Despite the trends of decriminalization of some controlled substances and the growing emphasis of treatment over punishment for drug addicts across the country, drug crimes are still taken seriously in Ohio. A Cincinnati drug lawyer is well-aware how devastating a drug conviction can be to an individual. Even a very minor amount of certain drugs can lead to a felony possession charge. That’s why if you have more than the “bulk amount” or legally defined limit for simple possession charges, you may be in serious trouble. This could be as much as 25 grams of an opiate or as little as three grams of some stimulants. Past the bulk amount, you could be charged with intent to sell charges.
Many people assume that possession with intent to distribute charges can only be handed down to serious drug traffickers. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If the amount of drug you are found with is large enough it may be assumed that you had the intent to distribute, whether or not this is actually true.
Many addicts who need more of the drug than a casual user can be slapped with this much more serious charge, even if the person accused has never sold drugs (and had no intention of starting). This is concerning, because while the law defines intent to sell charges as being for anyone who sells or offers to sell a controlled substance or prepares for shipment, ships, transports, delivers, prepares for distribution, or distributes such drugs, the real difference between simple possession charges versus intent to distribute charges usually comes down to the amount of the drug in possession.
How Are Possession Charges and Intent to Sell Charges Punished?
As far as sentences go, possession charges are much less serious than intent to sell charges. If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance, you usually find yourself facing fewer than 60 days in jail for certain drugs and at least 6 months for “more dangerous” controlled substances. At most, you will usually face up to a year in jail and $2500 in fines, so long as you possess less than the bulk amount of the drug. If, on the other hand, you possess more than the bulk amount and face intent to sell charges, you could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines depending on the type and amount of drug.
As you can see, intent to sell charges carry much more serious consequences than possession charges, although the action committed is essentially the same. If you are arrested with a large amount of any drug, no matter what your intentions with it, you may face drug trafficking charges, which carry more severe consequences—both in terms of jail time and long-term effects. If you are arrested under either charge, it’s important to call a Cincinnati drug lawyer right away to find out which charges may ultimately stick and to see if you can get the charges negotiated down to less serious ones.
If you or someone you care about has been arrested with drugs in Ohio, call Cincinnati drug lawyer Brad Groene for a free legal consultation today at (513) 338-1890. Find out how Groene may be able to help get your case the best outcome possible.