Drug possession charges can do damage to your reputation and your future. Being charged with any criminal offense can be frightening.  But, you don’t have to be a hardened criminal to face charges like these; regular people are charged with drug possession all the time. An experienced defense attorney, however, understands your desire to reduce the consequences of these latest charges on your life and can help you get the best results possible on your day in court.

Drug Possession Laws in Ohio

Ohio drug possession laws are perhaps some of the most complex in the United States. Most states classify drug crimes by substance and/or quantity, but Ohio has a much more complicated formula.

Instead of prescribing a specific penalty depending on the substance or even depending on the amount, Ohio law sets “bulk amounts” for all controlled substance. Depending on the type of drug you were caught with, there is a different “bulk amount”. The penalty and charge you face, therefore, depends on the substance and the bulk amount as prescribed by law.

A drug possession charge could get you a few days in jail, or several years in prison. It simply depends on the facts of your case, and honestly, for most people, it is too complicated for you to discern how the states drug laws work without a legal background, or some experience in how the courts charge and prosecute these cases.

For that reason, it really pays to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to fight drug possession charges in Ohio courts.

Marijuana Possession Laws in Ohio

Possession of a small amount of marijuana has been decriminalized in Ohio. If you’re found in possession of less than 100 grams of pot (3 1/2oz), you will only be ticketed and charged with a “minor misdemeanor”. This carries a fine of $100. However, if you had more than 100 grams, you will face penalties as shown in the box below. A few ounces is not necessarily a lot of marijuana for a casual smoker, so the charges can be significant. And larger volumes can lead to charges of felony drug dealing, even if the amount of have is strictly for personal use.

Amount Charge Penalty
100-200 grams 4th degree misdemeanor Up to 30 days in jail $250 in fines.
200-1,000 grams 5th degree felony 6 months to 1 year in prison and $2,500 in fines.
1,000- 5,000 grams 3rd degree felony 1-5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
5,000- 20,000 grams 3rd degree felony 1-5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
20,000 grams or more 2nd degree felony 2-8 years and up to $15,000 in fines.

Ref: ORC2925.11

Drug Sentencing – Alternatives to Incarceration

Depending on your criminal history and the facts of your case, you could qualify for diversion, or probation. Diversion is a program that allows for the charges to be dismissed if you complete a period of supervision and adhere to certain conditions. Probation is similar in that you will be supervised and have to conform to the rules but the charges aren’t dismissed.

When it comes to criminal charges, no one wants to be incarcerated. Fighting the serious and potentially life changing penalties of a drug possession conviction is the number one goal of a defense lawyer. Even if it’s only for a short amount of time, being locked up is not only traumatic, it can cost you your job and put a serious strain on your personal relationships. In most jurisdictions there are alternatives available.

A local Ohio criminal defense attorney can assist you in determining the best route to take in your case. Building a solid defense strategy is crucial in getting you a positive outcome in court. Contact us for a legal consultation today.