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 and have nothing to do with trafficking activities, you can find yourself facing criminal charges if anyone present on the property or in a vehicle that you own gets caught selling or using certain drugs. For example, if you allow someone you know to be a drug dealer to rent a room in your apartment, you may get charged with permitting drug abuse.
Usually, a misdemeanor, permitting drug abuse may be a felony under some circumstances. Regardless, a criminal charge is always serious business and you should do your best to avoid getting a permanent criminal record, paying fines, and spending time behind bars. By hiring a Cincinnati permitting drug abuse lawyer, you may be able to mitigate these penalties or to avoid a conviction altogether.
To learn more, call Luftman, Heck & Associates today at for a free and confidential consultation.
What Does Ohio Law Say About Permitting Drug Abuse?
The prohibition of permitting drug abuse is laid out 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 the commission of 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 the commission of a felony drug offense
Most felony drug offenses cover behavior that is more serious than mere possession. So if one of your tenants is smoking joints in the backyard, which is a misdemeanor offense, 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. Further, drug dealing or trafficking is always a felony.
It is important to remember that the prosecutor must prove that you were aware of the drug felonies occurring on your premises to convict you under this statute.
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, which carries a potential sentence of six to 12 months in prison and fines reaching $2,500.
In addition to the penalties listed above, your conviction for permitting drug abuse 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 Your Permitting Drug Abuse Case
The outcome of your permitting drug abuse case will hinge on the following issues:
- Whether you were actually the owner or operator of the premises or vehicle where the alleged drug felony took place
- Whether a drug felony actually took place on your premises or in your vehicle
- Whether you actually knew of the drug felony taking place on your premises or in your vehicle
To obtain your conviction, the prosecutor must advance enough evidence to demonstrate that all three of these factors apply to your case – without any reasonable doubt. To obtain an acquittal, all your Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer needs to do is prove that there is some doubt as to whether one or more of these elements it true. For instance, your lawyer doesn’t need to prove for sure that you didn’t know about the drug felony, only that there is a reasonable possibility that you didn’t know.
By highlighting the gaps in the prosecutor’s evidence and challenging the witnesses who might testify against you, a skilled lawyer may be able to obtain an acquittal or even the dismissal of the case before your trial starts. Even when the prosecutor’s case is exceptionally strong, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea deal on your behalf that can mitigate the worst consequences of a conviction.
There is hope if you’ve been charged with permitting drug abuse. With the Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates by your side, you can approach your criminal proceedings with the confidence that your case is getting a thorough defense.
To find out what defense strategies we may be able to deploy in your specific case, call us today at for a free and confidential consultation.