What Are the Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Ohio?
If you are caught possessing a controlled substance in Ohio, you could face heavy fines and strict mandatory sentencing. The degree of the punishment, however, depends on the severity of the drug with which you’re accused of possessing. These controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are classified according to schedules.
In Ohio, the laws governing CDS is broken into five schedules, with Schedule I representing the most dangerous and serious drugs — or those known to have a high probability of addiction and abuse — all the way through Schedule V, which represents drugs that are of a considerably milder nature and with a smaller risk of abuse. Depending on the schedule of the drug and the amount with which you are in possession, your punishment could range from a minor misdemeanor with an accompanying fine to serious jail time and stiff fines. Possession amounts are measured according to a specific “bulk amount.”
Schedule I and II drugs include various harder narcotics, such as heroine, crystal meth and crack cocaine. If you are caught with less than the bulk amount, you could face a felony charge in the fifth degree. This means you would owe a fine up to $2,500 and need to serve at least six months in jail. If you were in possession of 100 times the bulk amount of a Schedule I or II drug, you could be fined up to $20,000 and/or be imprisoned for up to 11 years. Even first-time offenders face mandatory felony convictions when caught with large amounts of Schedule I or II drugs.
Conversely, Schedules III, IV and V have somewhat less severe penalties, depending on how much a person is in possession of at the time of arrest. If a defendant is carrying less than the bulk amount, that person would be charged with a misdemeanor, which includes a fine of up to $1,000, up to 180 days of incarceration or both. Possession of 50 times the bulk amount or more would result in a felony charge and fines up to $15,000 and between two and eight years of prison time.
Because the state of Ohio follows mandatory sentencing requirements, it’s important to work with a skilled attorney to defend yourself against these serious charges. Contact the Cleveland drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Office of Gregory S. Robey today.