Illegal Conveyance

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Illegal Conveyance in Cincinnati

Ohio considers illegally conveying drugs into detention facilities and other proscribed government buildings to be a serious offense—a third-degree felony that can lead to a prison sentence, a large fine, and a conviction that will follow you for the rest of your life.

If you have been charged with illegal conveyance, you might want a criminal defense attorney from Joslyn Law Firm in your corner. Our team has more than 20 years of combined experience, and our firm’s founder, Brian Joslyn, has been named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the country by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

We know the ins and outs of criminal law in the Cincinnati area and throughout Ohio, and we work hard to protect our clients’ rights and deliver the best possible outcomes for their cases.

The Legal Representation You Deserve

When facing felony charges, you want attorneys who can fight prosecutors one day and work with them the next—whatever is needed. Joslyn Law Firm does that. Our client-centered approach to criminal defense has made us one of the most respected firms in Ohio.

Our clients come to us at the most vulnerable times of their lives, and we listen to them and work diligently to preserve their rights without any judgment. When you work with us, we want you to know that you are in good hands.

If that is the kind of lawyer you want on your side, call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289.    

Illegal Conveyance Charges Information Center

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Overview of Illegal Conveyance Charges

The offense of illegal conveyance refers to the delivery of prohibited items—including alcohol, weapons, or drugs—to prisons and certain government buildings. This is a felony, a serious crime that could lead to a large fine or a prison term. Anyone facing an illegal conveyance charge should consider seeking legal representation immediately. 

Here, we will focus on charges related to the illegal conveyance of drugs. 

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Definition of Illegal Conveyance

Ohio Revised Code § 2921.36 prohibits people from bringing or attempting to bring drugs, weapons, or alcohol into a prison, on the property of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Department of Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Youth Services, or the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Conveyance includes the following items:

  • A deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance
  • An intoxicating liquor
  • A drug of abuse

By “drug of abuse,” the law refers to any controlled substance in Ohio Revised Code § 3719.01, a harmful intoxicant under Ohio Revised Code § 2925.01, or any dangerous drug as defined in Ohio Revised Code § 4729.01.

Controlled substances refer to the federal government’s system of scheduling narcotics based on their abuse potential, the likelihood of causing dependence, and accepted medical use.

Examples include:

  • Schedule I: heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy
  • Schedule II: methadone, methamphetamine, amphetamine, opium, codeine
  • Schedule III: Tylenol with Codeine, anabolic steroids, buprenorphine
  • Schedule IV: alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Schedule V: Robitussin AC, Phenergan with Codeine, ezogabine

Harmful intoxicants are defined as, “Any compound, mixture, preparation, or substance the gas, fumes, or vapor of which when inhaled can induce” an altered mindstate.

These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Cement
  • Nail polish remover
  • Paint thinner
  • Cleaning products
  • Gasoline
  • Aerosol spray

 Finally, “any dangerous drug” means any drug that can be dispensed by prescription only or that is required by federal law to include a warning on its label reading: “Caution: Federal law prohibits dispensing without prescription,” or “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”

Also included are certain schedule V drugs not included in Ohio’s drug prohibitions, biological products, and injected drugs. 

In addition, ORC § 2921.36 makes it a crime to bring any of the aforementioned substances to someone in prison, a child in a youth services facility, a prisoner on work assignment, or anyone in the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services or the Department of Developmental Disabilities. 

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Ohio Penalties for Illegal Conveyance 

Ohio law deems the illegal conveyance of drugs a third-degree felony. According to Ohio Revised Code § 2929.14(A)(3)(b), it can carry a prison sentence of between nine and 36 months. A judge is not required to impose a prison term, and a third-degree felony does not come with the presumption of incarceration. 

In lieu of incarceration, a judge may sentence a person who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to illegal conveyance to one or more nonresidential sanctions, as detailed in Ohio Revised Code § 2929.17, or a financial sanction, as noted in Ohio Revised Code § 2929.18

The maximum fine for an illegal conveyance (or any third-degree felony) is $10,000. Possible nonresidential sanctions include: 

  • House arrest
  • Community service
  • Drug treatment
  • Drug-and-alcohol monitoring and testing
  • Probation
  • Employment requirement

In determining whether or not to impose a prison sentence, a judge takes into account a number of factors spelled out in Ohio Revised Code § 2929.12 that are designed to assess the likelihood that a person will re-offend and whether the sentence protects the public. If the offender has a prior record with previous drug trafficking convictions, for example, a prison term becomes more likely. 

It is important to note that a person charged with illegal conveyance of drugs might also be charged with additional felonies, including possession with intent to distribute narcotics. Depending on the amount and type of drugs involved in the conveyance, that charge alone could be a felony with the presumption of a prison sentence, as discussed in Ohio Revised Code § 2925.03

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Resources for Illegal Conveyance Charges

Read Ohio Revised Code § 2921.36 to learn more about the full range of illegal conveyance charges, which include bringing in drugs, alcohol, weapons, cash, and communications devices such as cellphones.

Here, you can also review a handbook given by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to inmates at the London Correctional Institution upon their arrival. Page 15 begins a discussion about policies toward illegal conveyance. A similar handbook for inmates at Pickaway Correctional Institution forbids inmates from seeking to procure drugs or weapons (see page 45) and contains protocols for visitation that are designed to prevent illegal conveyance (page 50). 

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Illegal Conveyance News in Ohio

Illegal conveyance is a major problem within Ohio’s criminal justice system. Between 2013 and 2019, at least 641 contractors were disciplined for smuggling contraband into the state’s prisons, according to the Dayton Daily News.

“It’s a tremendous problem as far as the safety of our prisons as a whole,” Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell told the paper in August 2019. “It’s an ongoing issue that the prisons deal with every single day.”

At the time, Fornshell was prosecuting a 28-year-old dental x-ray technician for illegal conveyance of drugs and a communications device, as well as drug trafficking. 

There are many similar stories:

  • Two Employees Indicted in Illegal Drug Smuggling Operation in Cuyahoga County Jail: That same month—August 2019—two corrections officers at the Cuyahoga County jail, whom the Ohio Attorney General’s Office identified as “members of a criminal enterprise,” were arrested on a litany of charges related to illegal conveyance of drugs and drug trafficking, according to a press release from the Ohio Attorney General. 
  • Woman Charged in Illegal Conveyance of Drugs Into Detention Facility: In October 2020, a 37-year-old woman was charged with illegal conveyance of drugs after she allegedly admitted to attempting to smuggle methamphetamine into the Logan County jail in a body cavity while being booked on a probation violation, according to the Bellefontaine Examiner.

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FAQs on Illegal Conveyance Charges in Ohio

The following are some facts that are good to know when you are facing an illegal conveyance charge in Ohio.

Q: If I had drugs on me when I was arrested, can I be charged with trying to smuggle drugs into jail if the cops don’t find them before I am booked?

A: Yes. Prior to 2009, this was a subject of disagreement among Ohio’s appeals court. They disagreed over whether the word “knowingly” in the illegal conveyance statute meant an offender had to purposefully try to bring drugs into jail to violate the law.

In State v. Cargile, however, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that this was not necessary. When a person being arrested possesses a drug of abuse at the time they enter the facility, they have violated the law. 

Q: If I am charged with illegal conveyance, what other charges am I likely to face?

A: At a minimum, drug possession, if you were being booked into a facility and trying to sneak a personal supply of banned substances. If you were attempting to give them to an inmate, you are likely to face possession with intent to distribute charges, which can come with more serious penalties.

Q: What are some defenses against illegal conveyance?

A: Potential defenses depend on the specifics of the case and how strong the prosecution’s evidence is. If, for instance, a person was caught red-handed trying to sneak in drugs to a jail, it might be better to try to mitigate the potential sentence than seek an exoneration.

In some cases, if the illegal conveyance was part of a broader drug-smuggling scheme, the offender’s best option may be cooperation with authorities in exchange for reduced or even dismissed charges. Alternatively, if an inmate attempted to smuggle a small quantity of drugs into a detention center to aid an addiction, we could claim that drug addiction treatment would be a better use of community resources than incarceration.  

Q: What is the highest penalty for illegal conveyance?

The maximum penalty for an illegal conveyance charge is a prison sentence of five years. This penalty is for a third-degree felony.

You would most likely receive a third-degree felony if you illegally conveyed weapons or drugs into a correctional facility or other prohibited building. 

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Illegal Conveyance in Cincinnati 

A conviction for illegal conveyance of a drug of abuse could follow you for the rest of your life, impacting your ability to get a job, to own a gun, and even to vote. It could also mean spending time bars or a large fine. 

If you are facing illegal conveyance charges, contact Joslyn Law Firm as soon as possible. Our team of criminal defense lawyers will assess your case, help you evaluate your options, and fight to protect your rights and your freedom. 

Do not wait. Contact our offices today at (513) 399-6289.

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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 excellence.
  • 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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