Dayton Drug Crime Lawyer

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 20,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s Best Criminal Defense Firms. We treat our clients like family with a non-judgmental approach. Knowledge is power in any situation. We are here to help educate you about your circumstances. Use our resources below to contact us and learn how we can help you.

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Dayton Ohio Drug Crime Attorney Near You

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If you get charged with a drug crime in Dayton, then this could carry potentially life-altering consequences for you. Lots of people know that heroin, cocaine and other street drugs are illegal to possess or sell, but they either don’t know or underappreciate the consequences of getting convicted. Bottom line – you might be looking at a long prison sentence, expensive fine, and a criminal record that haunts you for the rest of your life.

The war on drugs is no joke – especially in Ohio. The last thing that you want is for a conviction to derail your lifestyle, family, employment and reputation. Because of this, it is essential that you know Ohio drug laws and that you do the right things to protect yourself from a calamity. To get you up to speed, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm provide you with this must-read overview on drug crimes in Dayton, including what defensive strategies could get you off the hook.

Contact A Drug Charge Lawyer in Dayton, OH For Help

You are about to learn vital information about drug crimes from Joslyn Law Firm, who is backed by highly reputable Dayton criminal defense attorneys who know how to get you the best result possible in your criminal case. In fact, we have meaningfully helped more than 15,000 people in Ohio who have been charged with drug crimes. Because of this, we have been awarded as one of the best criminal defense firms in Ohio (“Top Lawyer” by Columbus CEO; “10 Best Criminal Defense Firms” by National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys).

If you have been arrested for a drug crime, then don’t gamble on your future by retaining an overworked public defender who has inadequate resources, or an inexperienced criminal defense attorney who doesn’t know how to unleash the most powerful defensive strategies. Don’t waste your time by retaining someone who doesn’t know how Montgomery County prosecutors and judges handle these types of cases. You need a top criminal defense firm in your corner. Joslyn Law Firm has your back – remember that. We will work tirelessly to both protect your rights and defend you against your drug crime charges so that you can get back on your feet as soon as possible. If you need more information from a top drug lawyer in Dayton contact the Joslyn Law Firm online or call (937) 356-3969 to set up your free case evaluation.

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Drug Crimes Lawyer Information Center

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Understanding Ohio Drug Charges – Overview

Before getting to drug laws in Dayton, you should know just how motivated Ohio is concerning drug abuse. The sad reality is that Ohio is going through a major drug epidemic. Because of this, the state has placed lots of resources into investigating and prosecuting drug crimes. This means that if you are suspected of a drug crime, then experienced investigators, police officers, and prosecutors are out to get you.

According to United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Oho ranks among the top five states with serious drug problems. Specifically, Ohio is the fourth worst state for heroin deaths, and the third worst state for Fentanyl overdoses. To make matters worse, Ohio is one of a few states who is plagued by Gray Death – the mixture of heroin, fentanyl and other dangerous stuff. Moreover, according to United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ohio ranks as the fifth worst state for cocaine deaths. And like the rest of the United States, Ohio is working its way through an opioid crisis.

In recent years, The Buckeye State has put regulations in place to curb prescription opioid availability, but this has backfired in some ways. For example, it has caused the street price on opioids to skyrocket. It has led to an increase in pharmacy burglaries. Even drug gangs from neighboring states have poured into Ohio to boost manufacturing, distribution and trafficking of narcotics. Despite the decline in opioid prescriptions in recent years, drugs like heroin, cocaine, Fentanyl and meth still linger.

Given Ohio’s clear-cut plan to crack down on drug offenders, you must realize the gravity of your drug crime charge. Although Ohio aims to balance punishment with rehabilitation, depending on the circumstances, you still might face more severe penalties than ever before if convicted. The stakes are really high in your drug crime case.

Ohio Taking Major Steps Towards Attacking The Drug Epidemic

Ohio legislators, prosecutors, police and residents have all been overwhelmed by the drug epidemic. People plagued by drug abuse are dying left and right. By consistently ranking as one of the worst states for drug abuse, Ohio has become deeply committed to curbing this problem. In recent years, the state has penalized those who possess, cultivate, manufacture, distribute or sell illegal drugs. Here are some particular ways that Ohio is attacking the drug epidemic.

  • More people are going to jail, and the public is in favor of it -– The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio is one of the top states for drug-abuse arrests. In addition to putting more people behind bars, the state has increased penalties for those who are caught dealing narcotics when this causes the narcotics purchaser to die. In fact, in November 2018, Ohio voters rejected a move to soften penalties for certain drug offenders.
  • Ohio Supreme Court confirmed that more strict penalties apply to meth manufacturers -– Supreme Court of the State of Ohio was faced with deciding which of two laws applied to repeat offenders of methamphetamine manufacturing. The Court decided in November 2019 that the law which applied was the one containing the harsher penalty of a mandatory five-year prison term for the repeat meth manufacturer.
  • Ohio Senate wants you to face drug trafficking charges even if you don’t prepare or package drugs for saleOhio Senate Bill 3 (SB3) was introduced in 2019 for purposes of increasing penalties for drug traffickers and for modifying how the terms “trafficking” and “possession” are defined according to Ohio law. Notably, Senators pushed for trafficking to be determined solely by how much drugs you have in your possession regardless of whether you have prepared or packaged drugs for sale.
  • Ohio House of Representatives pushed for tougher penalties on people who sell drugs near drug-treatment facilities – A bill passed by Ohio House of Representatives in May 2020 calls for more strict penalties for those who sell drugs in close proximity to drug treatment centers.
  • Ohio provides more funding to drug task forcesDrug task forces in Ohio have been awarded more than $5,000,000 in 2020 alone. Among other things, funds are supposed to help these task forces with identifying and capturing drug traffickers.
  • Doctor shoppers are being tracked -– In an effort to reduce opioid overdoses, Ohio has taken steps to monitor prescriptions of controlled substances more closely. Specifically, the state uses its Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) to quickly identify prescriptions of drugs or other controlled substances. Pharmacies are able to rely upon OARRS to discover doctor shoppers – people who fraudulently get controlled substances from several doctors at a time. In fact, doctor shoppers face severe punishment including long-term jail sentences and hefty fines.
  • Investigators are tracking financial transactions -– It is already known to Ohio drug crime investigators that people in the drug industry use secretive ways to transfer money. Lately, this has involved the use of virtual currencies like Bitcoin. These types of transactions are now coming under the radar of prosecutors and investigators, and evidence is used by prosecutors when moving forward with drug crime charges. Not only that, but investigators and prosecutors still surveil bus and train terminals, personal vehicles and even commercial airlines for potential money laundering and cash seizures.

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What is A Drug Crime? Drug Crime Definitions In Ohio

Most of the drug terminology is defined in Ohio law, and those definitions will apply to your Dayton drug crime case. Get to know the following terms.

  • Administer -– Dispense a drug (e.g. injecting, inhaling, eating).
  • Controlled substance -– Any substance, drug, preparation, mixture or compound that is identified in Ohio’s list of controlled substances. The list is broken down into Schedules I, II, III, IV and V – with Schedule I substances being construed as the most dangerous.
  • Cultivation -– Planting, fertilizing, watering or tilling.
  • Dangerous drug -– One that requires a warning label which basically states that under federal law, the drug can only be dispensed with a prescription or can only be used under a veterinarian’s order. Dangerous drugs could include anything that contains a controlled substance or anything made from a biological origin.
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) -– An agency of United States Department of Justice (DOJ) tasked with enforcing federal law on drug trafficking and distribution.
  • Dispense -– Give, deliver, dispose, pass on or exchange.
  • Distribute -– Deliver, transfer, deal or ship (not administer or dispense).
  • Drug -– A substance which has no currently accepted medical use, or one which might have a medical use (e.g. to prevent, treat, cure, mitigate or diagnose a disease). Drugs include any substance which affects the inner-workings of a human.
  • Drug crime -– Drug use, possession, trading, shipping, dispensing, transferring, administering, manufacturing, or any activity in violation of state or federal law.
  • Hypodermic -– Under the skin (hypodermic needles inject medicine into your body).
  • Manufacturer -– Someone who makes or produces a controlled substance.
  • Marijuana -– All sections of a plant in the cannabis genus except for mature stalks or any construction of the plant that is not extracted resin.
  • Narcotics -– opium, cocoa leaves, Amidone, Ketobemidone, Isonipecaine, Isoamidone, and anything that contains a similar chemical structure.
  • Pharmacist -– Someone who is licensed under Ohio law to engage in a pharmacy practice.
  • Sale -– Deliver, transfer, exchange, gift, barter or offer.
  • Schedules I to V -– Drug classifications under Ohio law.
  • Trafficking -– Selling or attempting to sell either a controlled substance or a preparation of that substance for purposes of shipping, distribution, transportation or delivery with knowledge that the substance will probably be sold to someone else.
  • Wholesaler -– Someone who supplies controlled substances that they have not personally manufactured or prepared. This includes a wholesaler distributor of dangerous drugs.

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Ohio Controlled Substances Schedules

Most drugs that you know of are controlled substances. Practically all drugs that can get you into trouble (e.g. street drugs) are controlled substances. Under Ohio law, controlled substances fall into five categories -– Schedule I, II, III, IV and V – with Schedule I substances being construed as the most harmful. Each drug category is determined by its medical use, risk of abuse, potential for addiction, effects, knowledge in the scientific community about the drug, and the risk that the drug will be used to create other illegal substances.

  • Schedule I -– No valid medical purpose; high risk of abuse. Examples include heroin, marijuana, LSD and MDMA.
  • Schedule II -– Some valid medical purpose; high potential for abuse; high risk of serious physical or psychological dependence. Examples include cocaine, OxyContin, Fentanyl, Vicodin and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III -– Valid medical purpose; low-to-moderate risk of abuse or dependence. Examples include ketamine, testosterone, anabolic steroids, and Tylenol with codeine.
  • Schedule IV -– Valid medical purpose; lower risk of abuse or dependence. Examples include Ambien, Tramadol, Darvon, Ativan, Darvocet and Talwin.
  • Schedule V -– Valid medical purpose; little risk of abuse or dependence. Examples include Robitussin AC, Lyrica, Motofen, Parepectolin, Lomotil, and other anti-diarrheal, antitussive and analgesic drugs.

joslyn law Ohio Controlled Substances Schedules drug classifications

Commonly Used Drugs In Dayton

Adderall; Ambien (Zolpidem); Cathinone (Bath Salts); Cocaine; Codeine; Ecstasy (MDMA); GHB (Date Rape Drug); Heroin; Hydrocodone; Ketamine (Special K); Lortab; Lorcet; LSD (Acid); Methadone; Methamphetamine (Meth); Morphine; Opium; Opiates; OxyContin; Oxymorphone; Oxycodone Hydrochloride; Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms); Phencyclidine (PCP, Angel Dust); Salvinorin (Synthetic Marijuana); THC (Cannabis, Marijuana, Pot, Weed, Bud, Chronic); Valium; Vicodin; Xanax

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When Do You Need A Drug Crime Attorney?

Drug crimes are rooted in both state and federal law. Typically, federal drug crimes carry heftier penalties – and the federal government is more likely to get involved if you transport a drug across state lines or your drug charge involves interstate commerce (e.g. you are accused of a drug transaction involving your transportation of drugs from Dayton to Philadelphia). Regardless of whether your drug crime falls under state or federal law, you face serious consequences including fines, jail time, a criminal record and more. Here are some of the common drug crimes in Ohio for which you would need an attorney.

1. Drug Possession

In Ohio, you are in possession of a controlled substance if you knowingly have, use or obtain a controlled substance. Depending on your circumstances, a possession crime could be a minor misdemeanor which carries little-to-no jail time, or a serious felony carrying a long-term prison sentence. Notably, if you have a Schedule I or II controlled substance in your control, you face aggravated possession of drugs – a serious felony. Other factors which determine how serious the crime is include the amount of drugs that you possess; whether you possess the drugs in close proximity to minors or school property; and whether you have been previously convicted of a drug crime.

2. Drug Manufacturing

According to Ohio law, you illegally manufacture drugs if you intentionally prepare, make or cultivate a controlled substance. You could be charged with the crime if you plant, produce, grow, harvest, prepare, advertise, mix, wrap or do anything that concerns the production of the substance. In Dayton, illegal manufacture of drugs could be charged as a first-degree felony depending on the circumstances. Similar to possession, factors that determine how serious the crime is include the type and amount of the controlled substance that you manufacture; the location of your crime; and your prior convictions.

3. Drug Trafficking (Possession With Intent To Sell)

Ohio law makes it unlawful for you to sell (or attempt to sell) any controlled substance. If you prepare, transfer, distribute, supply or sell the substance, then according to Ohio law, you are trafficking drugs. Trafficking could be a first-degree felony depending on the circumstances. The severity of this charge depends on the type and quantity of drugs; your location at the time of the crime; and your criminal record.

4. Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal in Ohio to use a device which is meant for administering or preparing a dangerous drug. Paraphernalia includes syringes, hypodermic needles, plastic bags, papers, spoons, razors and cutting devices.

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Ohio Penalties For Drug Charge Offenses

If you have been charged with a drug crime one of the first things you will typically think is ‘Am I looking at jail time?’ or ‘What sort of penalities are there for drug crimes?’ The state of Ohio has severe penalties for a number of drug crimes. If you are charged with a drug crime the worst-case scenario for each of these charges is listed below.

Possession Of Marijuana

  • Up to 99 grams -– minor misdemeanor, maximum $150 fine
  • 100 to 199 grams – fourth-degree misdemeanor, 30-day jail sentence, $250 fine
  • 200 to 999 grams -– fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 1,000 to 19,999 grams – third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 20,000 or more grams – second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine

Possession Of Cocaine

  • Up to 4 grams – fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 5 to 9 grams -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • 10 to 19 grams – third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 20 to 26 grams – second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • 27 grams or more -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Possession Of Heroin

  • Up to 9 unit doses (under 1 gram) -– fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 10 to 49 doses (1 to 4 grams) -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • 50 to 99 doses (5 to 9 grams) -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 100 to 499 doses (10 to 49 grams) -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • 500 doses or more (50 grams or more) -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Possession Of LSD

  • Up to 9 unit doses (under 1 gram of liquid LSD) -– fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 10 to 49 unit doses (1 to 4 grams of liquid LSD) -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • 50 to 249 unit doses (5 to 24 grams of liquid LSD) – third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 250 to 999 unit doses (25 to 99 grams of liquid LSD) -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • 1,000 doses or more (100 grams or more of liquid LSD) -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Possession Of Schedule I, II Substances

  • Schedule I or Schedule II substance where the drug amount is less than the bulk amount (except marijuana, cocaine, LSD, heroin, hash, or controlled substance analogs) -– fifth-degree felony, one-year prison sentence, $2,500 fine
  • Schedule I or Schedule II substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than the bulk amount but less than five times the bulk amount -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • Schedule I or Schedule II substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than five times the bulk amount but less than 50 times the bulk amount -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • Schedule I or Schedule II substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than 50 times the bulk amount -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Possession Of Schedule III, IV, V Substances

  • Schedule III, IV or V substance where the drug amount is less than the bulk amount -– first-degree misdemeanor, six-month jail sentence, $1,000 fine
  • Schedule III, IV or V substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than the bulk amount but less than five times the bulk amount -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • Schedule III, IV or V substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than five times the bulk amount but less than 50 times the bulk amount -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • Schedule III, IV or V substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than 50 times the bulk amount -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine

Trafficking In Marijuana

  • Up to 199 grams -– fifth-degree felony charge, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 200 to 999 grams -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • 1,000 to 19,999 grams -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 20,000 grams or more -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine

Trafficking In Cocaine

  • Up to 4 grams -– fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 5 to 9 grams -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • 10 to 19 grams -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 20 to 26 grams -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • 27 grams or more -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Trafficking In Heroin

  • Up to 9 unit doses (under 1 gram) -– fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 10 to 49 doses (1 to 4 grams) -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • 50 to 99 doses (5 to 9 grams) -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 100 to 499 doses (10 to 49 grams) -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • 500 doses or more (50 grams or more) -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Trafficking In LSD

  • Up to 9 unit doses (under 1 gram of liquid LSD) -– fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 10 to 49 unit doses (1 to 4 grams of liquid LSD) -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • 50 to 249 unit doses (5 to 24 grams of liquid LSD) -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 250 to 999 unit doses (25 to 99 grams of liquid LSD) -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • 1,000 doses or more (100 or more grams of liquid LSD) -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Trafficking In Fentanyl

  • Up to 9 unit doses (under 1 gram) -– fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 10 to 49 unit doses (1 to 4 grams) -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • 50 to 99 unit doses (5 to 9 grams) -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 100 to 199 unit doses (10 to 19 grams) -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • 200 or more unit doses (20 or more grams) -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Trafficking Schedule I Or II Drugs

  • Schedule I or Schedule II substance where the drug amount is less than the bulk amount (except marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, fentanyl-related compounds, hashish or controlled substance analog) -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • Schedule I or Schedule II substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than the bulk amount but less than five times the bulk amount -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • Schedule I or Schedule II substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than five times the bulk amount but less than 50 times the bulk amount -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine
  • Schedule I or Schedule II substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than 50 times the bulk amount -– first-degree felony, 11-year prison sentence, $20,000 fine

Trafficking Schedule III, IV, V Crimes

  • Schedule III, IV or V substance where the drug amount is less than the bulk amount – fifth-degree felony, one-year jail sentence, $2,500 fine
  • Schedule III, IV or V substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than the bulk amount but less than five times the bulk amount -– fourth-degree felony, 18-month prison sentence, $5,000 fine
  • Schedule III, IV or V substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than five times the bulk amount but less than 50 times the bulk amount -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • Schedule III, IV or V substance where the drug amount is equal to or greater than 50 times the bulk amount -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine

Marijuana Cultivation

  • Up to 100 grams -– minor misdemeanor, $150 fine
  • 100 to 199 grams -– fourth-degree misdemeanor, 30-day jail sentence, $250 fine
  • 200 to 999 grams -– fifth-degree felony, one-year prison sentence, $2,500 fine
  • 1,000 to 19,999 grams -– third-degree felony, five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine
  • 20,000 grams or more -– second-degree felony, eight-year prison sentence, $15,000 fine

When The Penalties For a Drug Crime Could Be More Severe

Keep in mind that you face more severe consequences based on:

  • The type and quantity of the drug involved
  • Whether anyone was seriously hurt or killed
  • Whether you are a repeat offender
  • Whether you used a weapon to commit the crime
  • Whether you commit the crime near a school or in the vicinity of a juvenile.

Also, certain 3rd degree, 2nd degree, and 1st degree felonies carry mandatory minimum prison sentences under Ohio law. This means that a judge might be compelled under Ohio law to place you behind bars for a certain period of time if you plead guilty or are convicted of a felony offense. Judges don’t have the ability to circumvent mandatory minimum sentence requirements.

Exception For Those In The Lawful Business Of Making, and Selling Drugs

You might be a manufacturer, licensed health professional, pharmacist, pharmacy owner, or another person who is exempt under these drug laws by virtue of your profession or duties. Also, if you participate in a research project through the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), then you might have permission under federal law to possess or manufacture drugs.

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Collateral Consequences Of Drug Crime Convictions In Ohio

As hard as it is to believe, if you are convicted for a drug crime in Ohio, then the punishment could go way beyond a jail sentence, fine and probation. In fact, there are a number of laws in Ohio that could burden you long after you have completed all the requirements of your sentence. This additional form of punishment is known as a collateral consequence, and it takes the form of penalties, disabilities or disadvantages.

  • Civil rights -– Loss of your right to vote in public elections; loss of driving privileges; deportation; loss of passport
  • Employment -– Loss of your Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) benefits; random drug testing; loss of eligibility to become a member of the United States Armed Services
  • Custody of children -– Loss of parental rights; risk of fault-based divorce on the grounds of a drug crime conviction
  • Professional licensure. Suspension, revocation of your professional license

If your sentence includes jail time, then you will typically lose your income for the time that you are incarcerated. It is also possible that your job will be gone when you are released. In fact, employers often consider a felony drug conviction as proper grounds for termination even if you have not been required to serve time behind bars. And to the extent that you work in the transportation industry or your job requires interaction with the public, then you are more likely to lose your job because of a drug conviction.

Critically, Ohio is an at-will state. Unless you have signed a contract for your employment, your employer can fire you for any reason barring discrimination based on your gender, race, age, religion or disability. So, your employer is allowed to fire you for a felony drug charge or conviction, and they don’t have to justify that decision.

To make matters worse, if you lose your job because of a drug crime conviction, then you may also struggle to find a new job. This is because your conviction will show up on a criminal background check – and many employers run a criminal background check as part of their hiring process. Notably, certain felony drug crime convictions could remain on your record forever.

Federal law prohibits employers from refusing to hire an applicant when this is strictly due to a drug crime conviction. But there are exceptions to this rule especially for those seeking employment in the healthcare, nursing, transportation and childcare industries. Even if an exception doesn’t apply, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that an employer could find a reason not to hire you. Either way, having a drug crime conviction could potentially derail your career. This is all the more reason that you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner to fight your charges.


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How To Defend Against Drug Charges In Ohio

Being charged with a drug crime is one thing; getting convicted is another. In order to stave off a conviction, you’ll want to hire an experienced drug crime lawyer who can unleash sound defensive strategies that both weaken and undermine the prosecutor’s case against you. An experienced drug crime lawyer should be keen on your constitutional rights and on the many ways in which to discredit the prosecutor’s theory of your guilt. Of course, some defensive strategies might apply to you while others might not.

Critically, each person’s drug crime case is different. For this reason, your lawyer should be prepared to thoroughly review the police report and any evidence which the prosecutor plans to use against you. They should be prepared to discuss your situation with you and with other important witnesses who might be helpful in your case. With all of the information at your lawyer’s disposal, they will know which strategies to utilize in your case. Here are some important defensive strategies that could apply to you.

Unlawful Search And Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you from Dayton police conducting an unreasonable search and seizure. In particular, the Fourth Amendment says that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable seizures and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Put more simply, you have a right to privacy in certain places including your home or car. Because of this right to privacy, with limited exception (explained below), the police can’t just barge into your home or car without a valid warrant. Otherwise, their search is likely unreasonable – and an unreasonable search is an unlawful search that can serve as the foundation of your defense to criminal charges.

If Dayton police obtained evidence which led to your arrest and criminal charges, then one way in which your attorney could weaken the prosecutor’s case is by proving that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated because of the police’s unreasonable search and seizure. An experienced criminal defense attorney will see that the judge in your case does not allow the prosecutor to use tainted evidence.

The police illegally searched your homeThe location of a search and seizure matters a lot when it comes to determining whether the police acted lawfully. If Dayton police search your home up and down without a warrant, then their search is likely unreasonable. However, exceptions apply, including when you consent to the search of your home; the search and seizure stems from a lawful arrest; the police discover evidence in plain view; they smell what they suspect to be your drugs; or there is an emergency which necessitates the police searching your home.

This means that the police cannot claim to see your drugs in plain view if they are stowed away (e.g. in a drawer; hidden under your mattress). Moreover, unless the police have a warrant, they are not legally permitted to spy on you by wiretapping your phone or by setting up certain types of surveillance of your home (e.g. use of a drone to spy on you). If the police unreasonably searched your home and found illegal drugs, and you were charged with a drug crime as a result, then your attorney will use this unreasonable search and seizure as a basis to defend you against a conviction.

The police illegally searched your car – If Dayton police want to pull you over, then they are required by Ohio law to at least reasonably suspect that you committed (or might commit) a crime of some sort (e.g. failure to stop at a stop sign). Because of the police needing to have reasonable suspicion to justify a stop, they cannot stop your vehicle for no good reason. More importantly, if the police want to search your car, then they are required to have probable cause (reasonable grounds). Notably, probable cause is based on more concrete information than reasonable suspicion.

This means that in order for Dayton police to justify their search of your car, they cannot rely upon a wild guess as to whether you are committing a drug crime. Without your consent, they generally cannot search your car unless they have probable cause (e.g. they see what appears to be cocaine in your passenger seat; they see a huge plume of smoke coming from your windows; they smell weed on you). Compare those examples with a police officer who, without good reason, and without arresting you, pulls open your glove box to locate drugs. Whatever the case may be, if the police unreasonably searched your car and found illegal drugs, and you were charged with a drug crime because of this, then your attorney can attack that illegal search and seizure in hopes of getting your case thrown out.

The police overstepped their authority at a sobriety checkpoint – Traffic stops are not the same as sobriety checkpoints. Dayton police don’t need reasonable suspicion to stop you at a sobriety checkpoint – everyone at the checkpoint has to stop. However, the police are not allowed to use that sobriety checkpoint as the main foundation of identifying and obtaining illegal drugs. Another thing to remember is that while the police don’t need probable cause in a traffic stop to have their canine sniff the exterior of your car for drugs, they are not allowed to use their canines to randomly search your car. Any unreasonable search in this respect can be challenged by your defense attorney.

The police didn’t have the right to pat you down – In a vehicle stop, Dayton police can pat you down (frisk you) or your passengers for dangerous weapons if they think that you or your passengers are armed and dangerous. In that pat down, they might discover drugs on you. However, if prior to this pat down, the police didn’t have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle, then any evidence that they obtain during a pat down is tainted.

Similarly, if you are on foot when you are stopped by the police, then for them to pat you down, they must either have reason to believe that you are armed and dangerous, or reason to believe that you are committing a crime of some sort. If the police merely guess that you are armed or dangerous, or there are no facts which support their belief that you are committing a crime (or have committed a crime), then they don’t have a right to search you. If you have been charged with a drug crime based on police misconduct in this regard, then your attorney will attempt to have your case dismissed by virtue of your Fourth Amendment rights being violated.

Dayton Police Entrapped You

Typically, the police are not legally allowed to bait or coerce you into committing a crime and then arrest you for committing that crime. Entrapment often happens when undercover cops or confidential informants play a significant role in motivating you to commit a drug crime that you wouldn’t have normally committed. However, not every case of undercover police interaction means entrapment. For example, if you approach what you believe to be a drug dealer who you never met before – and they are an undercover cop – then your purchase of drugs in this situation likely doesn’t constitute entrapment.

When the jury evaluates your entrapment defense, they look at whether you were predisposed to committing the drug crime, and whether the police used tactics that would cause an average law-abiding person to commit the crime. So, if an undercover cop pressures you into buying cocaine, and you’ve never been involved with cocaine before, then any cocaine possession charge that stems from this incident creates a basis for your attorney to argue an entrapment defense. If successful, you could be acquitted.

You Didn’t Possess A Controlled Substance

If the prosecutor wants to pin you down on a possession charge, then they have to prove that what you possessed was indeed a controlled substance. If you had something on you which did not appear on Ohio’s controlled substance schedules at the time of the incident, then you have committed no crime. For example, suppose that Dayton police arrest you for cocaine possession. If what you possessed was flour – not cocaine – then you have committed no crime and your charges should be dismissed.

You Lawfully Possessed Medical Marijuana

Ohio law legalized marijuana for medical use. This means that if you are following state laws on medical marijuana, then you could possess, cultivate, test, dispense or process it without fear of violating state law. Notably, medical marijuana has been approved in Ohio to treat cancer, AIDS, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic and severe pain, traumatic brain injuries, ulcerative colitis, post-traumatic stress disorder and more. However, for you to legally use marijuana in Dayton, you’ll have to be qualified – meaning that you must be registered with the state and must be advised by a doctor to use it for medical purposes (doctors can’t prescribe weed but can recommend it). If you are qualified, then you could possess all forms of cannabis including flour, oil, and edibles.

If you have been charged with a marijuana crime, and you were legally allowed to possess marijuana at the time of the incident, then your attorney should be able to prove that a doctor recommended it to you and that you were registered in the state as a medical marijuana user. Absent special circumstances (e.g. a marijuana-based OVI), the case against you should be dismissed in this situation.

You Lawfully Possessed Prescription Drugs

You might have been mistakenly charged with having a controlled substance in your possession, when in reality, this substance was prescribed to you by a licensed health professional (e.g. your primary doctor) at the time of the incident. Your attorney could defend you against criminal charges on the grounds that you did not possess an illegal drug – you were prescribed it. In fact, proving that you have this prescription should result in no charges being filed, or charges that are otherwise dropped.

You Didn’t Know That You Had Drugs On You, Or The Drugs Belonged To Someone Else

For you to be convicted of a drug crime, the prosecutor has to show that you knew that you possessed the drug. If you didn’t know about the drug, then you couldn’t have possessed it under Ohio law. If someone else possessed the drug, then even if you knew about it, your criminal defense attorney could argue that you didn’t possess it based on your lack of control over the drug.

As an example, suppose that you drop someone off at their home before proceeding back to your home. As the passenger gets out of your car, they mistakenly leave their heroin in your back seat outside of your view. If you are then stopped by Dayton police while on your way back home, and they discover heroin in the back seat of your car, then you might be arrested and charged with heroin possession. However, your lawyer could defend on the grounds that you did not knowingly possess the drug.

As another example, you live in a place with several other tenants. If Dayton police locate illegal drugs in the entrance to your place and they arrest you, then the prosecutor will have a hard time proving that the illegal drugs were in your control instead of other tenants. Similarly, if you are one of several passengers in an SUV, and the police locate illegal drugs near the door to that SUV, then the prosecutor will have a hard time proving that the drugs were under your control instead of under other passengers’ control. So, if you are charged with a possession crime, then your lawyer could defend on the grounds that you did not have control over the drug.

The Dayton Police Mishandled The Evidence Against You

It is possible that the drugs in question (the evidence against you) was not handled properly by Dayton police after they seized it. Not only that, but the evidence could have been compromised by other law enforcement personnel while on the way to the drug lab for analysis. It could have also been compromised by those who worked at the lab. In fact, anyone who had their hands on the drugs in question could have mishandled it.

Also, Dayton police might have lost track of the evidence for some time. This would mean that there was an issue with the chain of custody of the sample. If there was improper treatment and handling of the evidence, or issues with the chain of custody of the evidence, then this could erode the quality of the prosecutor’s case.

Relatedly, while no one wants to believe that police engage in gross misconduct, the reality is that there are many bad cops – and some could very well be in Dayton. It is possible for disgraceful police officers to plant evidence or do other things which are clearly illegal in hopes of pinning someone down on a crime. If you suspect that the police have set you up, then you could have your lawyer investigate the police officers’ backgrounds and the circumstances of the incident to determine whether the police had planted evidence or had done other illegal things (e.g. evidence tampering). Obviously, if the police planted evidence, then the case against you should be dismissed.

Moreover, evidence obtained by an informant is not always bullet-proof – prosecutors sometimes have a hard time facing challenges from defense attorneys who argue that the rights of the defendant have been violated. Prosecutors might also face challenges with regard to the reliability of the informant’s evidence. So, if someone snitched on you, that does not mean that they will be taken seriously at trial.

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Dayton Drug Crime Investigations

In Ohio, Dayton police are legally permitted to do all types of surveillance on those who are under suspicion of drug crimes. Between high-tech investigation techniques and a growing number of drug task forces, Ohio truly means business when it comes to ridding itself of drug abuse. Here’s how you might be investigated for a potential drug crime.


For a long time, Dayton police have used stakeouts as a way of investigating suspected criminals. Most often, this involves investigators who are located in an unmarked vehicle near you or who are located in a nearby home. Investigators closely track you to determine when you and others are coming and going, among other things.

More often in today’s tech-centric world, investigators use hidden cameras and recording devices that suspects never see. And when you are on foot, the police might use a surveillance team to track and monitor you. As an example, one undercover officer could be following you while other officers are nearby, making it difficult for you to detect all police officers even if you suspect that one of them is a cop.


Police can legally spy on you if they get a court order. Commonly, investigators use electronic devices to record your conversations with others. Investigators might also wiretap your internet and track your emails. Even in situations where Dayton police haven’t obtained a warrant to engage in more intrusive wiretapping, they could still implement a pen register which records numbers that are called from a certain phone line. By using a pen register, the officers don’t listen in your phone conversations; however, they are able to log important phone numbers which might be traceable to you or other suspects. The police might even use stingray tracking devices to determine both your location and those people who are in your vicinity.

Also, Dayton police could monitor the electricity that you use in your home. When there are spikes in your electricity use, this could signal to investigators that you might be using grow lights or other equipment relating to drug cultivation or manufacturing. In fact, the police could go as far as using infrared imaging to determine the heat coming through the walls of your building.

Further, Dayton police could obtain a court order which might permit them to use drones to investigate you (e.g. a drone containing a camera which peeks into the second story window of your home). Moreover, in cases where investigators seize your computers, they could conduct forensic testing and even evaluate any data that you have stored in the cloud.

Controlled Telephone Calls

Dayton police might use a controlled telephone call to extract information from you. It goes something like this -– you receive a phone call from who you believe to be your friend when it turns out that this friend is actually working as an informant for the police. This so-called friend of yours might ask you targeted questions to extract incriminating information from you. And if you bite, then this incriminating information may and probably will be used against you.


Confidential informants, which the United States Supreme Court has deemed vital for fighting crime, are used by FBI and state government to investigate crimes. The way it works is that the informant tips off investigators to their relationship with you and their understanding of your activities. The more that this informant knows about your activities, the more likely that they may detect if you are doing something illegal. It is certainly possible for the information obtained by the informant to be the ticket to police obtaining a warrant which is then used by the police to arrest you or search your property, or both.

Controlled Buys

Dayton police could arrange a controlled buy with someone who is predisposed to purchasing drugs. This involves the police obtaining pre-recorded money (traceable money) to buy drugs from you. Undercover police then go to a predetermined place to buy the drugs. After a sale is made, the police check the buyer (undercover police officer) for drugs, and any drugs which this officer obtains in the controlled buy are field-tested to determine whether the drugs are real. If so, you could be arrested for selling drugs. However, the police tend to only use this method when they believe that you are predisposed to purchasing drugs.

Task Forces

In Ohio, task forces who are aimed at curbing drug abuse have grown in popularity since 1988 because agencies who created these task forces have been provided with funding from the federal government. Just in 2019 alone, an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) worth more than $5,700,000 was provided to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services from the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Notably, there are 27 multi-jurisdictional drug task forces which are headed by the Ohio Task Force Commanders Association (OTFCA). Police departments and sheriff’s offices often collaborate in these task forces. OTFCA partners with the State of Ohio to share resources and information so that they can target where controlled substances are coming and going in the state. However, other task forces like METRICH are standalone law enforcement units.

The United States Postal Inspection Service

In a typical year, United States Postal Inspection Service arrests more than 1,500 people who are suspected of using the mail to engage in money laundering or drug trafficking. As an example, a mail cover from the Postal Inspection Service could let Ohio authorities know about the arrival of a potential drug package that is seemingly intended for you. Typically, a package that is believed to contain illegal drugs will be screened by canines. Postal Inspection Service investigators help authorities develop sufficient reason to believe that you have committed a drug crime, enabling authorities to obtain a federal warrant to open the package. Once the package is seized and opened, its contests are analyzed and tested before you are provided with the package and potentially arrested for possession.

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What Kind of Evidence Can Be Used in Drug Crime Cases?

Evidence Which Applies To All Drug Crimes

  • Surveillance videos
  • Photos
  • Computer files
  • Text messages, emails
  • Police body cameras
  • Police officer testimony
  • Wiretapping
  • Witness testimony
  • Crime lab results
  • Paraphernalia

Evidence Which Applies To Trafficking

  • Postal mail
  • Recorded buy money
  • Packaging
  • Business cards
  • Postal mail

Evidence Which Applies To Manufacturing Or Cultivation

  • Chemicals to make drugs
  • Cultivation schedules
  • Grow lights
  • Drug labs or equipment that is used to make drugs

Suppression Of Evidence In Ohio Drug Cases

Drug crime cases are often won or lost based on a defense lawyer’s ability to get incriminating evidence to be suppressed (disallowed; rejected; inadmissible). Specifically, if you are charged with a drug crime, there will be one or more court hearings concerning what evidence is allowed to be used against you by the prosecutor. At these hearings, your defense lawyer should try to convince the judge to suppress as much evidence as possible. If the evidence is not admissible, then it cannot be used against you. Your lawyer could get evidence suppressed by proving to the judge that Dayton police illegally obtained or mishandled the evidence. Here are some key reasons for the incriminating evidence against you to be thrown out.

Violation Of Your Fourth Amendment Rights

According to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, you are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures in certain circumstances. Evidence obtained in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights can be suppressed.

In particular, for Dayton police to search your home and seize evidence, they must first have a warrant. That warrant has to be based on probable cause, meaning that the police must have good reason to believe that you have committed a crime. Also, the warrant must identify the specific location in which the search will take place, and what evidence is being sought by the police. Finally, a judge has to sign off on a warrant for it to be valid – the police cannot get a warrant without a judge.

However, it is important to know that some situations don’t require Dayton police to have a warrant in order to execute a search and seizure. Here are some situations where the police can get around the warrant:

  • The police ask you if they can search your home or car, and you provide consent
  • The police see the incriminating evidence in plain view (e.g. you open up the door to your home and the police see drugs on the floor near the door, or they smell drugs)
  • The police have lawfully arrested you, and their search and seizure stems from your arrest (e.g. the police have a warrant to arrest you, and when they enter your home for that purpose, they see that you have drugs on you or in your immediate vicinity)
  • Your car is impounded, and the police obtain evidence in your car
  • The police are responding to an emergency which requires them to enter your property (e.g. someone is in danger of being hurt or killed on your property)

Barring those above-stated exceptions, if the police didn’t have a valid warrant when they conducted a search of your home, and they obtained incriminating evidence against you which led to your arrest and criminal charges, then there may be a way for your lawyer to get that evidence suppressed.

Relatedly, you have a right to be free from unreasonable searches of your vehicle. Keep in mind that Dayton police must have reasonable suspicion of you committing a crime in order to pull you over. If the police did not have proper justification to stop your vehicle, then any drug evidence that they obtained can be suppressed.

Consent Obtained By Fraud, Coercion

You might not understand that Dayton police are asking for your consent to search you or your property. For example, the police might use deceptive language or may say things that you don’t comprehend all in an effort to get you to agree to their search. Perhaps the police make it seem as though you don’t have a choice when you actually do have a choice. If your consent was procured through improper means, then any evidence that the police obtain is tainted. This would be grounds for your lawyer to get that evidence suppressed.

Evidence Not In Plain View

Dayton police can seize evidence that is in their sights. So, if you are lawfully pulled over and the police shine their light into your car, then whatever they see that is incriminating could be seized and used against you. However, the police cannot just decide to search your trunk unless: they have a warrant; they obtain your consent; they arrest you and the search pertains to your arrest; or they have sufficient reason to believe that you are storing drugs in your trunk (probable cause). Police cannot rely on obtaining evidence in plain view if they must do something to uncover the evidence (e.g. pop the trunk, look under your car seats, open your luggage, open your glove box). To the extent that the police have overreached in this respect, then your defense lawyer could get that unlawfully obtained evidence to be suppressed.

Searches Which Relate To A Lawful Arrest

It is not illegal for Dayton police to obtain evidence on your body or in your immediate vicinity when it all relates to your arrest; however, this search is only lawful when it concerns the areas that the police suspect that the crime has been committed. If the police suspect that your crime has been committed in the garage of your home, then that does not give them the justification to search the entirety of your home for anything incriminating. If the police believe that you have illegal drugs in your glove box, and that glove box is within your reach, then they could potentially search that glove box if they have arrested you; however, that doesn’t automatically entitle the officer to search your trunk. Searches have limitations, and if the police don’t follow the rules, then the evidence that they obtain could be tainted – and tainted evidence could be suppressed.


Dayton police might have stopped your car without a legitimate suspicion of you committing a crime. They might have had no probable cause to arrest you. If this happens, and your car gets impounded, then any evidence that they later locate in your car cannot be used against you because the impoundment of your vehicle came by way of unlawful police action.

Moreover, it might be unnecessary for the police to impound your vehicle especially if it is safely parked and is not posing any danger to public safety. So, if the police impounded your vehicle without providing you with an opportunity to secure your vehicle or otherwise have someone pick your vehicle up, and incriminating evidence is obtained by the police which leads to your arrest and criminal charges, then this could serve as a basis for your defense lawyer to get that evidence thrown out.

Violation Of Your Miranda Rights

If you are in police custody and about to be interrogated, then the police are required to give you a Miranda warning (e.g. “You have a right to remain silent; anything that you say can and will be used against you in a court of law; you have a right to have your lawyer present when the police question you”). Those rights are rooted in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

If you have exercised your Miranda rights, then Dayton police are not allowed to interrogate you without your lawyer being present. They cannot beat a confession out of you. Common examples of the police violating your Miranda rights include: not giving you a Miranda warning; coercing you into waiving these rights; or getting you to say something incriminating before they provide you with a Miranda warning. Any incriminating evidence that the police obtain in violation of your Miranda rights could be suppressed.

Bottom line -– the more that your defense lawyer can expose the unlawfulness of Dayton police in their search and seizure of incriminating evidence, the more likely that the evidence against you will get thrown out by a judge. And if the prosecutor has relied heavily on the evidence that is later thrown out by a judge, then your case might get tossed.

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Ohio Court Process In Drug Crime Cases

If you have been arrested for a drug crime, there are a number of steps between that arrest and the final call as to your innocence or guilt. Here’s how a typical criminal case works after you have been arrested.


You stand before a judge at which time you are informed of the criminal charges that the prosecutor brought against you. At this stage, your defense lawyer is at your side and will help you determine whether to enter a plea of not guilty or guilty.

Also, the judge explains the requirements that you must follow as it pertains to your case. They will want to see that you intend to answer the charges that the prosecutor brought against you.

Next, the judge typically sets bail and provides you with an opportunity to post bail (provide a financial sum to the court as assurance that you will attend hearings and your criminal trial). By posting bail, you will be released from jail while you await your criminal trial. Prior to being released on bail, you’ll be made aware of court hearings that will follow, and will be provided with an opportunity to schedule hearings and your trial date.

Pretrial Hearings

Once you are arraigned, your lawyer will begin formulating defense strategies that apply to your case. At the same time as your lawyer is preparing these strategies, you will be required to attend one or more pretrial hearings. The judge, prosecutor and your defense lawyer will all be present. The main purpose of these hearings is to flesh out any administrative or legal issues prior to trial. Your lawyer might begin negotiations with the prosecutor by this point. This could lead to a potential plea agreement.

Basically, a plea agreement (plea bargain, plea deal) is an arrangement between you and the prosecutor in which you plead guilty to a criminal offense in exchange for a less severe punishment. The pros of a plea agreement are that you can avoid the worst case scenario and avoid a criminal trial. The cons are that you are agreeing to be found guilty of an offense that you might not have committed, and you’ll have a criminal record as a result. Your lawyer should evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case against you, and advise you as to whether a plea agreement makes sense in your situation. As the defendant, you decide whether to take the deal.


Your lawyer will likely file a number of motions before trial. A motion is basically a request for the judge to do something in reference to your case. For example, your lawyer might file motions to suppress evidence, and motions concerning trial witnesses. They might even file a motion to have your case dismissed. Namely, a motion to dismiss your case makes sense especially when Dayton cops failed to produce any incriminating evidence against you, or they did not have probable cause to arrest you or to obtain incriminating evidence. The cops might have even mishandled the evidence against you, so the motion to have your case dismissed could be based on the cops’ tainted and unreliable evidence.

Further, If the prosecutor has a pretty weak case against you, then your lawyer might file a motion for summary judgement. With this type of motion, your lawyer basically asks the judge to decide your case without you having to go through trial. However, this is typically only done when the major facts of your case are undisputed, and the facts of your case necessitate the judge ruling in your favor.

Initiating The Trial

If your case goes to trial, then this basically means that you have either refused to accept a plea bargain from the prosecutor or you have pleaded not guilty. The purpose of a criminal trial is for a jury or judge to determine whether you are guilty of the charges. For you to be found guilty, the prosecutor is required to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You do not have to prove that you are innocent.

A trial before the court (TBC) means that the judge hears your case – not the jury. In fact, with a TBC, there is no jury who will even hear your case. Instead, the judge holds a trial and then decides whether you are guilty. Remember that you always have the right to a jury trial in a criminal case.

If a jury hears your case, then before the trial begins, the judge allows your lawyer to question possible jurors to assess if they will be fair and impartial when they evaluate your case. After the jury is sworn in, your lawyer and the prosecutor will both make opening statements to the jury to give them a preview of your case. This is your lawyer’s first chance to persuade the jury that you have been wrongfully charged and that the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Prosecutor Goes First

The prosecutor introduces their evidence against you. This usually involves them having your arresting officer testify against you. The prosecutor might call other witnesses including those who supposedly have knowledge of you committing the drug crime or might have seen you at the time of the offense. Also, the prosecutor has expert witnesses testify about the testing methods that were used on the drugs in question. Other witnesses might include those who maintained or controlled the drug testing devices. Of course, your lawyer can question all of these witnesses in an attempt to discredit them.

Notably, the prosecutor could call you to the stand to testify, but you are not required to admit anything. You have a right under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution to be free from compelled self-incrimination. So, if you are questioned, then you could plead the fifth, which means that you refuse to answer the prosecutor’s questions.

Your Defense Lawyer Goes Next

After the prosecutor has called all of their witnesses, then your lawyer can begin to present any useful evidence or arguments to the jury which cast doubt on the prosecutor’s theory of your guilt. Your lawyer could have witnesses testify in your defense. Moreover, they might have expert witnesses testify about Dayton police’s drug testing mechanisms or drug handling. Although less common, some defense lawyers might choose not to present evidence if they believe that it is best for the defendant’s case.

Keep in mind that while you have the right to testify in your defense, this is typically a bad idea because you might inadvertently incriminate yourself or be seen in an unfavorable light by the judge or jury. The good news is that if you refuse to testify, then the judge must instruct the jury not to hold your refusal against you.

The Verdict

Before any decision is made, the prosecutor makes a closing argument to the jury, and so does your defense lawyer. Thereafter, the judge reads the charges to the jury. The judge tells the jury which laws are applicable in your case, and which facts can be considered when deciding whether you are guilty or not guilty of the charges. Moreover, the judge instructs the jury to make a decision based only on the law and the admissible evidence.

If the jury unanimously declares that you are not guilty, then you should be acquitted. If this happens, then the judge will tell you about your right to expunge the charges from your record. If some jury members think that you are innocent but others believe that you are guilty, then the judge likely declares a mistrial. With a mistrial, your case gets dismissed but you potentially face another trial. Finally, if the jury determines that you are guilty, then you get convicted.


If the judge or jury finds you guilty of a drug crime, then your case moves on to the sentencing phase. This is where the judge determines your punishment. At sentencing, the judge typically considers evidence that was inadmissible at your trial such as your prior criminal history. Your lawyer could propose a sentence which they have negotiated with the prosecutor. Alternatively, they could not involve the prosecutor when proposing a sentence to the judge. Also, at the sentencing stage, you could have your family members, friends or other people say good things about you in hopes that you will be provided mercy. You are even able to make a statement before the judge.

Challenging The Decision

If there was insufficient evidence, jury misconduct, abnormalities at trial, or new evidence that is discovered, then this should prompt your lawyer to file a motion for a new trial. The initial judge on your case receives this motion and has an opportunity to make things right.

You can also appeal your case. With an appeal, a new judge gets involved who looks at the law and your case to assess whether there were legal mistakes. Notably, an appeals judge doesn’t hear new evidence – they don’t hold a new trial. However, if your appeal is successful, it could result in the trial court being forced to fix something or result in a new trial. Sometimes, a successful appeal could lead to your case being thrown out.

Drug Offenses In Dayton Could Violate State and Federal Law

In Ohio, you could face charges from the state or federal government, or both, depending on the nature of the alleged crime. Here’s a quick overview of which laws might apply to your case.

When federal law applies -– The federal government relies on the Controlled Substances Act to determine drug crimes and penalties. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) is responsible for enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, which means that the DEA could arrest you in Ohio for violating federal drug laws. And DEA relies upon a United States Attorney to prosecute your case.

Normally, the federal government gets involved when you are under suspicion of engaging in criminal activity that involves interstate commerce (e.g. the offense involves activities in multiple states) or being on federal property. So, if you are transporting drugs from Dayton to Pittsburgh, then the alleged crime could easily fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

It is important to remember that the laws of the federal government are superior to the laws of the individual states. So, if you possess something which is considered legal in Ohio but which is illegal under federal law (e.g. marijuana), then you could still be arrested by federal authorities and then charged by a United States Attorney with violating federal law. These federal prosecutors try cases before judges in federal district courts, circuit courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

When Ohio law applies -– In the vast majority of drug crime cases in Ohio, it is the state’s laws that apply. This is because most officers who arrest people for drug crimes work for the state or local cops. Notably, nearly all of the police power in a given state comes from the state government – not the federal government. Dayton police relies upon state attorneys (prosecuting attorneys) to try cases before judges in state court.

When both state and federal law apply -– Typically, if a crime committed in Dayton involves interstate commerce, then both the federal government and the State of Ohio have jurisdiction. This is called concurrent jurisdiction and it could be a real problem for you. This is because both governments can prosecute you for what might seem like the same crime. Not only that, but double jeopardy doesn’t apply, meaning that if a Montgomery County prosecutor charges you with a crime and this results in your acquittal, then the federal government could charge you with their version of the crime – and this could result in your conviction.

Prosecutors In Montgomery County Have Discretion When It Comes To Charging You

Crimes in Ohio could range from low-level misdemeanors to high-level felonies. As an example, a drug possession crime could constitute a minor misdemeanor up to a first-degree felony. The punishment associated with a minor misdemeanor is akin to a slap on the wrist. With a minor misdemeanor conviction, you might not even have to go to jail. With a first-degree felony conviction; however, you might spend more than a decade behind bars.

Critically, state prosecutors have a lot of control when it comes to deciding what to charge you with. Basically, in determining whether to charge you with a crime, prosecutors look closely at which substance is involved in your case; how much of the substance is involved; and where your alleged crime took place. In determining how severe the charge should be, among other things, the prosecutor looks at the minimum and maximum jail sentences that the judge could impose.

Moreover, if the prosecutor could charge you with a more serious crime or a less serious crime given the same set of facts (known as a wobbler), then they might charge you with the more serious crime to induce you into a plea agreement. Alternatively, unless there is considerable evidence against you, the prosecutor might refrain from charging you with the more serious crime because of it being harder to prove.

Alternatives To Rolling The Dice At Trial

Dayton Drug Courts

The Montgomery County Common Pleas Court – which covers the Dayton area – offers a Drug Court Program which assists drug offenders with intervention, treatment and rehabilitation while they are under criminal justice supervision. Namely, the program is an alternative sentence to jail or prison time for those offenders who are eligible. Typically, you will be eligible if: you are charged with a lower-level felony crime; you have a drug dependency; you are motivated for treatment; and you meet sentencing guidelines for probation. You probably won’t be eligible if you have multiple felonies on your record; or you have been previously convicted of drug manufacturing or trafficking.

The Drug Court Program lasts between six months and five years (typically 18 months). It involves weekly court appearances, and supervision by the Probation Services Department. It also involves urine testing, treatment, support groups and meetings with case managers. If you successfully complete the program, then you avert a conviction. Notably, successful completion of this program allows you to be sober, have a support system, have better health, have employment, and get your charges dismissed.

Intervention In Lieu Of Conviction (ILC)

The ILC program might be available to you if you allege that the crime occurred because of your drug or alcohol use. If you want to get into this program, then early on in your case (before you enter a guilty plea), you request to be admitted. The judge will conduct a hearing to determine whether you are eligible. Not everyone is eligible, including those who have pleaded guilty to or have been convicted of a felony crime, or those who are charged with: a possession crime that constitutes a first-degree felony or second-degree felony; a trafficking crime which constitutes a fourth-degree felony up to a first-degree felony; or manufacturing crime. Generally, ILC lasts between one and five years. With ILC, you have an opportunity to get your charges dismissed as long as you successfully undergo court-ordered treatment.

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Drug Crime Resources

Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) – Encourages safer alternatives to drug policy in the United States. The Alliance promotes policies aimed at reducing the harms relating to drug use and drug prohibition.

Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) – Empowers young adults to push for better drug policies and to fight the war on drugs policies that are more hurtful than helpful for youth and students.

Ohio Revised Code (ORC) – The law on drug crimes and penalties, including drug possession, drug trafficking, manufacturing and cultivation in the State of Ohio.

Dayton Area Service Committee Narcotics Anonymous (DASCNA) – Provides information to the public, professionals and Narcotics Anonymous members about recovery in Dayton and the surrounding areas.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – Assists those people who suffer from drug addiction; fosters support groups consisting of others who suffer from substance abuse issues and who seek treatment in hopes of maintaining a sober lifestyle.

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Dayton Drug Crimes FAQs

1. What Are The Penalties For Committing A Drug Crime In Dayton?

Drug crimes range from minor misdemeanors to major felonies. For example, if you are convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, you might receive a $150 fine and 180-day jail sentence. You might even be sentenced to probation in lieu of a jail sentence. However, if you are charged with a fourth-degree felony, then you face an 18-month prison sentence and $5,000 fine. Your actual punishment will largely depend on your circumstances, the evidence against you, your criminal record, and your attorney’s ability to strike a deal (plea bargain) with a prosecutor.

2. How Long Will I Have To Go To Prison For A Drug Crime?

The prison sentence that you receive, if any, will depend on the specific crime that you pleaded guilty to or were convicted of. Specifically, you might receive no jail time for a low-level misdemeanor conviction. Alternatively, you might be placed behind bars for more than a decade for a major felony conviction. The good news is that your attorney will be empowered to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. Namely, a plea bargain may allow you to serve probation rather than serving jail time. Obviously, the weaker the prosecutor’s case against you, the more willing a prosecutor may be to make a deal.

3. What Are Some Defenses That Are Available To Me In My Drug Crime Case?

Depending on your circumstances, your attorney might argue that: police executed an unlawful search and seizure (e.g. Dayton police did not have the right to search your home and obtain any incriminating evidence against you); that you were not in possession of an illegal drug; that you were authorized to possess the drug; that the evidence against you was mishandled by the police; that the police violated your Miranda rights (e.g. they coerced you into confessing); or that you were entrapped. These are just a few of the major defenses that could apply to your case.

4. Can A Felony Drug Crime Be Reduced To A Misdemeanor?

While a prosecutor might initially charge you with a felony instead of a misdemeanor, there is typically room for your attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor to get the charges reduced or amended in exchange for you pleading guilty or no contest. This arrangement is known as a plea bargain. Other circumstances which might call for your crime to be downgraded include when the prosecutor faces evidence problems, and they feel as though it will be very unlikely for you to be convicted on the more serious felony crime. In fact, the more serious the crime, the bigger the burden for the prosecutor to overcome in proving that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

5. Can I Be Charged For Permitting Drug Abuse?

Under Ohio law, if you own or control an aircraft, locomotive, watercraft or other vehicle, and you knowingly permit people to use this vehicle to engage in drug abuse, then you could be charged with permitting drug abuse. This type of crime could constitute a misdemeanor or felony.

6. How Does Probation Work For A Drug Possession Charge?

If you are charged with a minor drug crime, then you have a really good chance at avoiding jail altogether or at least avoiding a lengthy jail sentence. One of the more common alternatives to a jail sentence includes probation (in Ohio, probation is referred to as community control). Namely, community control contains a number of requirements that you must fulfill to avoid having to serve the entirety of your sentence in jail.

With probation, you will have to closely follow the instructions of a probation officer. For example, a probation officer will need to know your whereabouts. You might be precluded from going anywhere besides school, work or the doctor’s office – and the probation officer will know your location at all times to the extent that you have been placed on house arrest or electronic home monitoring. They might set up regulator meetings with you that you must attend. Further, they might randomly drug test you or require that you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Remember that if you have been accused of violating probation (e.g. charged with a new crime; failed to meet with your PO), then you will typically have to come before a judge who determines whether you indeed violated probation, and if so, what the consequences will be. Violating probation is a serious matter especially given the risk that you will be sent back to jail.

7. How Can A Drug Lawyer Help Me Recover From Collateral Consequences?

Collateral consequences involve disadvantages that you experience that are separate and apart from fines, jail time or other criminal penalties. This includes loss of civil rights, loss of employment, issues with a professional designation, and possible child custody problems. If you have been convicted on a drug charge, then upon the completion of your sentence, your attorney could help you get relief from collateral consequences. They could explain your options for relief, and help you restore your rights. In some cases, your rights get restored automatically after a set period; however, some rights only get restored through a judicial process. Notably, your lawyer could help you meet the terms of your rehabilitation and help you get your criminal record sealed (hidden from public view), among other things.

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Contact A Drug Crimes Attorney in Dayton

When it comes to a drug charge, your freedom and reputation are at stake. A conviction could have earth-shattering effects on your career, finances and your ability to provide for your family. The last thing that you should do is hire an overworked public defender or an inexperienced criminal defense attorney – they might make serious mistakes that lead to your conviction, or might cause you to enter into a bad plea bargain.

You could avoid this potential disaster by hiring an experienced and highly reputable criminal defense firm. For more information from a drugs crimes attorney in Dayton contact the Joslyn Law Firm online or call (937) 356-3969 for a free case consultation. Our attorneys will do everything in our power to help you get the best result possible in your criminal case. Do not gamble on your future.

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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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