Understanding Drug Crimes in Ohio

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Convictions for drug crimes frequently carry harsh penalties, including lengthy jail or prison sentences, hefty fines, and stringent probation requirements. Depending on the circumstances, drug offenses can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. The classification of the offense as a misdemeanor or felony can significantly impact the penalties that may be imposed.

If you are dealing with a drug crime charge, it is critical to consult with an experienced Ohio criminal lawyer like Matthew Bangerter, who can advocate on your behalf.

Are Medical or Recreational Marijuana Allowed in Ohio?

Although marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, the category for drugs with valid medical use and a high potential for abuse, Ohio does allow medical marijuana licenses.  But without a medical use license, you may still be charged with drug possession.  If the police arrest you for possessing drug paraphernalia with the intention of drug use or cultivation, the state may charge you with a misdemeanor in the fourth degree. The state of Ohio will charge you with a misdemeanor of the second degree if you are found selling or distributing paraphernalia.

If the state charges you with possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia, you should seek counsel with a criminal defense attorney experienced in drug crime laws. Your criminal lawyer can help you build a defense against the state.

What Is a Controlled Substance Schedule?

Drug schedules refer to the classification of a drug’s danger level and addictive quality, as defined by the state, with Schedule I as the most dangerous and addictive and Schedule V as the least.

  • Schedule I drugs have no medical purpose and pose a high risk for addiction and abuse. Ohio Schedule I drugs include marijuana, LSD, and ecstasy.
  • Schedule II drugs have some medical use and pose a high risk for addiction and abuse. Ohio includes oxycodone, ritalin, methamphetamines, and cocaine on the list of Schedule II drugs.
  • Schedule III drugs have a low to moderate risk of dependence and include testosterone and anabolic steroids, ketamine, and Tylenol with codeine.
  • Schedule IV drugs have less risk of abuse and dependence. Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Soma, Tramadol, and Ambien.
  • Schedule V drugs pose the least risk for addiction and abuse and include common over-the-counter analgesics and antitussives. Schedule V drugs include Robitussin, Lomotil, and Lyrica.

The state may charge you based upon the drug schedule classification and the quantity in your possession at the time of your arrest. If the police have accused you of a crime involving drug possession, you should hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you build your case.

What Are Common Drug Possession Crimes in Ohio?

Many drug crime convictions fall under at least one of the charges listed below.  In the event of multiple counts of possession or repeat offenses, a conviction can lead to a severe sentence for the defendant. Hiring the services of an experienced criminal lawyer can help you avoid a conviction or reduce your sentence if convicted.

  • Possession of marijuana
  • Possession of marijuana in a school zone
  • Cultivation of marijuana
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell
  • Possession of a forged prescription
  • Possession of prescription drugs not in the proper container
  • Possession of methamphetamine precursor
  • Manufacture of methamphetamine
  • Federal drug offenses

In the case of federal drug offenses, any crime that falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under the Controlled Substances Act will be processed through the federal court system. If the DEA charges you with a federal drug crime in the state of Ohio, you will need to hire a criminal defense attorney with knowledge of drug laws and regulations at the state and federal levels.

Does the State of Ohio Arrest for Possession of Paraphernalia?

Yes, the state of Ohio will arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia. Paraphernalia is defined as any tool or device for the cultivation or manufacture of drugs, packaging or storage of drugs for distribution, or direct use of drugs.

Typical paraphernalia include bongs and water pipes, syringes, scales, plastic baggies, and hookah or chillum. If the state of Ohio arrests you for possession of paraphernalia, an experienced criminal attorney with a history of drug law practice can help you build a defense.

Contact the Bangerter Law Office if You Have Been Charged with a Drug Crime in Ohio

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Ohio, you may have several options available to you to build a solid defense against criminal drug possession proceedings. It is essential that you speak with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal lawyer who regularly fights drug crime cases in Ohio.

Matthew Bangerter at the Bangerter Law Office is a criminal defense lawyer with over 14 years of practicing law in Ohio, with nearly three years working as a prosecutor. His experience on the other side of the aisle will help him anticipate what the prosecution in your case may plan. If you have been charged with a drug crime, call the Bangerter Law Office at (440) 340-1740 to set up your initial consultation and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking. You can also fill out our contact us form here.


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The information in this blog post (post) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

The Bangerter Law Office
4124 Erie St
Willoughby, OH 44094
(440) 340-1740