FAQ - Misdemeanor Drug Charges
Q: Are misdemeanor drug charges serious?
A: Any drug crime conviction is serious. Even a misdemeanor drug offense can significantly impact your life. In addition to court-imposed legal penalties, which always includes a driver’s license suspension, a misdemeanor drug conviction will be a part of your criminal record. This may impact your life in various ways, including employment opportunities, professional licensing, insurance, and student financial aid.
Q: How are misdemeanor drug offenses categorized?
A: There are many factors which go into categorizing drug cases as misdemeanors or felonies, like the amount of drugs in possession at the time of arrest or the types of instruments used. The following is a list of Ohio misdemeanor drug charges:
- Marijuana Offenses: Possession or cultivation of marijuana under 200 grams is a misdemeanor offense. Additional information may be found on the Dominylaw website page for marijuana offenses.
- Possessing Or Using Drug Paraphernalia: Ohio law prohibits possessing, selling, or manufacturing (with the purpose to sell) drug paraphernalia.
- If the drug paraphernalia is not for marijuana, drug paraphernalia possession in Ohio is categorized as a fourth degree misdemeanor.
- If the drug paraphernalia is intended to be used with marijuana, this offense is classified as a minor misdemeanor.
- Hashish Possession: In Ohio, it is illegal to possess or sell hashish.
- For possessing an amount under less than five grams (solid) or two grams (liquid), this offense is a minor misdemeanor.
- For possessing an amount from five grams to ten grams (solid) or one gram to two grams (liquid), this offense is a fourth degree misdemeanor.
- Possessing Drug Abuse Instruments: In Ohio it is a second degree misdemeanor to possess, make, obtain or use anything that has the primary purpose of administering dangerous drugs.
- Possessing Controlled Substances: In Ohio, it is illegal to possess controlled substances without a valid prescription. These types of offenses are misdemeanors if the controlled substance is less than ‘bulk amount’ and classified as Schedule III, Schedule IV, or Schedule V.
- Possessing Counterfeit Controlled Substances: Ohio law prohibits possessing, selling or offering to sell counterfeit controlled substances. This offense is classified as a first degree misdemeanor to possess, sell or offer counterfeit controlled substances.
- Abusing Harmful Intoxicants: In Ohio, it is a first degree misdemeanor to obtain, possess, or use harmful intoxicants with the purpose to induce intoxication or similar psychological effects.
- Permitting Drug Abuse: In Ohio, it is illegal for a vehicle owner or operator to allow the vehicle to be used to commit a felony drug offense. It is also illegal for the owner or occupant of real estate to allow the real estate to be used for the commission of a felony drug offense. Typically, if this offense is not committed in connection with Corrupting Another with Drugs or Drug Trafficking, it is a first degree misdemeanor.
Q: What are the penalties associated with misdemeanor drug offenses?
A: In addition to a driver’s license suspension, misdemeanor drug cases carry the following penalties:
- Marijuana Offenses: for the penalties of this offense, please see the page of this website for marijuana offenses.
- Drug Paraphernalia Possession Or Use:
- Fourth Degree Misdemeanor – up to 30 days in jail and up to five years of probation.
- Minor Misdemeanor - $150 fine; no potential jail or probation.
- Hashish Possession:
- Fourth Degree Misdemeanor - up to 30 days in jail and five years of probation.
- Minor Misdemeanor - there is no potential jail time or probation.
- Possessing Drug Abuse Instruments: up to 90 days in jail and up to five years of probation.
- Possessing Controlled Substances: up to six months in jail, a fine up to $1,000, and probation for up to five years.
- Possessing Counterfeit Controlled Substances: up to six months in jail and up to five years of probation.
- Abusing Harmful Intoxicants: up to six months in jail and probation for up to five years.
- Permitting Drug Abuse: up to six months in jail.
Q: Do I really need an attorney for a misdemeanor drug charge?
A: An attorney can definitely help a client charged with a misdemeanor drug crime. First, an attorney can pursue the option of a diversion program or intervention in lieu of conviction which can result in the charge being dismissed with no conviction. Second, a lawyer can review the prosecution’s evidence and evaluate the possible defenses. For instance, the prosecution may have problems with its case, including Fourth Amendment violations, Miranda violations, legal possession defenses, breaks in the custody chain, etc. If a dismissal is not an option, an experienced attorney can present a defense against the charge through the court process, including hearings in front of the court, and if need be, a trial.
We are a criminal defense law firm in Columbus, Ohio, and we frequently handle cases for clients facing misdemeanor drug cases. To learn more about us, please see our firms profile. You can also see what clients say about our representation. If you would like to discuss how we can help with your misdemeanor drug charges in Columbus or central Ohio, please call 614-717-1177 or EMAIL US to arrange a free consultation.