Law Offices of Ravert J. (Jay) Clark Feb. 14, 2017

The intricate details of criminal drug laws in Ohio can be confusing for many people. Someone charged with a drug offense may be overwhelmed by the complex information. If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Ohio drug laws and what charges mean, here are four common questions.

1. What qualifies as drug possession?

You may face possession charges if you intentionally have any illegal controlled substance. These substances include:

  • Cocaine

  • Heroin

  • Marijuana

  • Methamphetamine

  • Ecstasy

You may face charges if you possess certain prescription drugs without a prescription. If you have Valium, Xanax or Vicodin and do not have a valid prescription, you could be charged. Possession means it is on your person or found in your house, car, apartment or another place you have frequent and easy access to.

2. What is trafficking?

Drug trafficking entails selling, shipping, distributing, transporting or delivering a controlled substance. This can be deemed a state offense, federal offense or both. Commonly trafficked drugs include street drugs, illegal drugs, controlled substances and medications. The seller can still face charges even when money has not physically changed hands. Sale means exchange, barter, transfer or gift.

3. Will I face jail time for marijuana possession?

Sentencing for marijuana possession depends on how much marijuana you had on you when you were arrested. Possessing small amounts is considered a minor misdemeanor and typically results in a fine and potential suspension of your driver's license. Felony charges for marijuana possession are likely if the amount is substantial. Specific penalties vary widely, depending on the amount of marijuana and whether any of it was transferred.

4. What about medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana was recently legalized in Ohio. The use of medical marijuana is restricted to patients who receive prescriptions from doctors certified by the Ohio State Medical Board. A certified physician may recommend medical marijuana based on a list of specific diagnosed illnesses and conditions. This does not affect laws regarding recreational use.

Drug laws in Ohio are widespread, intricate and even difficult to understand at times. Depending on your situation, you may need further help. If you are facing drug charges, it is important to seek legal advice and representation from a criminal defense attorney in Ohio. The type of substance you were caught with, your intentions and other details all will contribute to the seriousness of your situation. Knowing your rights, possible penalties and legal options can help you make sense of a confusing circumstance.