Drug Trafficking and Possesssion

Drug Trafficking

Drug Trafficking and Possesssion
Being charged with possession of a controlled substance or drug trafficking in Ohio can be frightening no matter what type of substance it is. If this is your first exposure to the criminal justice system you are likely nervous about what will happen when you go before the judge. Charged with a crime in Ohio? Please call Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney John P.M. Rutan at (614) 307-4343

You might feel as if you have already been judged or you may be worried about your chance at a fair trial. By retaining a qualified and experienced attorney you can rest assured that your interests will be looked after. There may be a perfectly good explanation as to why you were caught with drugs, such as the drugs were not yours. And it is possible that you made a mistake, have a substance abuse problem, or have simply been going through a difficult time in your life. Whatever the case, we are here to help. We want to hear about your case from you.

Ohio/Federal Drug Classifications (Schedules) The Federal government classifies drugs by “schedule”. This classification system is used to determine the seriousness of your offense and the potential sentence you may be facing. Ohio adopted these schedules and made slight adjustments under state law. Schedule I drugs include those that are the most dangerous and have a high risk of addiction or dependency and no legitimate medical use. Drugs included under this heading include LSD, marijuana, heroin, GHB, and ecstasy.

Schedule II substances still have a high risk of abuse but may have legitimate medical uses. These include things like opium, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamines, and amphetamines. Schedule III drugs are slightly less dangerous than Schedule II substances, but still have a moderate risk of abuse. Schedule III substances include hydrocodone, codeine, anabolic steroids, testosterone, ketamine, and some depressants. Schedule IV drugs have a slight risk of dependency and have very acceptable medical uses. Some Schedule IV drugs are clonazepam, some tranquilizers, and sedatives. Schedule V substances have a very low risk of dependency and include things like over the counter medication with Codeine. How you are charged depends mostly on a) what controlled substance is involved and, b) the amount you had in your possession. However, Ohio drug laws are extremely complex and you should always consult with an attorney about the specifics of your situation. Ref: ORC2925.11

Each controlled substance is categorized under Ohio law as having a “bulk amount”. Each drug has a different bulk amount that dictates the charge and potential sentence that goes with each violation. For instance, the bulk amount of cocaine is different than the bulk amount of a Schedule II opiate derivative which is different than the bulk amount of Schedule III opiate derivative.

Because of all of the complex categories, it is nearly impossible to present a simple summary or chart showing you what type of sentence you may be facing but below is a table showing what quantity rises to what level depending on the substance.

Trafficking near a school or juvenile

  • Note: For any offense that is committed in the presence of a juvenile or within 1000 feet of a school the felony level of the drug will rise one level, and additional sanctions may apply.
  • Example: You are charged with selling 100 grams of marijuana across from a school. You are not charged with the felony 5 trafficking, rather you are now charged with a felony 4 trafficking.

Trafficking in marijuana

  • Less than 200 grams is a felony 5
  • 200 grams but less than 1,000 grams is a felony 4
  • 1,000 grams but less than 5,000 grams is a felony 3
  • 5,000 grams but less than 20,000 grams is a felony 3 with a presumption of prison
  • 20,000 grams or more is a felony 2 with a mandatory eight (8) year sentence
  • Trafficking in cocaine – powdered or as crack

  • Less than 5 grams is a felony 5 (school or juvenile ups this to a F4)
  • 5 grams but less than 10 grams is a felony 4
  • 10 grams but less than 20 grams is a felony 3 and carries a presumption of prison
  • 20 grams but less than 27 grams is a felony 2 and requires a prison term
  • 27 grams but less than 100 grams is a felony 1 with a mandatory prison term
  • 100 grams or more is a felony 1 with a mandatory ten year prison term plus another one to ten years (this is a MDO or “major drug offense”.

Trafficking in LSD

  • Less than 10 unit doses in solid form or less than one gram in liquid form is a felony 5
  • 10 unit doses but less than 50 unit doses in a solid form or 1 gram but less than 5 grams in liquid form is a felony 4, presumption of a prison term
  • 50 unit doses but less than 250 unit doses in solid form or 5 grams but less than 25 grams in liquid form is a felony 3 with a mandatory term of prison
  • 250 unit doses but less than 1000 unit doses in solid form or 25 grams but less than 100 grams in liquid form is a felony 2 with a mandatory prison term
  • 1000 unit doses but less than 5000 unit doses in solid form or 100 grams but less than 500 grams in liquid form is a felony 1 with a mandatory prison term
  • 5000 unit doses or more in solid form or 500 grams or more in liquid form is a felony 1 with a mandatory ten (10) year prison term plus another one to ten years

Trafficking in Heroin

  • Less than 10 unit doses in solid form or less than one gram in liquid form is a felony 5
  • 10 unit doses but less than 50 unit doses in a solid form or 1 gram but less than 5 grams in liquid form is a felony 4, presumption of a prison term
  • 50 unit doses but less than 100 unit doses in solid form or 5 grams but less than 10 grams in liquid form is a felony 3 with a presumption of prison
  • 100 unit doses but less than 500 unit doses in solid form or 10 grams but less than 50 grams in liquid form is a felony 2 with a mandatory prison term
  • 500 unit doses but less than 2500 unit doses in solid form or 50 grams but less than 250 grams in liquid form is a felony 1 with a mandatory prison term
  • 2500 unit doses or more in solid form or 250 grams or more in liquid form is a felony 1 with a mandatory ten (10) year prison term plus another one to ten years

Ohio Drug Possession Defense Strategies Drug possession charges can be challenged and beaten in court with a variety of legal strategies, including motions to suppress on grounds of illegal search, and a host of other options depending on the facts of your particular case. We can also argue for reduction of charges, and work out deals for minimal penalties for lesser amounts of drugs. If you have a relatively clean criminal history you may be eligible to serve your sentence while on probation or even get pre-trial diversion for your offense.

This means that Ohio can be lenient on first offense controlled substance charges. We can argue that as a minor drug offender, it makes sense to get treatment and rehabilitation instead of sentences of jail. Many courts are agreeable to that argument in less serious cases. We can talk about the options available to you in a free consultation. Call today to let us know about the charges you are facing. Once we know the circumstances and specifics regarding your drug charges, we can give you a very good indication of what we can do to beat the case, and the type of sentence you may be facing or if you may be eligible for any alternatives to incarceration. Don’t give up hope, there are always options. Call us today to let us help you find the best possible outcome to your case.

Rutan Law 614-307-4343. Call or text anytime.

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