Penalties for Drug Charges in Ohio

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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Penalties for Drug Charges in Ohio

If you face penalties for drug charges in Ohio, consult a criminal defense lawyer from our firm. Joslyn Law Firm is dedicated to protecting your rights and fighting for your freedom. Our attorneys can negotiate and litigate on your behalf to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. You could walk away from a drug charge without permanent damage to your personal and professional reputation.

A drug charge can forever change your life. While there are different classifications (called schedules) of drugs, any drug conviction could result in incarceration, fines, driver’s license suspension, and even a limit on your future educational, professional, and residential opportunities.

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Lawyer for Drug Charge Penalties in Ohio

Joslyn Law Firm can build a case and attempt to help you avoid serving time and other consequences. We have handled 20,000 cases with a list of drug case legal victories, including:

  • Charges dismissed for felony drug possession in Madison County.
  • Plea to a lesser offense and probation with no time served for marijuana trafficking charges.
  • Verdict of not guilty on felony drug trafficking charges with a potential prison sentence of 11 years.

Brian Joslyn, our firm’s founder, has been nationally recognized with honors and awards as a top criminal defense lawyer. Our lawyers will aggressively protect your rights with a customized defense strategy.

Please do not take chances with your life and liberty. Call Joslyn Law Firm today for a free consultation: (937) 356-3969.

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Penalties for Drug Charges in Ohio Information Center

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Ohio Drug Possession Laws

Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11 explains Ohio’s drug possession laws. The state classifies controlled substances into five “schedules” that range from the most serious to least serious. (The state uses Roman numerals to number these drug schedules).

Schedule I and II drugs have a high potential for abuse, limited medical use, and therefore, carry the most severe penalties. All controlled substances have the potential for severe penalties if they are in what the state considers “bulk amount.”

Ohio uses the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) guidelines with the following schedules of controlled substances:

Schedule Examples Accepted medical use Potential for abuse
Schedule I LSD, heroin, peyote, methaqualone, and marijuana* None* Significant potential for addiction
Schedule II cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), and fentanyl Limited accepted medical use High potential for abuse and addiction
Schedule III Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone Some accepted medical use Moderate risk for addiction and abuse
Schedule IV Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, and Valium Accepted medical use with a prescription Low-to- moderate risk for dependence
Schedule V Robitussin AC, Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, and Parepectolin Accepted medical use for prescription and over the counter Low risk for abuse or addiction


*Ohio permits individuals with proper authorization to buy and consume marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the policies of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.


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Arrested on Drug Charges? A Lawyer from Our Firm Can Help with Your Defense

Too often, police officers try to make an individual feel like they are having a conversation when it is an interrogation. Your best defense begins by using your right to remain silent and request that your attorney be present at all phases of your case.

It is intimidating to go through the dehumanizing process of an arrest, mug shot, and spending time in jail. A drug crimes lawyer from our team can prevent you from inadvertently jeopardizing your case.


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Sentences for Drug Crimes in Ohio

The type of drug that you allegedly possess will determine your drug crime sentence. A criminal defense lawyer from our firm helps you understand the nature and severity of the charges against you and creates a defense based on these factors.

Ohio Revised Code § 2929.14 determines jail or prison terms, fines, and other penalties.

In general, the following considerations will affect the penalties for drug charges in Ohio:

  • What type of drug: Sentences relate to the schedule of drugs, with Schedule I and Schedule II drugs carrying the harshest penalty.
  • What amount of drug: Quantity makes a difference when you face drug charges (carrying a single joint versus possessing a kilo).
  • What was your location: You could face aggravated charges if you were arrested within 100 feet of a school, public park, or other designated drug-free zone.
  • What were you doing: Drug charges that include an intent to sell or distribute have higher consequences than possession alone.

Ohio law uses the drug schedule classification and a “bulk amounts” formula to determine a specific charge and penalty. Bulk amounts vary depending on the drug. For example, marijuana is measured in weight, while the number of tablets measures OxyContin.

Felony Versus Misdemeanor and Possession Versus Aggravated Possession

Penalties for drug charges in Ohio are felonies or misdemeanors. There are five degrees of felonies, with a first-degree felony carrying the harshest sentences. There are four degrees for misdemeanor charges, and these also range in severity from one to four. Felony and misdemeanor charges are typically written as F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, etc.

Under Ohio law, you could be charged with drug possession if you had Schedule III, IV, or V drugs. If you have Schedule I or II drugs (with certain exceptions described below), you would be charged with aggravated possession of drugs. Aggravated charges carry harsher penalties.

Special Sentences for Heroin, LSD, Cocaine, and Marijuana

Heroin, LSD, cocaine, and marijuana (except for those in the state’s medical marijuana program) carry special sentences.

Drug Amount Charge Maximum Sentence
Heroin One gram or less F-5 12 months prison; $2,500 fine
One to four grams F-4 18 months prison; $5,000 fine
Five to nine grams F-3 Five years prison; $10,000 fine
Ten to 50 grams F-2 Eight years prison; $15,000 fine
Over 50 grams F-1 11 years prison; $20,000 fine
LSD One gram or less F-5 12 months prison; $2,500 fine
One to four grams F-4 18 months prison; $5,000 fine
Five to 24 grams F-3 Five years prison; $10,000 fine
25 to 99 grams F-2 Eight years prison; $15,000 fine
100 grams or more F-1 11 years prison; $20,000 fine
Cocaine (powder and crack) One to four grams F-5 12 months prison; $2,500 fine
Five to nine grams F-4 18 months prison; $5,000 fine
Ten to 19 grams F-3 Five years prison; $10,000 fine
20 to 26 grams F-2 Eight years prison; $15,000 fine
27 grams or more F-1 11 years prison; $20,000 fine
Marijuana Less than 100 grams MM (Minor Misdemeanor) $150 fine
100 to 199 grams M-4 30 days in jail; $250 fine
200 grams but less than one kilo F-5 12 months prison; $2,500 fine
One to four kilos F-3 Five years prison; $10,000 fine
Five to 19 kilos F-3 Five years prison; $10,000 fine
20 kilos or more F-2 Eight years prison; $15,000 fine


Sentencing Guidelines for Other Schedule I and II Drugs; Schedule III, IV, and V Drugs

Penalties for possession of controlled substances other than heroin, cocaine, LSD, and marijuana will depend on whether you had more or less than the defined bulk amount.

There are other contributing factors, such as:

  • Selling drugs in a designated drug-free zone (like a school)
  • If juveniles are involved
  • If you were committing another crime while possessing or trafficking illegal substances


Schedule Amount Penalty
Schedule I or II Less than the bulk amount F-5
Bulk amount or more, but less than five times the bulk amount F-3
Five times the bulk amount or more, but less than 50 times the bulk amount F-2
50 times the bulk amount or more, but less than 100 times bulk amount F-1
Schedule III, IV, or V Less than the bulk amount M-1 (maximum sentence is 180 days in jail: $1,000 fine)
Bulk amount or more, but less than five times the bulk amount F-4
Five times the bulk amount, but less than 50 times bulk amount F-3
50 times the bulk amount F-2


Penalties for Drug Crimes Last for Years or Your Entire Life

Penalties for drug crimes in Ohio may extend beyond a prison sentence or probationary period. If you are convicted of a drug crime, you could experience one or more of these restrictions to your liberty and personal freedom:

  • Permanent criminal record
  • Loss of voting rights
  • Inability to run for elected office
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Loss of gun ownership rights
  • Custody restrictions of minor children
  • Inability to serve your country in the military
  • Financial problems because you cannot qualify for specific jobs
  • Possible deportation depending on your legal status

A criminal defense lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm fights to protect your rights, life, and liberty.

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Defenses for Drug Crimes in Ohio

Our firm’s founder, award-winning attorney Brian Joslyn, knows from personal experience the importance of a strong defense. As a teen, Brian was unfairly and wrongly entangled in the criminal justice system.

Since then, Brian has become a staunch advocate for individuals facing arrests or criminal charges. Your attorney is your legal advocate and confidant. Everything you discuss is considered privileged information. A criminal defense lawyer with our firm is here to help you throughout this process.

Possible Defenses for a Drug Crime

There are several defenses to a drug charge, including:

  • You did not know that you possessed a controlled substance. For example, you borrowed a friend’s car without knowing there were drugs in the trunk.
  • You have a doctor’s prescription for a controlled substance.
  • Your arrest was the result of an illegal search and seizure.
  • You are a human trafficking victim forced into selling drugs.

Sometimes you find yourself in circumstances beyond your control. You cannot change the past, but we can help you prevent future losses. A lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm who understands drug charges can be a powerful ally.

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Resources for Drug Crimes in Ohio

Drug addiction is often a reason for drug crimes. Joslyn Law Firm can connect you with resources to help you or a loved one who has an addiction. Our legal team is committed to helping you with the best representation possible combined with a genuine desire to help those in need.

The following is a list of resources that you may find helpful throughout your drug arrest and sentencing. They include addiction support services, drug rehabilitation centers, and social services.

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Ohio Drug Crimes in the News

A criminal defense lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm will attempt to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of a future case, our law firm has successfully defended many Ohioans arrested on drug crime charges.

Drugs arrests are often in the news, such as:

Franklin County Corrections Officer Arrested on Drug Charges

Lonnie Maxson, 32, was arrested after allegedly attempting to receive two prescriptions for the same pain reliever.

According to NBC4i, Maxson tried to obtain a prescription for hydrocodone-acetaminophen while he already had an open prescription for the same drug.

Troopers Seize $60,000 Worth of Fentanyl Pills During Madison County Traffic Stop

Ohio State Troopers stopped Jason Butler, 27, for speeding but realized criminal indicators when a police dog alerted them to the vehicle. Inside the center console, they found $60,000 worth of fentanyl, prompting the troopers to arrest Butler for possession of drugs, a first-degree felony.

If Butler is convicted, he could face 11 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine, according to FOX28.

Columbus Man Pleads Guilty to Methamphetamine Conspiracy

Rashawn Akmed Miller, 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as part of a busted polydrug network operation. Miller now faces up to 40 years in prison if he’s convicted. His sentencing is scheduled to take place on July 27, 2021.

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Ohio Drug Crime Penalties FAQs

Q. How Much Marijuana Is Considered a Felony?

  1. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11, individuals caught with small amounts of marijuana usually face misdemeanor charges. However, you could be charged with a felony if you have more than 200 grams of marijuana in your possession.

Q. Will I Do Time for a Fifth-Degree Felony Drug Charge?

  1. The maximum penalties for a fifth-degree (F-5) felony drug charge include up to one year in prison, $2,500 fine, and mandatory probation (community control). You could also be labeled as a felon on your permanent record, which could cost you the right to vote, bear arms, and run for office.

Q. What Should I Do if I Am Arrested on Drug Charges?

  1. Our legal team recommends that you do not resist arrest and calmly refuse to answer any police questions without an attorney present to represent you.

Q. Could I Be Sentenced to Drug Rehab Instead of Jail?

  1. Depending on the nature of your charges and any personal history of drug abuse or addiction, the court may sentence you to mandatory drug rehabilitation rather than a jail sentence.

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Ohio Drug Charge Penalties Lawyer

It is frightening to become entangled in our criminal justice system. It is your right to consult a lawyer and hire that person as your legal advocate.

Penalties for drug charges in Ohio are among the toughest in the nation. A criminal defense lawyer with Joslyn Law Firm will fight strenuously for the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.

We Create Reasonable Doubt in the Prosecution’s Case

The Constitution guarantees you the right to ask for a trial by jury. You also are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. Both rights are powerful elements in a strong defense.

It is up to the state to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Our award-winning legal team understands what it takes to create this reasonable doubt if your case goes to trial.

We Will Attempt to Reach a Plea Bargain on Your Behalf

A lawyer with Joslyn Law Firm could reach a plea bargain where you avoid serving time or paying a fine.

There are a few contributing factors that can affect the success of a plea bargain:

  • Nature of the charges against you
  • Class of controlled substance
  • Previous drug or other criminal charges

Your life can change in a second when you face drug charges. Use all the available resources to avoid spending time in jail (or prison), paying thousands of dollars in fines, and potentially sacrificing your reputation and career.

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Get a Free Consultation Now

If you or a loved one was arrested or charged with a drug crime, it is important to build a defense as soon as possible. Call Joslyn Law Firm at (937) 356-3969 for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Ohio with a team of lawyers and investigators who are determined to deliver the best outcome for your case.

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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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