Drug Possession Charges

Drug paraphernalia

Common Drug Charges in Ohio

Most people aren’t aware that they can be charged with a crime for having prescription drugs in unmarked containers. Combining prescriptions into one container is also illegal. Continue reading to find out what happens if law enforcement finds unidentified drugs in your vehicle or home?

Ohio law prohibits the possession, consumption, manufacturing, and distribution of controlled substances by unlicensed persons in ORC Chapter 2925. Since each case is unique, a criminal defense attorney can help you identify the potential penalties and ways to fight for your rights when it comes to drug charges.

Common Charges

  • Possession - illegal substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, anabolic steroids, and certain mushrooms in your vehicle, home, or on your person
  • Trafficking - preparing, selling or offering to sell controlled substances
  • Aggravated Trafficking - the distribution of schedule I, II drugs except marijuana
  • Manufacturing of illegal substances - engage in any part of the production of illegal substances
  • Corrupting - to administer or cause another to use illegal substances

Factors Affecting Severity of Charges and Penalties

The circumstances surrounding the possession of drugs can greatly impact the charges, the severity of penalties, and the criminal defense strategy used to defend the possession. It’s important to communicate with a qualified Columbus, Ohio criminal defense attorney about the type, circumstances, and amount of drugs or paraphernalia involved.

Type of Possession

  • paraphernalia - pipe, scales, other items used for consumption or packaging of drugs is a misdemeanor (M) charge unless law enforcement perceives it is connected to distribution, wherein the defendant will face felony (F) charges
  • schedule I and II drugs other than marijuana and methamphetamines carry higher penalties

Amount of drugs

  • sentences for convictions get heftier as the amount of drugs increases
  • possessing less than a bulk amount of drugs up to less than 5 times the bulk amount is an F4
  • more than 5 times the bulk amount is an F3 with a presumption of prison time.

Previous criminal history

  • a first offense may be an M1
  • a second offense takes it to an (F5)


  • depending on location - F2 or F1 with a mandatory prison term


  • distribution, sale, or transportation of drugs - F5
  • penalties for trafficking depend on the type, amount, and criminal history
  • Trafficking a small amount can be an F5, while aggravated trafficking is an F4.


  • administering controlled substances to another is an F2
  • a person who is convicted of corruption of a juvenile more than 2 years younger or a pregnant woman could face a mandatory F1 prison term

How Can an Attorney Help?

Should you be found in possession of unidentified drugs in your vehicle or home, they will be sent to a lab for testing. Testing can take weeks or months, so do not fall into the presumption charges will not occur. An experienced criminal defense attorney can be very effective prior to charges being filed.

Once charges are filed, a qualified criminal defense firm will develop a strategy to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. It may be possible to have charges reduced or even dismissed. If convicted, a qualified defense firm can assess recidivism factors and mitigate the consequences resulting in fines, probation, or drug treatment programs rather than a local jail or prison sentence.

Should you be charged with a drug crime, contact an experienced Columbus, Ohio defense attorney to help defend your rights.

Written for The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC

Dr. Benjamin Jackoby, Dr. “Hank” Jackoby Resources: Ohio Revised Code 2925

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