Drug Possession

Our Columbus drug possession lawyers handle all drug possession charges, including: Illegal possession of marijuana.

Even as Ohio moves toward legalization of recreational marijuana use and sales, residents of Columbus and surrounding Franklin County will continue to face the risk of being arrested, charged, and convicted of illegal drug possession. State law will, for the time being, continue limiting the amounts of cannabis individuals can purchase or grow for their own use. In addition, the possession of many street drugs and prescription medications will remain banned under both federal and Ohio statutes.

As a drug possession defense lawyer based in Columbus, it is not my place to criticize the wisdom or efficacy of the criminal code when it comes to drugs or anything else. My job is to help individuals who are unjustly accused of violating the law avoid misdemeanor and felony convictions as well as the harsh penalties that can make resuming normal life after serving a sentence for drug possession/abuse difficult.

Nearly every charge is prosecuted as a felony, and the penalties extend well beyond a jail sentence. This makes enlisting the advice and representation of an experienced Columbus Ohio drug possession lawyer to mount a vigorous defense essential.

No Columbus drug possession lawyer can or ethically should guarantee that criminal charges will be dismissed or reduced. My commitment to clients as a Columbus drug possession lawyer is to make police and prosecutors prove their case. I do that by enforcing strict rules regarding probable cause, the collection, handling, and testing of evidence, the treatment of defendants, and the presentation of alleged facts at trial. I also, when appropriate, advocate for plea deals that benefit my clients.

Regarding allegations of illegal drug possession in Ohio, here is a brief summary of what all state residents should know.


How Does Ohio Define Illegal Drug Possession?

Section 2925.11 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibits the knowing possession of any amount of a controlled substance without a prescription. Exceptions are made for health care providers, but such individuals can still get into serious legal trouble and require the services of a felony drug possession lawyer if they use controlled medications recreationally. Doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and veterinarians are also watched closely when any reason exists to suspect that they are involved in drug trafficking.

Ohio follows the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) when it comes to defining which drugs are classified as controlled substances. Without going into so much detail, the DEA system looks like this:

  • Schedule I: chemicals with a high potential for abuse and addiction that DO NOT have federally recognized therapeutic uses;
  • Schedule II: chemicals with a high potential for abuse and addiction that DO have federally recognized therapeutic uses; and
  • Schedule III-V: primarily prescription medications that produce a high or which can be easily converted into Schedule I or Schedule II substances.

Heroin, LSD. PCP, and spice are in Schedule I. Marijuana also continues being listed as a Schedule I substance at the federal and state level even though Ohio lawmakers have made the possession of small amounts of cannabis/marijuana minor criminal offenses.

Individuals caught with one ounce or less of marijuana will be issued a citation similar to a traffic ticket and made to pay a fine. The citation may create a criminal record, so consulting with a Columbus drug possession lawyer can still make sense.

Schedule II includes cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, and opioids such as fentanyl, Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin. Schedule III-V drugs include codeine, pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, certain sleep aids and some combination cough syrups.

Except for marijuana, possessing any amount of s Schedule I substance is considered a serious crime in Ohio. For substances in Schedules II through V, possession is considered illegal in two circumstances: The person does not have valid prescription or the person has more than their prescribed amount of the medication. Producing a valid prescription is a strong defense against a drug possession conviction.

What Are the Possible Penalties for Drug Possession in Ohio?

Nearly every charge will be prosecuted as a felony, which means that a conviction can lead to serious jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. A conviction can also result in the suspension of a driver’s license and the revocation of professional licenses, especially for health care providers. Having the conviction on one’s record will make finding a job that requires a background check, securing government benefits, and obtaining loans more difficult. Having the right Columbus drug possession attorney makes all the difference in your defense!

Statutory penalties, the ones spelled out in the criminal code, increase as the amount possessed increases above what state laws designate as being the bulk amount. Ohio law defines a bulk amount for each substance that appears on a DEA schedule. For most Schedule II substances, the bulk amount is the lowest single dosage available for sale.

For instance, one Adderall capsule, which contains amphetamine salts, is the bulk amount. Possessing five Adderall capsules would, therefore, constitute possessing five times the bulk amount, which is a felony. You can see the maximum statutory penalties for different types of drug possession here.

What Defenses Against Ohio Drug Possession Charges Are Possible?

An experienced Columbus drug possession defense attorney will first try to find and substantiate what are called affirmative defenses against the charge. Holding a valid prescription, performing the licensed duties of a health care provider, and possessing less than the bulk amount of a prescription medication are affirmative defenses.

When no affirmative defense can be made, police and prosecutors must still present evidence that will convince a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that

  • The accused individual actually possessed the controlled substance,
  • The substance is scheduled by the DEA,
  • The accused individual knew what the substance was, and
  • The accused individual knew they possessed the substance.

Contact Central Ohio Drug Possession Lawyer

If you have been charged with drug possession in central Ohio, consider reaching out to Colin Maher of the Maher Law Firm. He is a drug possession attorney in Columbus, Ohio who takes cases all throughout Franklin County. He offers free phone consultations to potential clients, so call him at (614) 205-2208 to learn what he may be able to do for you. You can also contact Colin online.

If you have questions about your drug possession and the possible penalties, feel free to contact us. We are here to help.


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