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Ohio Drug Offense FAQs

Ohio’s criminal drug laws are numerous and complex. Many of the statutes are intricately detailed and can be overwhelming for someone charged with a drug offense. If you’ve been charged with a drug offense, it can be challenging to try to figure out what your charge means and the potential penalties.

This page of drug offense FAQs is intended to answer some basic questions that you may have if you or someone you know has been charged with a drug offense in Ohio. However, our drug offense FAQs cannot answer all of your questions. If you have further questions, we welcome you to call our Columbus drug defense lawyers at for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.

What is drug possession?

You may be charged with drug possession in Ohio if you knowingly have an illegal controlled substance, such as marijuanacocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or ecstasy in your possession. You also may be charged if you have a prescription drug, such as Xanax, Valium, or Vicodin, without a valid prescription.

To possess a drug, you may have control over the substance. Your control may also be inferred from your ability to access the substance. For example, if a drug is found in your purse or glove compartment box, you may be charged with a possession offense.

What is drug trafficking?

The term “trafficking” encompasses a few different actions. Trafficking can mean selling or offering to sell a controlled substance. It also can mean distributing a drug, packaging it for distribution, or transporting it. Trafficking doesn’t have to involve a monetary transaction. Simply giving someone a drug, or trading it to someone, also can be considered trafficking under Ohio law.

What should I do if I’ve been charged with a drug offense?

Drug offenses are serious crimes in Ohio, and if you’ve been charged you should contact an experienced Columbus drug lawyer and at least have a consultation about your options. If you’re convicted, you may face months or years of prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, loss of your driver’s license, and a number of other consequences resulting from a permanent record as a drug offender.

Do I need a Columbus drug lawyer if I’ve been charged with a drug offense?

Every defendant has a constitutional right to self-representation; however, you likely stand a much better chance at a favorable outcome with the help of an experienced Columbus defense lawyer. You may be concerned about the expense of an attorney, but the consequences you face if you’re convicted are likely to be much more costly in the long term.

What happens if I get convicted of a drug offense?

There are a number of consequences of a conviction for a drug offense. First, there are the statutory penalties, which may include jail time and significant fines. Many drug offenses in Ohio are felonies and the statutory penalties can be severe.

You may also lose your driver’s license with Ohio drug convictions, and if you have a professional license such as a law license, medical license, pharmacy license, or nursing license, you may lose your professional license temporarily or permanently, depending on the charge and the policies of the board that governs your license.

Beyond the statutory penalties, a conviction means that you now have a permanent criminal record as a drug offender. That can be an obstacle to getting a job, renting a place to live, going to college, or getting an immigration visa or green card.

What are some defenses to drug charges?

The defenses available to fight your charge will depend on the nature of the charge, the facts of your case, what evidence the prosecutor has against you, and may also be affected by how the police conducted their investigation. Every case is unique, and so is every defense strategy. When you choose our drug defense attorneys, we will craft a unique defense strategy that will work for you.

Can I go to drug rehab instead of jail?

In some cases, your Columbus drug lawyer may be able to get you an alternate sentence that allows you to go through substance abuse treatment in lieu of a jail sentence. An experienced drug defense lawyer can explain whether the prosecutor and court in your case might agree to substance abuse treatment and help you find a drug rehab.

Can I lose my driver’s license because of a drug charge?

Most drug convictions in Ohio give the court an option to suspend or revoke your driver’s license. For a chance at avoiding a driver’s license suspension, you should seek help from a skilled criminal defense lawyer who may be able to get your charge dismissed or reduced.

What are the controlled substances schedules?

Ohio drug offenses often involve street drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or meth, but also may involve illegal possession of prescription drugs, such as Xanax, Valium, Vicodin, or Oxycontin. The controlled substances schedules list all of the substances that are designated controlled substances, i.e., those that are regulated by law. Schedule I drugs are those considered the most dangerous and with no medical usefulness, while Schedule V drugs are those least likely to become addictive and with a high degree of medical utility.

What are the penalties for possession of a controlled substance?

There is a wide range of penalties under Ohio law for a conviction for possession of controlled substances. The penalty will depend on the type of drug, where it falls on the controlled substances schedules, and the amount of the drug involved.

What is “drug abuse”?

In terms of charges, drug abuse is a broad term that describes a number of possible offenses under Ohio law. You don’t technically get charged with “drug abuse,” but when you’re convicted of an offense that is defined as a drug abuse offense in Ohio, that may affect your sentencing, particularly if you have prior convictions. Drug abuse offenses may include those related to possession, manufacturing, or trafficking in drugs. They also include offenses related to permitting drug activity or coercing others into using drugs.

What are Felony 5 drug possession penalties?

If you are caught possessing less than the bulk amount of a controlled substance and convicted of a felony of the fifth-degree drug possession offense, you can face a prison sentence between six months and 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Contact a Columbus Drug Lawyer

If you have been charged with a drug offense in Ohio, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Columbus drug lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates.  We can walk you through your legal options in a free legal consultation when you call  .

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335


FAX: (614) 413-2886