Drug Charges

The punishment for drug charges in Cincinnati, OH, and the surrounding areas of Hamilton County, varies widely. The same charge could mean prison, probation or a dismissal depending on where it happened, whether task force detectives were involved, the prosecutor's stance, and whether the judge favors treatment over retribution. Asserting an aggressive defense can also make a huge difference in getting a better result.

The good news for alleged offenders is that it despite what can initially seem like an impossible obstacle to overcome, you may be able to have the charges against you reduced or possibly even dismissed by working with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Cincinnati Drug Charges Lawyer

Joslyn Law Firm fights to defend clients accused of drug crimes all over Ohio. Brian Joslyn knows what flaws or weaknesses to look for in the prosecution’s case against alleged offenders, and he will work to exploit those shortcomings for the most favorable outcome to your case.

Our firm understands the impact that these allegations can have on your personal and professional life. Let us see how we can help by calling (513) 399-6289 to schedule a free, confidential consultation that will let our criminal defense attorneys review your case.


Cincinnati, Ohio Drug Charges Overview


Back to top

Ohio Drug Schedules

Much like the five federal schedules of controlled substances established by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Ohio Revised Code § 3719.41 also created five schedules for illegal drugs. The classification of certain controlled substances can have an impact on the nature of the charges a person faces for drug crimes. Like the CSA, Ohio’s drug schedules are ranked according to the severity of the abuse potential for controlled substances:

  • Schedule I — Controlled substances with the highest potential for abuse and no known or rarely accepted medical purpose. Includes 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or Ecstasy), substituted cathinones (“bath salts”), heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), phencyclidine (PCP), and psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”).
  • Schedule II — Controlled substances with high potential for abuse, but may have limited medical applications. Includes Adderall®, cocaine, codeine, gamma-hydroxy-butyric acid (GHB or Date Rape Drug), hydrocodone, methadone, methamphetamines, morphine, opium, oxycodone (OxyContin® or Percocet®), and oxymorphone.
  • Schedule III — Controlled substances with lower potential for abuse and may be used for medical purposes. Includes anabolic steroids, ketamine (Special K), lysergic acid, and testosterone.
  • Schedule IV — Controlled substances with lower potential for abuse and may be commonly used for medical applications. Includes alprazolam (Xanax®), batrbital, diazepam (Valium®), and zolpidem (Ambien®).
  • Schedule V — Controlled substances with least potential for abuse and may be commonly used for medical applications. Includes narcotic drugs containing not more than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams, not more than 100 milligrams of dihydrocodeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams, not more than 100 milligrams of ethylmorphine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams, not more than 2.5 milligrams of diphenoxylate and not less than 25 micrograms of atropine sulfate per dosage unit, not more than 100 milligrams of opium per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams, or not more than 0.5 milligram of difenoxin and not less than 25 micrograms of atropine sulfate per dosage unit.

Back to top

Drug Charges in Cincinnati

Drug crimes that are listed in the Ohio Revised Code include:

  • Trafficking, aggravated trafficking in drugs, Ohio Revised Code § 2925.03
    • Gift of 20 grams or less — Minor misdemeanor for first offense, third-degree misdemeanor for subsequent offense
    • Less than 200 grams — Fourth-degree felony
    • Equals or exceeds 200 grams, but less than 1,000 grams — Fourth-degree felony
    • Equals or exceeds 1,000 grams, but less than 5,000 grams — Third-degree felony
    • Equals or exceeds 5,000 grams, but less than 20,000 grams — Third-degree felony, presumption that prison term shall be imposed
    • Equals or exceeds 20,000 grams, but less than 40,000 grams — Second-degree felony, mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years
    • Equals or exceeds 40,000 grams — Second-degree felony, mandatory prison sentence of eight years
  • Illegal manufacture of drugs, Ohio Revised Code § 2925.04
    • Less than 100 grams — Minor misdemeanor
    • Equals or exceeds 100 grams, but less than 200 grams — Fourth-degree misdemeanor
    • Equals or exceeds 200 grams, but less than 1,000 grams — Fifth-degree felony
    • Equals or exceeds 1,000 grams, but less than 5,000 grams — Third-degree felony
    • Equals or exceeds 5,000 grams, but less than 20,000 grams — Third-degree felony, presumption that prison term shall be imposed
    • Equals or exceeds 20,000 grams — Second-degree felony, mandatory prison sentence of eight years
  • Possession of controlled substances, Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11
    • Less than 100 grams — Minor misdemeanor
    • Equals or exceeds 100 grams, but less than 200 grams — Fourth-degree misdemeanor
    • Equals or exceeds 200 grams, but less than 1,000 grams — Fifth-degree felony
    • Equals or exceeds 1,000 grams, but less than 5,000 grams — Third-degree felony
    • Equals or exceeds 5,000 grams, but less than 20,000 grams — Third-degree felony, presumption that prison term shall be imposed
    • Equals or exceeds 20,000 grams, but less than 40,000 grams — Second-degree felony, mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years
    • Equals or exceeds 40,000 grams — Second-degree felony, mandatory prison sentence of eight years
  • Possessing drug abuse instruments, Ohio Revised Code § 2925.12 — Second-degree misdemeanor for first offense, first-degree misdemeanor if alleged offender has previous drug abuse conviction

Back to top

Penalties for Drug Charges in Ohio

The amount of possible fines and the length of imprisonment terms depend on the classification of the crime with which a person has been charged. It is also important to remember that certain charges listed above may be enhanced if an offense took place in the vicinity of a school or a juvenile. Generally, Ohio sentencing guideline penalties are as follows:

  • Minor Misdemeanor — Maximum fine of $150
  • Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 30 days in jail and maximum fine of $250
  • Third-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 60 days in jail and maximum fine of $500
  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 90 days in jail and maximum fine of $750
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and maximum fine of $1,000
  • Fifth-Degree Felony — Up to 12 months in prison and maximum fine of $2,500
  • Fourth-Degree Felony — Up to 18 months in prison and maximum fine of $5,000
  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and maximum fine of $10,000
  • Second-Degree Felony — Up to eight years in prison and maximum fine of $15,000 fines
  • First-Degree Felony — Up to 11 years in prison and maximum fine of $20,000

Additional Resources

Justice for Drug Crimes Across Ohio Often Erratic - Article in Cincinnati.com dated May 31, 2014. The article shows while drug enforcement is not always prosecuted equally. Investigations show how the punishment often depends on whether task force detectives were aggressive and if the judge favors treatment over punishment. Statistics for drug crimes in Ohio show that the number of people who die from drug overdoses surpassed the number of drug dealers sent to prison in 2012. A review of local drug trafficking indictments from ten mid-sized Ohio counties found about 40% completed cases ended with prison sentences from 2012 and 2013. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction figures from 2013 show that Ohio’s criminal justice system sentenced 1,865 drug dealers to prison.

Cincinnati Regional Narcotics Unit (RENU) - Visit the website of the Ohio Task Force Commanders’ Association to learn more about RENU. Operated by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, the Cincinnati Regional Narcotics Unit is a task force assigned to investigate drug trafficking offenses in the Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County area. Visit the link to find news stories and press releases from the Organized Crime Division/RENU Commander. The unit targets the flow of illegal drugs and organized criminal activity into Ohio communities.


Back to top

Find the Best Drug Charges Lawyer in Cincinnati

If you have been charged with possessing, manufacturing, or any other type of controlled substance and marijuana crime, you will want to immediately seek legal representation. Joslyn Law Firm represents clients throughout the greater Cincinnati area of Hamilton County. Our Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys will aggressively pursue the best possible outcome to your case.

You can have our firm provide a complete evaluation of your case that will help you understand all of your legal options. Call (513) 399-6289 to let us begin developing a winning defense.