Major Drug Offender Charges in Cincinnati
At Joslyn Law Firm, our team of major drug offender charges lawyers handles all kinds of drug cases, from simple possession to allegations of trafficking, and we know what to expect from prosecutors and the court system.
We approach all of our clients with compassion and respect, and we strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for their cases. If that means going to trial and seeking an acquittal, we will do that. If it is a matter of working with prosecutors to try to reduce charges or avoid prison time, we will do that, too.
No matter what your case demands, the attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm are ready. Our team of lawyers has successfully had criminal charges reduced or dismissed, and we are ready to fight for you.
Joslyn Law Firm has successfully handled 20,000 cases, and we’ve been recognized nationally for our lawyers’ accomplishments. Some of our awards include:
- Top 10 attorneys in criminal law from the American Institute of Legal Counsel
- Nominated Top 100 trial lawyers in America by The National Trial Lawyers
- Brian Joslyn named 2017 Rising Star by Super Lawyers
We have what it takes to help you with your case, so call us today.
Major Drug Offender Charges Lawyer in Cincinnati
If you have been charged with major drug offenses, you may be looking at many years in prison or expensive fines, depending on the charges. Ohio’s minimum sentencing for specific drug offenses can be daunting for anyone.
The team at Joslyn Law Firm is prepared to take on your case and construct a defense on your behalf, so you do not have to fight for your rights alone. Our lawyers have handled thousands of criminal cases and won, including those that involve major drug crimes. Our award-winning firm is dedicated to offering our clients respect while working on the case diligently.
Prison sentences have consequences that can be felt well beyond someone’s time in prison. Major drug offenses can hurt your ability to find or keep a job, and your family and social life can suffer as a result of these charges.
Brian Joslyn, the owner of Joslyn Law Firm, knows how much your life can change if you’re convicted of a crime because it almost happened to him. Joslyn fights for those accused of crimes because he was wrongly accused himself and was a victim of police brutality. He was acquitted of the charges against him and went on to defend people against criminal charges. We want to put our experience to work for you.
Joslyn Law Firm understands everything that is at stake for you, and our team can provide legal support in these difficult times. Our team is ready to use their knowledge of Ohio criminal drug laws to defend you. You do not have to deal with this alone or hire a lawyer that does not treat you with compassion and respect. Call our offices today at (513) 399-6289 and let Joslyn Law Firm begin working to protect your rights.
Major Drug Offender Charges in Cincinnati Information Center
Below is a table of contents that will allow you to navigate the available information:
- Major Drug Offender Charges Overview
- Definition of Major Drug Offender in Ohio
- Penalties for Major Drug Offenders in Ohio
- Defenses to Major Drug Offender Charges
- Resources for Major Drug Offender Charges
- Major Drug Offender News in Ohio
- FAQs on Major Drug Offender Charges in Ohio
- Help with Major Drug Offender Charges in Cincinnati
Major Drug Offender Charges Overview
In 2016, Ohio ranked second in the country in age-adjusted drug-overdose deaths and third in overdose deaths associated with heroin and fentanyl, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report. The state also has high usage rates of cocaine and methamphetamine. In light of this epidemic, it is perhaps no wonder that Ohio has stiff penalties for those convicted of selling narcotics.
The state’s laws take a particularly severe approach toward those considered major drug offenders or individuals who possess or traffic large quantities of schedule I and schedule II controlled substances. If convicted, major drug offenders face lengthy mandatory prison sentences. A possession of a controlled substance lawyer or a drug trafficking lawyer can help you with your case.
Definition of Major Drug Offender in Ohio
Ohio Revised Code § 2929.01 defines a major drug offender as someone who pleads guilty to or is convicted of possessing, selling, or offering to sell any drug or product that contains at least 1,000 grams of hashish, 100 grams of cocaine, 100 grams of heroin, or 500 grams of liquid LSD.
This also applies to at least 50 grams of any substances comparable to and created to mimic a prohibited narcotic, 100 grams of a compound including fentanyl as an ingredient, or 100 times the amount of a schedule I or II controlled substance, aside from marijuana.
Schedule I and II controlled substances are drugs the DEA Diversion Control Division deems prone to abuse. Ecstasy is a schedule I drug not specified in the statute; methadone, methamphetamine, amphetamine, opium, and codeine are examples of schedule II drugs.
In other words, major drug offenders are not run-of-the-mill neighborhood drug dealers. These are individuals Ohio considers to be narcotics traffickers responsible for moving substantial amounts of drugs around the state.
Penalties for Major Drug Offenders in Ohio
ORC § 2925.11 and ORC § 2925.03 lay out how major drug offenders should be prosecuted in Ohio. They say that those who possess, seek to obtain, sell, or offer to sell an amount of schedule I or II controlled substance or controlled substance analog that equals or exceeds 100 times the bulk amount—bulk amounts for different types of drugs are specified in ORC § 2925.01—are guilty of a first-degree felony and face a mandatory maximum first-degree felony prison term.
The same charge and mandatory sentence apply to those who possess or sell:
- 100 or more grams of cocaine;
- 500 or more grams of LDS in a liquid form or 5,000 or more unit doses of LSD;
- 1,000 or more unit doses or 100 or more grams of a substance or compound containing heroin;
- 50 or more grams of a controlled substance analog;
- 1,000 or more unit doses or 100 or more grams of a fentanyl-related compound.
In addition, ORC § 2925.05 says that any person who funds the acquisition of 10 unit doses or one gram of a fentanyl-related compound is also considered a major drug offender and likewise faces a mandatory first-degree felony prison term. Under ORC § 2929.14, major drug offenders convicted for fentanyl-related offenses face sentence enhancements of three to eight years.
In 2019, Ohio passed the Reagan Tokes Law, which creates “indefinite sentencing” for individuals convicted of first- and second-degree felonies. Under Reagan Tokes, an offender’s “minimum” prison sentence is the range provided in state statutes—for first-degree felonies, three to 11 years. A judge may also impose a “maximum” term that tacks on an additional 50% of the minimum term. If, for example, a person was sentenced to a 10-year minimum term, the maximum term would add five years.
At the end of the 10 years, the prisoner would have the presumption of release. But the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections can rebut that presumption and impose additional time.
Defenses to Major Drug Offender Charges
Depending on the circumstances of your case and how law enforcement allegedly discovered the drugs, there are a number of defenses we can raise. You are protected from an unlawful search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
If the police did not have probable cause or obtain necessary warrants before a search that led to the drugs—especially if that search was of your home—it may be possible to get the results of the search excluded as evidence, which might lead to the charges being dropped. If the police lied to search your car—perhaps by saying narcotics were in plain sight when they were not—there might be another avenue to explore.
In addition, law enforcement is not permitted to entrap you to break the law. If an undercover agent induced a narcotics sale, you may be able to win an acquittal on this ground. However, you would have to prove the officer crossed a line in terms of what they are and are not allowed to do. We might also be able to argue that the drugs were not yours or you did not know the drugs existed; this sort of situation can occur when people are renting a house or when you delivered a package for someone else. You can find some examples of cases where the entrapment defense was used in the Office of the Ohio Public Defender (OPD) Criminal Law Casebook.
Finally, if the prosecution is seeking a fentanyl sentencing enhancement, they must show that you knew a compound that contained fentanyl and another drug had fentanyl in it. If they cannot prove that, you can be charged for possessing or trafficking the other drug.
Resources for Major Drug Offender Charges
There are a number of resources available for those who have been accused of a drug crime in Cincinnati or who are interested in this subject.
- Bureau of Justice Assistance: An office of the Department of Justice that provides grants and assistance to local governments to aid in drug-crime reduction efforts.
- Quick Facts on Drug Trafficking Offenses: A guide from the U.S. Sentencing Commission on drug trafficking charges in the United States.
- Hamilton County Drug Court: Started in 1995, the drug court seeks to help those charged with low-level drug offenses who want to participate in treatment.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: A federal agency that researches and publishes findings on drug use.
- Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission Drug Offense Quick Reference Guide
- Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Criminal Justice Services: Ohio Criminal Justice Statistics
- Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services: Resources to combat drug addiction, family support groups, and more here.
- State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy: You can find a Controlled Substance Reference Table to find what schedule each drug is labeled as in Ohio.
Major Drug Offender News in Ohio
In the summer of 2020, the state Senate passed S.B. 3, a reform measure that would reclassify minor felony drug offenses as misdemeanors and while creating a felony for possession with intent to distribute, according to an article entitled, “Ohio Senate Approves Bill That Would Downgrade Most Drug Possession Felonies to Misdemeanors.” It would not alter the penalties for major drug offenders.
Given the prevalence of Ohio’s drug epidemic, it is not difficult to locate news stories about major drug offenders. Here are a couple of examples:
“Man on Trial in Mahoning County Disappears After Cigarette Break:” In October 2020, a Youngstown man named Rufus Barnett was convicted on a first-degree felony charge of drug possession with a major drug offender specification after police found 870 grams of fentanyl. Barnett was acquitted of drug trafficking—though he was not in the courtroom for a verdict, as he went outside for a cigarette while jurors were deliberating and never returned.
“Grand Jury Indicts for Shooting, Overdose Death:” In June 2020, a task force executed three search warrants in Marietta that led to seven arrests on drug trafficking charges, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Five of those arrested were later charged as major drug offenders.
“Major Drug Offender Ordered to Give Up Thousands of Dollars and Handed 24 Years in Prison:” In January 2020, a Lima man pleaded guilty to five counts of cocaine trafficking and two counts of cocaine possession; two of those charges came with major drug offender specifications. He received a prison sentence of 24 years and was ordered to forfeit $50,000 to a law enforcement task force and pay more than $11,000 in restitution.
FAQs on Major Drug Offender Charges in Ohio
The following questions may help you understand your case better.
Q: How can I defend myself against major drug offender charges?
A: You or a lawyer may have one or multiple defenses to use against these types of charges. If an officer tried to entrap you, you have grounds to dismiss or reduce charges, but this can be tricky to prove. A lack of warrants or probable cause can also impact the charges brought against you.
Other possible defenses include saying the drugs did not belong to you or you did not know that the drugs contained certain substances. Our team can help build a defense based on the circumstances of your case.
Q: If the police ask if they can search my house for drugs, how should I respond?
A: Unless the police have a search warrant, do not allow them entry and call your defense attorney immediately. According to the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, your rights protect you from unwarranted search and seizure. You have an expectation of privacy in your home. Even if you believe a search will clear you of alleged wrongdoing, it is important to make the police go through the proper procedures.
Q: If I am arrested and the police say they are going to charge me as a major drug offender, what should I do?
A: Inform the police that you wish to speak to your lawyer, then assert your right to remain silent. No matter what, divulge nothing beyond your name, address, and date of birth—and then only if they ask.
Q: If I am charged as a major drug offender, is it possible to go to rehab instead of prison?
A: Not unless the major drug offender specification is removed, and the charges are reduced. People are charged as major drug offenders if they possess large quantities of drugs—more than one might have for personal use. Therefore, authorities see you not as an addict who needs treatment but as a criminal profiting from others’ addictions. That is why those charged as major drug offenders face mandatory prison sentences.
Q: Can I challenge the charges based on the quantities of the drugs the police say I had?
A: Yes. Prosecutors must be able to prove that you had the quantities required to specify you as a major drug offender. If there is evidence to suggest that police have inflated this number, we may be able to use that to get the charges reduced or the case dismissed.
Help With Major Drug Offender Charges in Cincinnati
Being charged as a major drug offender in Ohio can have life-changing implications, and a criminal defense lawyer familiar with Ohio drug laws can help. At Joslyn Law Firm, we have handled more than 20,000 criminal cases, and we know how to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Do not delay. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can begin protecting your rights and developing your defense. Contact our offices today at (513) 399-6289.