For individuals facing drug possession charges in Ohio, you may be wondering what the penalties are for aggravated possession of drugs and what the difference is between possession and aggravated possession.
Below, we’ll take a look at the differences between these two charges and the potential penalties that you might face with an aggravated possession charge.
What is an Aggravated Drug Charge?
An aggravated drug charge is most likely to occur when you face a charge of drug possession where you are suspected of purposefully buying or using the following:
- A prescription opioid painkiller when you have no prescription
According to Section 2915.11 of the Ohio Revised Code, no person “shall knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog.” There are exceptions to this, such as pharmacists and other licensed health professionals who can prescribe medications – but if you do not meet the few exceptions listed, you could face an aggravated possession charge.
The state of Ohio follows the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) definition of what is considered a controlled substance. Under this classification system, Schedule I and Schedule II substances are used to categorize an aggravated drug charge.
What’s The Difference Between Possession and Aggravated Possession?
As previously mentioned, Ohio uses the DEA’s definition of substances using the Schedule system. For someone facing a drug possession charge, Schedules III through V will typically be used.
Drugs that fall under Schedules III through V include:
According to Section 2915.11, a charge will be categorized as aggravated possession of drugs if the drugs involved are “a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance included in schedule I or II”. Excluded from this are substances like marijuana, hashish, heroin, LSD, and cocaine.
Drugs that fall into Schedule I are typically substances that have not been federally recognized and that can produce a high, can be abused, and/or cause addiction. Schedule II substances are drugs that serve no therapeutic purpose but can also be abused and cause severe health problems to individuals.
What is The Typical Sentence for Drug Possession?
The possible penalties for a drug possession charge, without it escalating to an aggravated status, will vary based on different factors. These factors can include the type of drug and how much of the drug is involved.
Almost every drug possession charge will be approached as a felony. A felony charge means that jail time and fines are a real possibility.
Basic penalties for a fifth-degree felony include 6-12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
What Is The Sentence for Aggravated Possession of Drugs in Ohio?
The potential penalties for aggravated possession of drugs in Ohio also vary by the substance involved and the amount. The lowest level charge is a fifth-degree felony.
As previously mentioned, a charge can increase based on the number of drugs involved. For example, a charge can be increased to a third-degree felony if the individual was possessing less than 5 times the bulk amount of the drug.
Mandatory prison time can result from convictions for third through first degree felonies.
The maximum penalties for felony charges associated with aggravated drug possession in Ohio are as follows:
|Charge||Maximum Jail Term||Maximum Fine|
|Fifth Degree Felony||6-12 months||$2,500|
|Fourth Degree Felony||6-18 months||$5,000|
|Third Degree Felony||9-36 months||$10,000|
|Second Degree Felony||2-8 years||$15,000|
|First Degree Felony||11 years||$20,000|
If you are facing an aggravated drug possession charge or you have questions concerning a specific penalty for aggravated possession of drugs in Columbus Ohio, reach out to the Maher Law Firm today. An experienced Columbus criminal defense lawyer will be able to help guide you through this difficult time.
Speak With a Columbus Ohio Drug Possession Lawyer for Assistance
If you have been charged with drug possession or aggravated drug possession in the Columbus Ohio area, consider reaching out to a drug possession lawyer. Colin Maher of the Maher Law Firm has years of experience providing legal advice and handling drug possession charges throughout Franklin County and the surrounding areas.
He offers completely free phone consultations at 614-205-2208. You can also reach out with questions related to charges and penalties for aggravated possession of drugs or any other criminal or traffic charge in Columbus Ohio through our online contact form.