Prescription Drug Charges

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Prescription Drug Charges in Cincinnati

Joslyn Law Firm has a long track record of handling defense cases for our clients. We are nationally and locally recognized as one of Ohio’s top defense law firms. With more than 15,000 cases under our management—past and present—we are confident we can effectively assist you in building your defense for your prescription drug charges. Our team of drug crimes lawyers can work to have the charges against you dismissed, dropped, or reduced.

Holding the Gold for the Client’s Champion and labeled the Best Criminal Defense in Columbus by Expertise in 2020, we are ready to extend our award-winning defense to those in Cincinnati.

If you are looking for a team that you can call family, one that will dedicate themselves to upholding your rights while making sure you are treated fairly without judgment, we want to hear from you. We offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose.

Cincinnati Prescription Drug Charges Lawyer

Joslyn Law Firm’s lawyers specialize in criminal defense on state and federal levels. Furthermore, with the Ohio NARCO Law Enforcement Association implementing statewide drug task forces to help combat the opioid crisis crippling the state, defending prescription drug cases continues to become ever more complex, requiring preparation to protect your rights. Multiple factors determine your case’s outcome. However, the most significant factor is who you choose to support you in defending your prescription drug case.

If you face prescription drug possession charges, call (513) 399-6289 today so that our compassionate and dedicated team of attorneys can start building your defense now, increasing your chances of reducing or eliminating the charges that you face.

Prescription Drug Charges Information Center

  1. Ohio Prescription Drug Laws
  2. Common Types of Prescription Drugs
  3. Penalties for Prescription Drug Charges
  4. Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act
  5. Defenses to Prescription Drug Charges
  6. Resources for Prescription Drug Charges
  7. Prescription Drug Charge News in Ohio
  8. FAQs on Prescription Drug Charges in Ohio
  9. Prescription Drug Charge Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati

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Ohio Prescription Drug Laws

Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11 states that “No person shall knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance…” The exception to this is for those who are licensed to prescribe and dispense these medications and for those who obtain a prescription drug from a licensed healthcare professional who is legally authorized to prescribe these controlled substances.

Ohio follows the drug schedules set forth in the Federal Controlled Substance Act, which labels most prescription drugs a Schedule III, IV, or V. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorizes controlled substances based on their medical properties and addiction rate. Schedules I and II are more dangerous controlled substances carrying no medical approval and higher abuse rates. Schedule V drugs offer medicinal uses and are less likely to create dependency.

Trafficking of Prescription Drugs

According to Ohio Revised Code § 2925.03, anything over the bulk amount may be classified as trafficking, and at minimum, is a fifth-degree felony. If trafficking took place near a school or with minors present, it graduates to the minimum of a fourth-degree felony. All other trafficking charges follow the felony penalties for possession.

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Common Types of Prescription Drugs

Certain types of prescription drugs are more commonly found in Ohio courtrooms, such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, which are benzodiazepines. With the ever-growing opioid crisis, the most common prescription drug charges are for OxyContin, Percocet, Lortab, Vicodin, and Dilaudid, among other opiate-based medications.

Prescription drugs are more often illegally possessed or trafficked when they create dependency or addiction. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the following are some of the most commonly abused types of prescription drugs:


Barbiturates Benzodiazepines Opioids Stimulants
●      Nembutal

●      Amytal

●      Phenobarbital

●      Seconal

●      Klonopin

●      Ativan

●      Valium

●      Xanax

●      Librium

●      Robitussin A-C

●      Tylenol III

●      Roxanol

●      OxyContin

●      Percocet

●      Vicodin

●      Lortab

●      Dilaudid

●      Demerol



●      Dexedrine

●      Adderall

●      Ritalin


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Penalties for Prescription Drug Charges

It is possible for offenders to lose their driver’s license or any professional licenses if charged with a prescription drug offense. If charged, an offender may also lose the privilege of obtaining any professional licenses in the future.

Ohio follows the DEA’s scheduling for prescription drugs, and the penalties for possessing a controlled substance labeled as a Schedule III, IV, and V in Ohio are as follows.

Schedule III, IV, and V Drug Possession Penalties

Felony in the Second Degree

●      50x the bulk amount or more

●      Minimum 2 years in prison up to 8 years

●      Maximum fines of $15,000

Felony in the Third Degree

●      Equal to or greater than 5x the bulk amount, but not greater than 50x

●      Minimum 9 months in jail up to 5 years in prison

●      Maximum fines of $10,000

Felony in the Fourth Degree

●      Equal to or greater than the bulk amount, but less than 5x

●      Minimum 6 months in jail up to 18 months in prison

●      Maximum fines of $5,000

Felony in the Fifth Degree

●      Multiple Misdemeanors

●      Minimum of 6 months in jail up to a year

●      Maximum fines of $2,500

Misdemeanor in the First Degree

●      Less than the bulk amount

●      Maximum of 180 days in jail

●      Maximum fine of $1,000

Ohio Diversion Program

This process diverts a defendant from conventional prosecution and gives them certain conditions to follow to get their criminal charges dismissed. This outcome would highly depend on the strength of your defense, your history, and the factors of your case.

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Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act

The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, signed into law in October 2017, aims to reduce deadly synthetic drugs, like fentanyl, from entering the country. The U.S. Postal Service now uses advanced electronic data collection and inspects packages before they can enter the country, strongly focusing on those coming from China and India. By making it harder for these substances to enter our postal system, the hope is that the price of fentanyl will rise and reduce law enforcement’s risk of contact and those at risk of overdosing on the potent drug.

Implementing the STOP Act allows the United States to put a stronger hold on international drug trafficking. However, in a post from the office of Ohio Senator Rob Portman, the STOP Act is just one section of much larger legislation geared toward decommissioning the full spectrum of the opioid crisis in Ohio and the U.S. The legislation also increases access to treatment for those suffering from addiction by omitting unrestrained caps on Medicaid that have previously created a roadblock for Ohioans who need and want help.

They also found room in the legislation for youth addiction and babies born with drug dependencies, which is commonly known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Additionally, they are finding new ways to train physicians and psychologists on how to better deal with those with addiction while opening reform for previously underfunded drug prevention programs.

Let Joslyn Law Firm Be an Advocate for Your Rehabilitation

Joslyn Law Firm believes in a just defense. We also believe that people should get the help they need at any capacity so that they can live a healthy, vibrant life. The STOP Act gives us the ability to more effectively advocate for our clients who need help rather than incarceration.

If you are struggling with addiction and are facing prescription drug charges, we are here to assist you through the process of getting the help you need. Contact us for a free case evaluation today. Let us guide you through successfully building your defense so that you can get the healing you deserve.

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Defenses to Prescription Drug Charges

Ohio laws can be less than forgiving when you are charged with possession or trafficking of prescription drugs. When you contact us, we can navigate the facts of your case to find the best route for defense. Here are some directions we can take to help you get your charges lowered and possibly dismissed.

Violation of the Fourth Amendment

The fourth amendment was put into law to protect the public from unlawful search and seizure of government officials. There should not be a search without probable cause. There cannot be a warrant without probable cause. If the prescription drugs are in “plain view” on the spot, then this classifies as probable cause.

If the substances are in the trunk, and you are pulled over for a broken tail light, and the officer decides to illegally search your car without your consent and finds them there, then this evidence will most likely not hold up in the courts since the evidence was obtained unlawfully. This action is also known as the exclusionary rule (Legal Information Institute).

There are other ways that law enforcement can violate your Fourth Amendment rights:

  • Illegal K-9 searches without probable cause
  • Illegal surveillance without a warrant
  • Illegal stops without probable cause

Building a strong defense is key to your case’s success. Police make mistakes, and this is a common mistake that happens. If you know or suspect your rights have been violated, Joslyn Law wants to help build your defense.


Entrapment is a valid defense in Ohio. It is used when officers coerce a person who has no intent to commit a crime. For example, if you were unaware that your girlfriend was an undercover cop, and she manipulated you into stealing a prescription pad to gather prescription pills after you have expressed that you were not interested, this would be considered entrapment.

It is an affirmative defense as outlined in Ohio Revised Code § 2901.05, and you will need a strong defense to prove this in a court of law. Ohio also follows the subjective test standard or predisposition test to examine an entrapment defense. Therefore, you will have to prove that your free will to do the crime did not outweigh the officer’s persuasion.

An officer’s word also carries a lot of weight within an investigation, so your defense will need to be strong if you plan to use entrapment as a defense. An attorney who handles entrapment cases can look at the information and facts of the case and advise you on a legal strategy. Trying to face this alone usually does not work out to the defendant’s benefit because the law should be understood fully to apply this defense to your case.

The Prescription Drugs Are Not Yours

If the prescription drugs are found in your presence, Ohio law may automatically presume they are yours, and you will have to prove that they are not. If your sister borrowed your car and left her prescription in it the day before the police found the substance, this defense could be used. When convicting someone of a crime, a judge or jury must prove, without a reasonable doubt, that the substance is yours.

This scenario creates reasonable doubt as to whether the drugs are yours. The prescription container could also have another name on it, which then might turn into a case where the officer will try to charge you with stealing prescription drugs. These scenarios are challenging to maneuver and should be thoroughly investigated to ensure the defense can be upheld in court.

The Prescription Drugs Are Missing

According to the Ohio Attorney General, Ohio law enforcement follows a chain of custody for their evidence handling, which means they have a protocol to follow. This protocol keeps tabs on where, by who, and when evidence moves from one location to another. However, sometimes this process is not followed properly, and evidence goes missing. If there is no physical evidence that proves the persecution, then there is typically a dismissal.

The Prescription Drugs Were Planted

For this defense to hold, your legal advisor will have to ask the judge to approve a motion to release the complaint report for the officer in question. This gives you character witness testimony. This testimony is vital to arguing that the officer’s character is questionable, creating reasonable doubt as to whether the prescription drugs were yours.

Certain government officials have immunity in these cases. However, there are loop-hole laws that protect people, such as Ohio Revised Code § 2921.52, known as the sham legal process law, and the civil rights violation law outlined in Ohio Revised Code § 2921.45.

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Resources for Prescription Drug Charges

Prescription drug charges can do more than destroy your record; an addiction to them can destroy lives, create health issues, and potentially cause death. According to the  National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly a third of all drug-related deaths in the U.S in 2018 was due to synthetic prescription drugs. Although Ohio’s death rate dropped significantly from 2017, there is still work to be done. These numbers seem to reflect the change in drugs’ availability, proving that better legislation aimed at helping people instead of incarcerating them actually works. These are the positive outcomes we seek to establish when building your defense.

If you are struggling with prescription drug addiction or know someone who is, Ohio offers helpful resources. They can provide behavioral therapy, medical care, and vocational training, which is sometimes an alternative to incarceration.

Here is a list of resources to help you or your loved ones get back on track.

  • org offers an extensive list of rehabilitation services as well as a copious amount of information for those who need it for loved ones or are seeking help themselves.
  • org offers a list of free rehab centers in Cincinnati, all of Ohio, and other states.
  • Narcotic Anonymous Ohio is a nonprofit organization for people in recovery from substance addiction who support each other in staying sober.
  • NAR-Anon is a family support group that helps those who have loved ones who are struggling with addiction. They follow a 12-step program that helps build support through sharing experiences.

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Prescription Drug Charge News in Ohio

“Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust acted ‘like drug dealers'”

On April 17, 2019, an Ohio strike force designed to “attack the opioid epidemic” used data analytics for prescription monitoring, Medicaid billing, and undercover operations to locate and arrest more than 60 Ohio and Kentucky doctors and pharmacists. The strike force had success in one of the largest prescription opioid busts in U.S. history.

“5 charged in $2.8 million Dark Web drug trafficking, money laundering conspiracy”

A joint investigation by the Southern Ohio Digitized Organized Crime Group and Federal Agents working out of the Cincinnati Field Office of the FBI came to a close on Jan.15, 2020, after five people were convicted of running an online drug trafficking organization. They were convicted for “manufacturing and distribution of more than one million fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills and laundered approximately $2.8 million over the course of the conspiracy.”

Two people “arrested after officers found large amount of drugs, nearly $100,000 worth of stolen items”

On Sept. 23, 2020, two people were arrested in North College Hill after they were pulled over for speeding. The police recovered more than $100,000 of prescription drugs such as Xanax, along with heroin, meth, fentanyl, and other stolen goods.


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FAQs on Prescription Drug Charges in Ohio

Is there only one way to fight a prescription drug charge?

No. There are many defenses that could apply to your case, and with the STOP legislation, it might be easier to negotiate a diversion request. This will allow you to change the time you would spend in prison for whatever the judge requests you do, such as rehabilitation and possible community services.

Will I get a felony for a prescription drug charge in Cincinnati?

This can only be answered by looking at the facts of your case. Some charges are only misdemeanors, while others can carry felony charges with fines and jail or prison time. This is usually determined by what type and how much you are accused of having.

What does Cincinnati consider a controlled substance?

Ohio follows the federal drug schedule, which can all be found on the DEA Diversion Control Division. Most prescription drugs are Schedule III, IV, or V.

How much jail time will I get if I am charged with a prescription drug crime?

Jail time and prison time are different, and how much of each you will face will depend on a few factors, such as the substance, the amount of the substance, if minors or a school were involved, etc. Misdemeanor charges usually only come with a fine, and felony charges follow with incarceration and more considerable fines.

Can I lose my licenses because of a prescription drug charge in Ohio?

Yes. Depending on the factors of your case, the judge can choose to suspend your driver’s license or any professional licenses you have. They can even suggest preventing you from getting any future driving or professional licenses in Ohio.

Are police allowed to search my property?

You are protected by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents unlawful search and seizure by government officials. Legally, they are supposed to have a warrant or must prove they had probable cause to search your property, such as your car, home, or person.

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Prescription Drug Charge Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati

Our legal team is prepared to do what it takes to make sure your rights are being protected. Prescription drug charges need special attention due to the controversy surrounding how they are affecting our communities nationwide.

Contact Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 for a free consultation. We are known for our non-judgmental approach to our client’s needs and are proud to take on even the toughest of cases.

Do not feel like you are alone; we are here to guide you through the legal process and help build a defense that protects your rights and interests in your case. We represent clients in Georgetown in Brown County, Cincinnati in Hamilton County, Lebanon in Warren County, Oxford in Butler County, Batavia in Clermont County, Wilmington in Clinton County, and Preble County Indiana.

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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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