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 less than 200 grams is a misdemeanor. For more information, please see the page of this website for marijuana offenses.
- Drug Paraphernalia Possession Or Use: In Ohio, it is illegal to possess, sell, or manufacture (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 for marijuana, drug paraphernalia possession is classified as a minor misdemeanor.
- Hashish Possession: In Ohio, it is illegal to possess or sell hashish.
- If the amount possessed is less than five grams (solid) or two grams (liquid), hashish possession is a minor misdemeanor.
- If the amount of hashish possessed is between five grams and ten grams (solid) or one gram and two grams (liquid), hashish possession 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: In Ohio, it is 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 example, there may be issues with the prosecution’s case such as illegal search and seizure, Fifth Amendment violations, legal possession issues, chain of custody issues, 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.
Shawn Dominy is a criminal defense lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, and he represents clients charged with misdemeanor drug crimes. To learn more about Shawn Dominy, please see his attorney profile. You can also see recent case results and client reviews. If you would like to discuss how Shawn Dominy can help with your felony drug charge in Columbus or central Ohio, please call 614-717-1177 or email the Dominy Law Firm to arrange a free consultation.