a role in the penalties defendants will face. For example, if the alleged trafficking took place near an educational institution or daycare, the alleged offender may face additional penalties. If a drug falls under Drug Schedule I or II, the charges will be automatically upgraded to Aggravated Drug Trafficking.
The USA Drug Schedule classifies drugs and controlled substances into five different schedules. Schedule I drugs are considered to be the substances that have the most potential for abuse and addiction. These drugs have no proven medical use and are typically seen as “hard drugs” or “street drugs”. Substances in this schedule include cocaine and heroin. Schedule II, III, and IV drugs all have less potential for abuse and addiction, but they are still seen as controlled substances in Ohio. Schedules 2-4 include drugs such as Xanax, LSD, Valium, and hydrocodone. Lastly, Schedule V drugs are seen as substances that have the least potential for abuse and addiction, such as ephedrine. These drugs are typically considered to be medically useful in the United States.
Penalties for possession of a controlled substance can greatly vary depending on factors such as substance type, substance amount, and the location of where the alleged offense took place. The least substantial penalty for drug possession in Columbus, Ohio is typically a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 180 days behind bars and/or court-mandated fines not to exceed $1,000. The most substantial penalty for possession of a controlled substance is a first-degree felony, punishable by 3-10 years of prison time and/or fines up to $20,000.
Typically, if an individual is found trafficking drugs that fall under Drug Schedules III, IV, or IV, they may be charged with a fifth-degree felony. This type of charge carries punishments such as six to twelve months of prison time, and court-mandated fines up to $2,500. If the individual was trafficking drugs near a school, daycare, or another institute for juveniles, they may find that their charges are upgraded to a fourth-degree felony. This charge carries punishments such as six to eighteen months behind bars, in addition to fines not to exceed $5,000.
The amount of drugs trafficked will also play a role in the severity of the charges and penalties. If the amount of controlled substances found was greater than the “bulk amount” but was less than five times the bulk amount, individuals will find that their alleged offense can be classified as a fourth-degree felony. This can be upgraded to a third-degree felony if they are found trafficking bulk amounts near a school, daycare, or institute for juveniles.
Coumbus Recovery Center: A Look at Ohio’s Drug and Human Trafficking Problem - This link takes you to a blog written by the Columbus Recovery Center. In this article, CRC discusses the link between drug trafficking and human trafficking in Columbus, and what can be done to solve these problems.
DEA: Drug Scheduling - This link takes you to the official DEA website, where you can learn more about drug scheduling, the five drug schedules, and commonly trafficked controlled substances.
Drug possession charges can permanently stain your criminal record and cause you to spend years behind bars. If you have been accused of possession of a controlled substance in Columbus, the first thing you should do is contact a criminal defense lawyer in the area.
Serving Franklin County, Delaware County, Fairfield County, and other counties in the surrounding areas of Columbus, Ohio, Sabol Mallory LLC is here to help you defend yourself against drug trafficking charges. Our firm is led by experienced criminal defense attorneys Dan Sabol and Chase Mallory, and our goal is to help our clients reach favorable outcomes in a court of law. For more information on how we can assist your case, make sure you call us at 614-300-5088 to speak to a legal expert. You can also reach us by filling out our online contact form.