According to Section 2925.11, it is against the law for a person to knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance. Cocaine is a controlled substance. A person found to be in possession of cocaine is guilty of a felony. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly possessed and intended to possess cocaine on their person or property for jurors to find them guilty.
Ohio Cocaine Possession Attorney
Ohio law enforcement takes any cocaine possession charge as a serious matter. If you are charged with possessing powder or crack cocaine in Dayton, do not assume that you have no options. You have a right to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side at all times. Thankfully, Joslyn Law Firm has extensive knowledge of Ohio drug laws and can fight tirelessly on your behalf.
Call (937) 356-3969 to schedule a free consultation today. Joslyn Law Firm serves clients in the areas of Dayton, OH including Kettering, Huber Heights, Troy, Piqua, Beavercreek, Springfield, and Fairborn.
Cocaine Possession Penalties
The amount of cocaine the police find in the suspect’s possession determines the potential penalties the suspect will face.
- Less than five grams is a 5th-degree felony, punishable by six to twelve months in prison
- Five to ten grams is a 4th-degree felony, punishable by six to eighteen months in prison
- Ten to twenty grams is a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by nine months to three years in prison
- Twenty to twenty-seven grams is a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by mandatory two to eight years in prison
- Twenty-eight to ninety-nine grams is a 1st-degree felony, punishable by mandatory three to eleven years in prison
- One hundred or more grams is a major felony, punishable by a mandatory eleven years in prison
Cocaine Possession Defenses
Whenever the accused seeks an acquittal or dismissed case, they must target the elements of the crime. Elements are portions of a criminal statute that prosecutors must prove for a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty.
Lack Of Knowledge
Illegal possession of a controlled substance calls for the knowing possession of such substance. Thus, it is critical to the case whether the defendant knew they had possession of an illegal substance.
A suspect can be unaware of what’s on their person. The suspect may have taken a bag, backpack, or purse from someone without knowing what was inside. The suspect may have been asked to drop off a bag at another person’s house, all the while being unaware of what was in the bag. Possibly, the suspect could’ve borrowed a pair of jeans from someone and had no knowledge of cocaine baggies inside the pant pockets. Thus, the defendant may argue that they lacked the requisite knowledge to be found guilty.
There are many reasons why an otherwise innocent person remained unaware that they had a controlled substance. Therefore, this is a viable defense that may prevent a conviction.
Fourth Amendment Violation
The U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantees all United States citizens a right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures of their property unless law enforcement has a warrant or probable cause. This right protects an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Officers need reasonable suspicion or probable cause before disrupting a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Specifically, the police need reasonable suspicion that an individual has, is, or will commit a crime before temporarily detaining them, such as when conducting a stop and frisk search. However, the law requires officers to meet the higher threshold of probable cause before making an arrest and obtaining a warrant.
Officers have reasonable suspicion when they have more than a hunch that a crime is going down. They must point to articulable facts from their observations that justify their suspicion. Officers have probable cause when a reasonable person similarly situated to the officer would also believe a crime is afoot based on the totality of the circumstances.
Likewise, officers need reasonable suspicion that the suspect is armed and dangerous before conducting a pat-down. The agent may not manipulate the suspect’s clothing during this pat-down, such as squeezing and fingering the person’s pockets or bra. Neither may the agent pat down more than the suspect’s outer clothing. Most of all, the police may only frisk the suspect for a weapon—not drugs. Thus, if the officer only believed the suspect had cocaine and carried out a stop and frisk for this reason, the court is likely to suppress the evidence.
When the threshold to invade a person’s privacy has not been passed, the court must suppress any evidence the police obtained unless an exception applies.
Exceptions To Warrantless Searches
There are circumstances where officers don’t need a warrant. These circumstances are called exigent circumstances. They include:
- Hot pursuit
- Prevention of evidence destruction
- Imminent escape
- Emergency aid
- Routine border patrol or traffic stop
- Consent to a warrantless search
- Plain view
Broken Chain Of Custody
Before prosecutors can exhibit evidence in court against the defendant, they must prove there was an unbroken chain of custody. “Chain of custody” refers to the traceable path all items that are seized must travel through before a judge accepts them into court. Many people may encounter controlled substances, from forensic scientists to police chiefs and others. If the evidence—in this case, the cocaine—is momentarily lost, mislabeled, or contaminated, the chain of custody is broken. Thus, a judge will likely dismiss the case.
Legitimate Medical Purpose
If the defendant is in possession of cocaine, there is a possibility they have other illicit substances. However, certain people may possess controlled substances lawfully. Pharmacy personnel and licensed healthcare professionals may possess and prescribe some controlled substances for medical purposes. Although this is not a defense to cocaine possession in Dayton, Ohio, it may serve as a defense to possession of other narcotics.
Ohio Cocaine Laws – This commercial website provides information regarding Ohio’s cocaine possession laws and penalties.
Ethan Crossing Addiction Treatment – This Ohio website provides substance use treatment services for drug addiction.
Ohio Cocaine Possession Lawyer | Joslyn Law Firm
If you have been charged with possession of cocaine in Dayton, you should act quickly to retain skilled legal counsel immediately. Cocaine charges are serious felonies in state or federal court, and they should not be taken lightly. Joslyn Law Firm can utilize aggressive and effective defense strategies to reduce if not dismiss all of your charges.
Joslyn Law Firm accepts drug cases throughout areas of Montgomery County, Miami County, Clark County, and Greene County, Ohio. Call (937) 356-3969 to schedule a free consultation today.