Ohio lawmakers recently decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Now, you face the equivalent of a traffic ticket for getting caught with a joint. The state even appears to be on its way to legalizing cannabis sales.
Despite this welcome trend, the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) remains a minefield for anyone who would produce, market, or enjoy pot or other drugs. Growing marijuana is still illegal, and the possession, sale, and manufacturing of nearly all other controlled substances remains strictly regulated. If you or one of your relatives have been charged with a drug crime, be sure to speak with an experienced Columbus drug crime defense attorney.
Police and prosecutors will not step back from their efforts to levy drug charges and seek maximum penalties even as the rest of society becomes more accepting of drug use, more understanding about addiction being a disease rather than a moral failing, and less willing to lock up drug users and low-level dealers.
Currently, numerous sections of the O.R.C. define and dictate penalties for the following categories of drug offenses:
- Possession—No person in Columbus or elsewhere in Ohio may legally possess any amount of amphetamines, cocaine, hashish, heroin, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamines, PCP, or salvia. Statutes also make it illegal to possess Schedule II prescription medications such as opioid painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs without a valid prescription. Drug charges and criminal penalties increase with the weight of the drug or the number of doses possessed.
- Trafficking — Ohio residents cannot legally sell, transport, or distribute illegal drugs. Similarly, medical professionals cannot traffic in Schedule II medications without a license or in excess of what their license permits. A doctor who allegedly overprescribes opioids is at risk for facing a drug trafficking charge as is a street-corner dealer.
- Funding of Drug Trafficking—These statutes make it illegal to engage in financial transactions that support the sales and transport of drugs. Prosecutors can use this set of laws to target businesses and banks.
- Corrupting Another With Drugs—Sharing, encouraging the use of, and administering drugs can be charged as crimes. This is particularly true when the person being offered or given drugs is younger than 18 or incapacitated in some way, such as already being drunk or high.
- Marijuana Cultivation and Drug Manufacturing—Only licensed businesses and pharmacists can legally produce drugs in Ohio. Even then, only certain drugs can be legally produced in specified amounts. The prohibitions on drug manufacturing extend to packing drugs for sale on the street and converting one form of a drug into another form, such as making meth from prescription-grade amphetamines or making crack from powder cocaine.
At the Maher Law Firm, our Columbus drug crime lawyers advise and represent people facing drug charges in Columbus and throughout Franklin County. Our years of experience with handling drug crime cases have taught us which defense strategies and tactics work to have unsubstantiated charges dismissed. We also know when a prosecutor has overcharged a suspect and will be willing to consider accepting a plea deal that results in lesser penalties.
Questions that a Columbus drug crimes attorney will force police and prosecutors to answer include
- Was there probable cause to suspect a drug crime was being committed or had occurred?
- Did the officer who made the arrest and issued the drug charge observe the alleged criminal activity?
- Where were the drugs found?
- How were the drugs handled and stored after being seized?
- Were the drugs properly tested to ensure they are illegal substances or Schedule II medications?
- How were the drugs weighed or doses counted?
- Do witness accounts contradict the story being told by police and prosecutors?
- Did the suspect have a valid prescription for a Schedule II medication?
- Was a medical professional who is being charged with a drug crime actually engaging in licensed activities?
If you need a Columbus-area drug crime defense lawyer who will ask these kinds of questions on your behalf, consider calling the Maher Law Firm at (614) 205-2208 or connecting with lead Columbus drug crime attorney Colin Maher online. The initial consultation will cost you nothing.