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Don’t let a drug charge define your life. Call LHA at (513) 338-1890 to schedule a free consultation.
No matter what was “found” or allegedly in your possession, there’s a lot a drug charge defense attorney can do to help if you’re facing drug charges in Cincinnati. Talk to Brad Groene today and don’t make a statement or answer questions without a drug lawyer.
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Cincinnati Drug Charges: An Overview
Regardless of the what’s found or how, when you’re charged with a drug crime, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with.
Below our drug charge lawyers breakdown of what you can expect, the penalties involved, some options to consider, and common questions and concerns for those charged with drug crimes in and around Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ohio’s Controlled Substance Schedule
First, Ohio categorizes illegal and prescription substances into five schedules. Where the drug in your case falls within these schedules determines the level of the offense.
Schedule I Controlled Substances
These drugs have the highest potential for abuse and no known accepted medical purpose. They include MDMA, Ecstasy, heroin, LSD, PCP, and psilocybin.
Schedule II Controlled Substances
These drugs have a high potential for abuse but have limited medical purposes. They include Adderall, cocaine, codeine, GHB, hydrocodone, methadone, methamphetamines, morphine, opium, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.
Schedule III Controlled Substances
These drugs have a lower potential for abuse and may have medical purposes. They include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and testosterone.
Schedule IV Controlled Substances
These drugs have a lower potential for abuse and medical purposes. They include Xanax, barbital, diazepam, and Ambien.
Schedule V Controlled Substances
These drugs have the least potential for abuse and many medical purposes. They include drugs with small amounts of codeine.
Selling Controlled Substances in Cincinnati, Ohio
In Ohio, it is illegal to sell any controlled substance unless you are properly licensed and selling to individuals with valid prescriptions. Controlled dangerous substances (CDS) include drugs, such as cocaine or meth, as well as prescription drugs.
The penalties for sale of a controlled substance depend on the amount and type of drug. If you are found selling (or possessing for sale) less than the bulk amount, you will receive a lesser penalty. If you sell the bulk amount or more, you face much harsher punishments. Once you are found to have five, ten, or 100 times the bulk amount, you will be sentenced much more harshly and may even face drug trafficking charges.
That doesn’t mean that you should take charges less seriously if you were arrested for selling less than the bulk amount of a CDS, though. Even a small amount of a Schedule I or II drugs can lead to fourth-degree felony charges, which will be punished by a fine of up to $5,000 and at least six months in jail or up to 18 months in prison. Even worse, the most dangerous drugs or large amounts can lead to first-degree felony charges, which can lead to $20,000 in fines and up to 11 years in prison.
Types of Drug Crimes in Cincinnati, Ohio
There are several types of drug crimes in Ohio, and each can lead to different penalties depending on the facts of the case. Below is a list of different crimes that our drug defense attorneys handle, and what’s usually involved.
Drug possession arrests are common, but the penalties can be severe. Ohio Revised (ORC) 2925.11 covers prescription meds, illegal drugs and their potential punishments. Keep in mind you can face felony charges for some schedule I or II drugs even if you didn’t allegedly have a bulk amount.
Possession with the Intent to Sell / Distribute
If there is evidence you possessed drugs and intended to sell or distribute them; you can be charged with possession with the intent to distribute. Typically, federal agents or the police determine “intent to distribute” based on larger than normal quantities of a drug.
Drug manufacturing is a broad offense encompassing growing marijuana, cooking meth, and more. The penalties are steep for this felony, and you face years in prison, expensive fines, a driver’s license suspension, and other long-term consequences.
It’s illegal to distribute or transport drugs across state lines or in Ohio. The degree of drug trafficking charge depends on the amount of drugs in question. It can be a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge.
Possession of Marijuana
Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor or felony in Ohio, depending on the amount.
There are many nuances to marijuana and the law can charge or be influenced by having a medical recommendation.
Offering to sell, ship, transport, or deliver marijuana is illegal, regardless of its intended use. However, to convict you, the prosecution must prove you knowingly possessed marijuana with the intention to sell.
Illegal Cultivation & Growing of Marijuana
Growing marijuana, a schedule I drug, in Ohio falls under the same statute as drug manufacturing. Cultivating weed can be a minor misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount involved.
Illegal Possession of Chemicals
Ohio revised its drug laws in 2002 to address illegal possession of chemicals and curb meth manufacturing. Possession of more than is legally specified of certain precursor chemicals raises a red flag, and law enforcement may investigate you.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
You don’t have to possess drugs to be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. However, these charges are often brought at the same time. Paraphernalia includes bongs, syringes, scales, measuring instruments, certain types of containers, and much more.
Penalties & Jail Time for Drug Charges in Cincinnati, Ohio
Once you know the level of drug charge, you can consider the potential penalties. Keep in mind that you may face a harsher sentence if there are aggravating factors, such as being in a school zone or having a weapon at the time.
- Minor Misdemeanor: Fine of up to $150
- Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750
- First-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- Fifth-Degree Felony: Up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500
- Fourth-Degree Felony: Up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
- Third-Degree Felony: Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony: Up to eight years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
- First-Degree Felony: Up to 11 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000
How We Help Defend Against Drug Charges
A criminal charge is a long way from a conviction, which is why you can and should fight the charges. Mistakes are made in drug cases every day, and the best-case scenario is getting the charges dismissed.
Even if that’s not possible, you can secure more appropriate and lenient charges. In some cases, it’s possible to avoid jail if you are willing to go through substance abuse treatment or a diversion program.
Defenses to Drug Charges in Cincinnati, Ohio
- Challenge the Search/Probable Cause
- Refute the Amount in Question
- Highlight Flaws in the Case
- Demonstrate the Evidence is Faulty
- Argue that the Drugs Were Never in Your Possession
To take full advantage of your options in a drug case, contact a Cincinnati drug attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates. We’ll help you navigate the drug court process. We know that appearing in court is intimidating, but we’ll do the talking and help find the best possible outcome.
Frequently Asked Drug Crime Questions
Here are the most common questions we get regarding drug charges in the area:
Can You Get Drug Charges Dismissed in Cincinnati?
When you’re facing drug charges in Hamilton County, your first question is probably, “How do I beat the charges?” The answer is by calling a Cincinnati drug lawyer as soon as possible you stand a much better chance.
When the evidence is weak and there’s an argument to be made in your favor you can definitely get drug charges dismissed.
By working with an experienced drug defense attorney early, you have someone to investigate your case and carefully review the evidence. That is how you assess your best option, whether that’s to pursue a dismissal, accept a plea, or fight for an acquittal.
Read some tips on how our drug charge lawyers work to get criminal charges dismissed.
How is Evidence Suppressed in Cincinnati Drug Cases?
We thoroughly review how law enforcement agents or officers obtained evidence against you. We know you may have been stopped in public or pulled over while driving. In other cases, officers or agents may have investigated you for a time before obtaining an arrest warrant.
Whatever the circumstances, we review whether officers or agents violated any of your rights in obtaining the evidence. If we find an officer violated your rights during a stop, arrest, or investigation, we’ll move to have that evidence suppressed. By limiting the evidence the prosecution has against you, we weaken their case and strengthen your defense.
Am I Eligible for Drug Court?
If you’re charged with a fourth or fifth-degree felony drug crime, your case may go to Cincinnati’s Drug Court, which provides specialized treatment and supervision. The Drug Court is part of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. It was the first drug court in Ohio, and now it’s the only full-time drug court in the state.
The purpose of Drug Court is to get you the treatment you need to get better. You may be eligible if, in addition to a felony 4 or 5 level offense, you also have no felony convictions for violence and no history of drug trafficking. Other factors can exclude you, too, such as a previous sex crime conviction or a previous offense involving a weapon.
Can I Expunge a Drug Charge in Ohio?
A drug conviction can make life hard long after you complete your sentence; however, there’s still hope. You may be able to wipe it from your record. You may be eligible to have a previous drug conviction expunged after a waiting period:
- Misdemeanors: One year
- One Felony: Three years
- Two Felonies: Four years
- Three, Four, or Five Felonies: Five years
Other eligibility requirements are complicated. For example, any felony conviction has to be non-violent, not involve a sex crime, and not involve a minor.
You also can have your record expunged if you weren’t convicted. If your charges were dismissed or you were acquitted, there’s still a record of the case. You should talk with a lawyer about getting that record expunged ASAP.
Call Our Cincinnati Drug Charge Lawyers Today
Whether this is your first time facing a drug charge or you’ve dealt with the courts before, you need to build a strong defense. That means working with an experienced Cincinnati drug lawyer as soon as possible.
Attorney Brad Groene and the entire team at Luftman, Heck, & Associates have a successful track record in drug cases and are ready to get behind you. The decision to work with a lawyer early and address Cincinnati drug charges head on may be the difference in your ability to put it behind you.
Here are some of recent articles that may help if you or a loved one were arrested for drugs:
- Were You Charged with a Drug Crime After a Cincinnati Traffic Stop?
- Hot to Handle a Cincinnati Marijuana OVI
- 7 Ways to Improve Your Drug Case
- Heroin & Child Endangerment
- Can I Be Arrested For My Roommate’s Drugs?
- 5 Most Common Misconceptions About Drug Cases
- Difference Between Possession Charges vs. Intent to Sell Charges