Possession of a Controlled Substance: Drug Possession Laws
Drug Possession, a.k.a. Possession of a controlled substance is defined in Ohio as knowingly obtaining, possessing or using a controlled substance under the Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11. As applied to marijuana, possession of less than 100 grams (or about 3.5 ounces), giving 20 grams or less of marijuana to another person, or growing less than 100 grams of marijuana are each considered “minor misdemeanors,” punishable by a maximum fine of $150. A minor misdemeanor is not a “jailable” offense, but a person’s driver’s license can be suspended for a period ranging from six months to five years, and a conviction on a person’s record can have far-reaching effects when it comes to job prospects and housing. Possession of marijuana is still a very serious charge in Ohio despite the national movements to legalize and/or decriminalize marijuana possession. In fact, we have seen a dramatic increase in drug possession enforcement by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Under R.C. 3719.41, controlled substances in Ohio are classified into five schedules, ranging from the most serious drugs with the harshest penalties to the least serious drugs with the least harsh penalties. Many are surprised to learn that marijuana is considered as a Schedule I (the highest) drug. As such, drug possession involving marijuana is a very serious offense.
- Schedule I – These substances have a high potential for abuse by users and no known or accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples of controlled substances in this category are marijuana, mescaline, morphine, peyote and psilocyn.
- Schedule II – These substances have a high potential for abuse, but may have limited accepted medical use in the United States. Examples in this category include codeine, methadone and GHB.
- Schedule III – These substances have some potential for abuse and accepted medical uses in the United States. Controlled substances in this schedule include anabolic steroids, ketamine and barbituric acid.
- Schedule IV – These substances have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs and have known medical uses in the United States. Common examples in this schedule can include Xanax, Valium and the generic versions of these types of drugs.
- Schedule V – Substances in this schedule have the least likelihood for abuse and are commonly used for medical treatment in the United States. Examples in this schedule can include medications with small amounts of narcotics.
Possessing an illegal drug in Ohio is punishable as a state offense, federal offense or both. Controlled substances or drugs can include medications with a prescription, medications without a prescription, street drugs, illegal drugs, natural substances and chemicals. Because “drug possession” is a required element of the offense, if the prosecution is unable to prove the alleged offender had either actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance, they will most likely be unable to convict the offender.
The analysis of a drug possession investigation is very similar to the approach we take to an impaired driving case. What that means is that we deconstruct each and every decision that the officer makes. Was there proper justification for the traffic stop? Did the officer have reasonable and articulable suspicion to continue the detention to conduct a drug investigation? Did the officer conduct an illegal search of your person and/or vehicle? Did the officer’s actions, based on a totality of the circumstances, establish probable cause for a drug possession arrest? Was the evidence handled or tested properly? Can the government establish a proper chain of custody for the evidence? Our mission is to get your case thrown out! We act aggressively to keep you out of jail, keep your fines low and protect your freedom.
We have a great track record of defending drug trafficking, distribution, possession and other drug charges. We know how to seek treatment in lieu of conviction and how to minimize penalties. We also have a track record consistent with fighting these charges. For the past five years we have been the chosen team to represent Miami Valley N.O.R.M.L. We speak, we advocate and we defend.
If you are facing a drug possession charge in the Miami Valley, call Charles M. Rowland II for a free consultation at (937) 318-1384. If you need assistance after hours, please call the 24-7 Hotline at (937) 776-2671.