A conviction for drug possession in Ohio can send you to jail or to prison. The fines are steep. The state legislature created mandatory minimum sentences for possessing certain amounts and certain substances. Of particular concern to many people is the fact that any drug conviction, for any amount, results in a driver’s license suspension. The time period can range from 6 months to 5 years. Professional licenses are also suspended.
Sometimes an attorney will build a defense around the methods used by law enforcement to obtain the case evidence. The judge will dismiss the case if the attorney can successfully suppress evidence because the police obtained it illegally. If the cops failed to follow the proper procedures in gathering their evidence, it cannot be used in court. A case may also be dismissed if law enforcement officers question the accused before giving a Miranda warning informing of the right of have an attorney present. These are just some examples of possible defense strategies. A lawyer will always consult with the defendant to determine the best course to take in defending the case.
DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES OFTEN ACCOMPANY OTHER CHARGES
An attorney will examine the methods used to gather evidence and may challenge the results. Sometimes illegal drugs are recovered while the police are investigating a different crime. A driver may be pulled over for running a stop sign and in the process of writing the ticket, the police officer may search the car and find the remnants of a joint. The driver is charged with illegal drug possession in addition to the moving violation. In some cases, the passenger is blamed and may be arrested for having drugs. A good lawyer will investigate the traffic stop and determine if there was probable cause for the vehicle search.
Ohio state law calls for the arrest of individuals in possession of the following substances:
* Substances classified as Schedule I or Schedule II
UNDERSTANDING PARAPHERNALIA CHARGES
Just as a traffic stop can result in additional charges, finding drugs on a person often leads to additional charges of having the supplies to use them. Anything that the police find is fair game for the additional charge. A “baggie” with roach clips and rolling papers, found alongside marijuana, is considered to be paraphernalia. A “bong” is, too. So are scales for weighing. A conviction for having paraphernalia can result in separate fines, and added jail time. It is a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $750. A conviction could also result in a driver’s license suspension.
CHARGES AGAINST A MINOR OFFENDER
Many states have already legalized the use of medical marijuana and this has changed people’s general attitudes about some substances, especially marijuana. Most people do not think possessing marijuana is a serious crime and most of the charges filed in Ohio are against minors under the age of eighteen.
The court system hands down severe penalties for minors facing these types of charges. Any conviction becomes part of a permanent record that is accessible through a background check. The long-term ramifications include difficulty in obtaining approval for a student loan, renting a house or apartment and finding employment. An experienced attorney will vigorously defend a client facing these charges.
Charges for drug possession in Ohio may be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the specific substance and the quantity recovered. Regardless of how the crime is charged, the penalties have long lasting effects on the convicted individual’s life. Being charged with a crime will ruin the reputation and have a negative impact on future plans. A qualified defense attorney will do everything possible to negotiate a reduction in penalties or challenge the evidence to help the client win in court or minimize the consequences.