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DRUG POSSESSION SUMMARY:
Drug Possession occurs when a person illegally possesses or uses a “controlled substance”.
DRUG POSSESSION IN OHIO:
Drug Possession (“Possession of Controlled Substances” as defined in R.C. 2925.11 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2925.11) is committed when a person knowingly, and without legal authority, obtains, possesses, or uses a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog (a substance having a substantially similar chemical structure and effect or substantially similar intended effect as that of a controlled substance). “Controlled substance analog” is defined in R.C. 3719.01(HH)(1) http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3719.01 . A “controlled substance” (as defined by R.C. 3719.01 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3719.01) is one included in schedule I, II, III, IV, or V.
Depending on the circumstances, drug possession can be a minor drug possession offense characterized as a Misdemeanor or Felony of the 5th degree, or aggravated drug possession. The penalty for drug possession depends on the nature, as well as the amount, of the drug possessed. Some drug possession offenses are Felonies of the 1st Degree, carrying mandatory prison terms of up to 11 years.
CONSEQUENCES OF CONVICTION FOR A DRUG POSSESSION OFFENSE:
A conviction for Drug Possession can be extremely serious and have potentially severe detrimental long-term effects and collateral (unseen) consequences. Even for possessing drugs such as marijuana (which many believe to be harmless), the effects of a conviction may include loss of employment, loss of government financial aid, and other lost opportunities. Possession of other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and LSD, are particularly serious offenses, which are classified as felonies in Ohio; the degree of the felony depending on the amount of the drug in one’s possession. Consequences for drug possession can include fines, local jail time, mandatory prison sentences, fines and forfeiture of property, and loss of driving privileges.
Further, under federal law, any individual who unlawfully uses or is addicted to any controlled substance is prohibited from possessing a firearm. See, 18 U.S.C. 922(g) https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922 . Under state law, any individual formally charged with, or convicted of, a felony offense of drug possession is prohibited from possessing a firearm. See, R.C. 2923.13 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2923.13 .
WERE YOUR RIGHTS VIOLATED?
Many drug possession cases are charged following a search and seizure by police, such as a traffic stop, or a “stop and frisk,” or there is a search conducted pursuant to a search warrant. These involuntary detentions and searches by police implicate the protections of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Under the Fourth Amendment, all persons are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures by police and government actors. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that searches conducted without a warrant, are per se unreasonable.
When the police violate the protections of the Fourth Amendment, the evidence that stems from the violation (an illegal search or seizure) is “suppressed” from evidence, or thrown out, under what is known as “the exclusionary rule.”
CALL ZUKERMAN ABOUT DRUG POSSESSION:
The attorneys of Zukerman, Lear & Murray Co., L.P.A. regularly practice in the area of Fourth Amendment searches and seizures and have a proven track record of challenging constitutional violations by law enforcement officers and having evidence against its clients excluded from trial.