Ohio Drug Trafficking and Distribution Laws
It is against the law to possess, use, sell, manufacture or distribute illegal drugs in Ohio. This simple, basic premise is pretty clear. However, given the multiple laws classifying and regulating different classes of drugs and the way the severity of particular crimes is defined, the outcome of a drug-related arrest can vary widely from one case to the next. This difference is compounded when an arrest is treated as a federal offense.
For instance, drug trafficking is usually a more serious offense than the distribution of drugs — but the line between the two charges can be hazy. Distribution generally applies when someone transfers or attempts to transfer a controlled substance to another person, usually in a sale. In some cases, the court may try to prove that evidence showed intent to distribute the drugs. Drug trafficking is usually understood as an effort to sell illegal drugs on a larger scale that can involve financing the manufacture, production and distribution of the controlled substance.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) may take over a drug trafficking case if there is a suspicion that the controlled substance has been moved into Ohio from another state or country since they oversee interstate criminal activity. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. If the scale of an intrastate operation is large enough, the DEA may take an interest in the case. The distinctions between distribution and trafficking are not always clear-cut, the federal penalties for drug trafficking are more severe.
The first step you should take if you are arrested on a distribution or trafficking charge is to hire a criminal defense attorney who understands the complexity of state and federal drug laws and has a solid track record in mounting a strong defense in drug-related cases.