Felony Drug Offenses

Felony Drug Charges In Columbus And Central Ohio

A conviction for a felony drug crime has a serious effect on a person’s life. All felony drug offenses in Ohio carry possible prison time, and some have mandatory prison sentences. In addition to the potential prison sentence, these offenses carry a mandatory driver’s license suspension for up to five years and a stigma that may last forever. Collateral consequences of a felony drug conviction include effects on professional licensing, employment opportunities, insurance, student financial aid, and firearm ownership. If you have been charged with a felony drug crime and hope to alleviate or avoid those possible consequences, contact a criminal defense attorney with experience handling felony drug charges in Columbus and central Ohio.

Attorney For Felony Drug Crimes

I have represented hundreds of clients charged with felony drug offenses since I began practicing criminal defense in Columbus in 1997. I practice exclusively criminal defense, and my experience defending against drug charges includes offenses like drug possession, drug trafficking, cultivation and manufacturing, corrupting another with drugs, permitting drug abuse, distributing steroids, and tampering with drugs. I practice in counties throughout central Ohio including Franklin County and Delaware County.

Felony Drug Offenses and Sentences

Drug Possession. Ohio law prohibits obtaining, possessing or using a controlled substance. This prohibition applies to prescription medications such as oxycodone as well as street drugs such as heroin. The level of the offense and the potential sentence depends on the type and amount of drug possessed. For example, possessing less than the bulk amount of oxycodone is a fifth degree felony carrying a maximum of one year in prison, but possessing 51 times the bulk amount is a first degree felony carrying a maximum prison sentence of eleven years. Likewise, possessing less than one gram of heroin is a fifth degree felony, but possessing 51 grams of heroin is a first degree felony. A lawyer familiar with Ohio drug laws can help you understand the various levels of offenses and associated penalties.

Drug Trafficking. Ohio law makes it illegal to sell or offer to sell a controlled substance. This law applies to prescription medications like hydrocodone and street drugs like cocaine. The level of the crime and the possible sentence is dependent on the drug and amount sold. For example, trafficking less than the bulk amount of hydrocodone is a fourth degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison, but trafficking 51 times the bulk amount of hydrocodone is a first degree felony punishable by up to eleven years in prison. Likewise, trafficking less than five grams of cocaine is a fifth degree felony punishable by up to one year in prison, but trafficking 28 grams of cocaine is a first degree felony punishable by up to eleven years in prison. An attorney familiar with Ohio drug laws can help you understand the various levels of offenses and associated penalties.

Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing. Ohio law prohibits cultivating marijuana and manufacturing controlled substances. For more information on cultivation, please see the marijuana offenses page of this website. Manufacturing controlled substances in Ohio may be classified as a second degree felony (up to eight years in prison) or a first degree felony (up to eleven years in prison) depending on the type of drug manufactured and the amount manufactured.

Corrupting Another With Drugs. This offense can be committed in multiple ways, including: (1) cause another person to use a controlled substance by force, stealth or deception; (2) administer a controlled substance to another person and cause serious physical harm; (3) furnish or administer a controlled substance to a juvenile; and (4) use a juvenile as a lookout during the commission of a felony drug offense. Depending on the circumstances, this offense may be classified as low as a fourth degree felony (up to 18 months in prison) or as high as a first degree felony (up to eleven years in prison).

Permitting Drug Abuse. Ohio law makes it illegal for a vehicle owner or operator to permit the vehicle to be used for the commission of a felony drug offense. Ohio law also makes it illegal for the owner or occupant of real estate to permit the real estate to be used for the commission of a felony drug offense. Typically, this offense is a first degree misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail. If, however, the felony drug offense committed is Corrupting Another With Drugs or Drug Trafficking, then Permitting Drug Abuse in Ohio is a fifth degree felony carrying up to one year in prison.

Administering or Distributing Anabolic Steroids. Ohio law prohibits administering and dispensing anabolic steroids that have not been approved by the USDA for administration to human beings. A violation of this law is a fourth degree felony that is punishable by a prison sentence up to 18 months.

Tampering With Drugs. Ohio law makes it illegal to adulterate or alter any dangerous drug or substitute a dangerous drug with another substance. Ohio law also makes it illegal to adulterate a package or receptacle containing a dangerous drug or substitute any package or receptacle containing any dangerous drug with another package ore receptacle. This offense is classified as a third degree felony and is punishable by up to 36 months in prison. If, however, committing this offense results in physical harm to any person, this offense is a second degree felony and is punishable by up to eight years in prison.

Additional penalties for certain circumstances. The offense levels and potential sentences for drug offenses can be enhanced by the existence of certain conditions, such as a previous drug conviction, committing the offense near a school, committing the offense near a juvenile, and being found to be a “Major Drug Offender”.

Disclaimer: The offense levels and potential sentences for felony drug offenses are complex. What is presented in this website is an informational summary and is not intended to be a comprehensive reproduction of Ohio felony drug laws (which would take dozens of pages).

Strategies For Defending Against Felony Drug Charges

To defend a client charged with felony drug offenses, I take a two-part approach. First, I look into a possible diversion program or Intervention In Lieu of Conviction that can lead to the charges being dismissed without a conviction. Second, I obtain discovery from the prosecution (the evidence the prosecutor intends to use). I review the discovery with my client, we discuss the strength of the evidence, evaluate potential defenses, and choose our course of action. We look at legal and factual issues like search and seizure, admissibility of statements, chain of custody, identification errors, and problems with analysis and measurement. Our course of action is aimed at getting the charges completely dismissed if possible. If that’s not possible, we seek a favorable plea agreement or have a trial, depending on the circumstances.

Representation For Felony Drug Crimes In Columbus And Central Ohio

As a criminal defense attorney since 1997, I have represented several clients, including many students, charged with felony drug offenses in Franklin County, Delaware County, and other counties throughout central Ohio. Frequently, we can get the charges dismissed or reduced, and we are sometimes able to get the case records sealed.

If you would like more information about me, please see my profile. If you would like more information about my practice, please see the firm overview. You can also see what clients say and review my past case results. I accept a limited number of cases so I can give each client the attention and service I would want as a client. I charge flat fees for felony drug cases, so you will know the total fee before my representation begins, and credit cards are accepted. If you would like to discuss how I can help with your felony drug charges, EMAIL ME or call me at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free consultation.