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Drug Defense Possession Lawyer in Ohio

Helping Clients Defend Themselves Against Serious Charges

Being accused of drug possession is something you should take very seriously. Depending on the amount and type of substance, you could even be facing felony charges. When you’re facing the full weight of the prosecution team, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

At Weisenburger Law Offices, LLC, our attorneys are focused on protecting your freedom and being your dedicated advocate throughout the legal process.

What Is the Definition of Drug Possession?

Illegal drug possession falls under Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11, and the official charge is possession of a controlled substance. Possession can include having the substance on your actual person, such as in your pocket or being found with it currently in your hand. But it also includes the substance being present in any of your personal property. For example, if an officer finds drugs in a bag that you had in the backseat of your car, you could still face drug possession charges even if it wasn’t your bag or you weren’t aware of the contents.

You can also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if you are found with materials that can be used to manufacture, process, or use a controlled substance. Common examples include pipes, syringes, plastic baggies, and scales. Generally, you can only be charged with possessing drug paraphernalia if it is being used in conjunction with a controlled substance or there is the clear intent to do so. For example, if you have a scale and baggies in your car, but there are no illegal substances present and no evidence to suggest that you are using them for drugs, there generally isn’t enough to make a charge.

When Does Drug Possession Become a Felony Drug Crime?

Possession of a controlled substance can result in either misdemeanor or felony charges. If the substance is a Schedule IV or V drug, it is generally charged as a misdemeanor. Schedule IV controlled substances include some prescriptions, such as Xanax or Ambien. Schedule V substances are the least controlled and are things like prescription-strength cough syrups. They are considered to have the least potential to be abused, so the penalties aren’t as severe.

Schedule III substances have a moderate potential for abuse, and unauthorized possession of one of these drugs can result in either felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the substance and the amount.

Schedule II and I substances have the highest potential for abuse and are the most regulated. Examples of Schedule II drugs include methamphetamine and fentanyl, and common Schedule I drugs include LSD and heroin. Possession of any of these substances can be charged as a felony, and possession of a Schedule I substance can result in an aggravated felony charge.

If you are found with a large amount of a controlled substance, you could also face drug trafficking charges, which is a second-degree felony in Ohio.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in Ohio?

Ohio drug laws allow for different penalties depending on the drug offense. In general, the sentence for possession of a controlled substance can include incarceration and a fine. Misdemeanor sentences can range from up to 30 days in jail for a Schedule V drug to up to 1 year for a misdemeanor charge on a Schedule III drug. Felony charges can result in up to 10 years, and these sentences are generally served in prison instead of jail. Fines for drug possession can be up to $20,000 for serious felonies.

How Do I Know If a Search and Seizure Was Lawful?

In many cases, someone is charged with possession of a controlled substance after being arrested for another crime or stopped for a traffic offense. The officer usually finds the substance or paraphernalia either on the defendant or in their car or bag, but this evidence must be found in a lawful search and seizure to be able to be used in court. If you are under arrest, officers are allowed to search you and the immediate vicinity. If an officer conducts a traffic stop, they can generally only search you or your vehicle if you give your permission or they have probable cause, such as seeing drugs or paraphernalia in open view. Officers can generally only search your home with a signed search warrant from a judge. If you think that you may have been subject to an illegal search and seizure, contact a drug possession lawyer today.

Is Marijuana Still a Controlled Substance?

In December 2022, Ohio voters approved Issue 2, which made marijuana legal for recreational use. However, there are still some specific parameters as to when and how marijuana can be legally used. Marijuana can only be used by those over the age of 21, and the limits for personal possession are 2.5 ounces of cannabis or up to 15 grams of a marijuana concentrate. Growing marijuana for personal use is also now legal, but you are limited to six plants for each adult or up to 12 plants maximum in one household. If you are found in possession of more than the legal personal amount or are under 21, you could still face drug charges.

Whether you’ve been arrested for the first time or have previous convictions, the team at Weisenburger Law Offices, LLC, is here to help. Our drug defense attorneys create a strategy based on the unique facts of your situation and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way. Call our firm at 440-771-8525 to find out more about our attorneys and how we’ve helped other clients successfully defend themselves against drug possession charges.