Permitting Drug Abuse
Everyone knows that using or dealing illegal drugs is against the law, but what many people don’t know is that it’s possible to go to jail just for allowing another person to commit a drug-related offense.
Even if you don’t do drugs, you can find yourself facing criminal charges if anyone on your property or vehicle is caught selling or using drugs. For example, if you allow someone to sell drugs in your apartment or drive someone to purchase drugs, you may get charged with permitting drug abuse.
Usually, a misdemeanor, permitting drug abuse can also be a felony under some circumstances. Regardless, a criminal charge is always serious and you should do your best to avoid a conviction. By hiring a Cincinnati permitting drug abuse lawyer, you can mitigate the penalties or avoid a conviction altogether.
What Does Ohio Law Say About Permitting Drug Abuse?
Permitting drug abuse takes a lot of people by surprise, especially if you are pulled over with a passenger in possession of felony drugs like heroin or fentanyl.
Permitting drug abuse is described in Ohio Code section 2925.13. Specifically, it is illegal for:
- The owner, operator, or person in charge of any vehicle to knowingly allow the vehicle to be used for a felony drug offense
- The owner, lessee, occupant, or person in custody of any real estate to consciously allow the premises to be used for a felony drug offense
What’s a Felony Drug Offense
Most felony drug charges cover behavior that’s more serious than simple possession. So if one of your tenants is smoking joints in the backyard, which is a misdemeanor, you will not face charges for permitting drug abuse. However, if a tenant is using heroin, which is typically a felony, you might be criminally liable. In addition, drug dealing or trafficking is always a felony.
Remember that the prosecutor must prove that you were aware of the drug felonies occurring on your premises to convict you.
Penalties for Permitting Drug Abuse
Under normal circumstances, permitting drug abuse is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.
But if you allow someone to violate Ohio Code sections 2925.02 (corrupting with drugs) or 2925.03 (drug trafficking), you will be charged with a felony of the fifth degree. This carries a potential sentence of six to 12 months in prison and fines reaching $2,500.
In addition to the penalties listed, a permitting drug abuse conviction may result in:
- Litigation costs
- Lost driving privileges
- Probation requirements such as community service
- A permanent criminal record that can hamper your ability to get a job or apply to college
- Barred from receiving federal student aid
- Excluded from many professions requiring a license
- Revoked gun ownership rights and limited right to vote
- Immigration consequences for non-citizens
Defending Against Permitting Drug Abuse
The outcome of your permitting drug abuse case usually hinges on whether:
- You were actually the owner or operator of the premises or vehicle
- A drug felony actually took place on your premises or in your vehicle
- You actually knew the drug felony took place on your premises or in your vehicle
To secure a conviction, the prosecutor must advance enough evidence to demonstrate that all three factors apply – without any reasonable doubt.
How a Lawyer Can Help You
In order to obtain an acquittal, your lawyer needs to prove that there is some doubt as to whether one or more of these elements it true.
By highlighting the gaps in the evidence and challenging the witnesses, a lawyer may be able to show you lacked the required knowledge. This could result in a dismissal or acquittal. Even when the prosecutor’s case is strong, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea that mitigates the consequences.
Contact LHA Tody
There is hope if you or a loved one have been charged with permitting drug abuse in Cincinnati. With the Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates by your side, you can approach the case with the confidence and move on with your life.
To find out how attorney Brad Groene with LHA can help you, call (513) 338-1890 for a free and confidential consultation.