Being charged with a drug crime can ruin your life. Fortunately, you’re entitled to a defense. An experienced drug crime lawyer in Columbus could help clear your name and protect your freedom.
Call Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3826 for a free and confidential consultation.
“I am very happy for the work you have done to settle this case. I will definitely refer you to family and friends If they need representation.”
Luftman, Heck & Associates client
Do You Need a Columbus Drug Crime Lawyer?
Whether it is a misdemeanor or felony drug crime, the best way to protect yourself is by hiring a Columbus drug crime lawyer near you. Prosecutors and judges take drug crimes seriously. Neither will be motivated to be lenient or cut you a break unless you give them a good reason.
You also won’t have a clear view of your case without consulting a lawyer. Do you know the best defense in your situation or how to identify problems with the evidence against you? By hiring a drug crime attorney , you get an objective and experienced perspective. You have someone who will conduct a separate analysis, weigh the evidence, and recommend the best next steps. Most importantly, you gain someone whose duty it is to protect your rights and freedom.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we have decades of experience tackling drug charges in Franklin County. We know what to do, so you don’t have to figure it out as you go along.
How LHA Fights Columbus Drug Charge
If you’re currently in jail, our priority is getting you out. We’ll also stop you from talking with the police. Many people think they can talk their way out of a problem, but they can’t. Answering police questions will usually only make things worse unless we’ve spoken with you about what to say and when.
Our next step is examining the charges. We want to hear your story: What happened, and what did the police do and say? If they failed to read you your rights or performed an illegal search, any improper evidence could be excluded.
We’ll also take a close look at the prosecutor’s case. By negotiating and highlight flaws, we may get the charges reduced or dismissed. If the charges move forward, we’ll talk with you about your options. You might accept a plea for an outcome you can live with. Or you could defend yourself at trial.
Ohio Controlled Substance Schedule
Ohio divides controlled substances into different schedules. These classifications impact the charges and potential penalties.
Schedule I: These drugs have a high risk of abuse and no recognized medical purpose. They include marijuana, morphine, mescaline, peyote, LSD, heroin, and ecstasy.
Schedule II: These drugs have a high potential for abuse and dependence but have a recognized medical purpose. They include cocaine, meth, fentanyl, narcotic pain killers, methadone, and GHB.
Schedule III: These drugs have a moderate risk for abuse and dependence. But they have recognized medical purposes as well. They include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and barbiturates.
Schedule IV: These drugs have a low potential for abuse and have recognized medical purposes. They include sleep aids and anti-anxiety medications, like Valium and Xanax.
Schedule V: These drugs have the lowest or no risk of abuse or dependence. They contain small amounts of narcotics or stimulants.
Drug Charges in Columbus, Ohio
Our Columbus drug lawyers can defend you against misdemeanor and felony drug charges in Franklin County and nearby areas. We’ve described some of the most common types of Ohio drug charges below.
Possession of drugs is one of the most common drug charges. Possession of any Schedule I or II drugs is a felony. But the specific penalties depend on the type and amount of drug in your possession.
Our Columbus drug attorneys can defend you against:
- Cocaine possession
- Heroin possession
- Meth possession
- Fake/counterfeit drug possession
- Prescription drug possession
- Illegal possession of chemicals
- Possession of drug materials
- Drug production
It’s illegal to manufacture or assemble controlled substances or cultivate weed . You’ll be charged with a felony and face years in prison.
A prosecutor can charge you with drug trafficking for knowingly selling a controlled substance. You can be charged for offering to sell a controlled substance as well.
You also can face this charge if there is evidence you did any of the following with a controlled substance:
The prosecutor does not have to prove money ever changed hands. Drug trafficking charges come with severe penalties.
Ohio has a medical cannabis program. But the recreational use of marijuana is illegal. Remember, pot is a Schedule I controlled substance in Ohio.
If you aren’t a qualified medical patient, you can face charges for:
- Cannabis possession
- Cannabis cultivation
- Weed trafficking
Possession of marijuana may be a misdemeanor if you have fewer than 200 grams. But more than 20 grams, cultivation, or trafficking will lead to felony charges.
Ohio Drug Crime Penalties
Drug crime sentencing is complicated. It depends on several factors, including the type and amount of the controlled substance.
- Minor Misdemeanor: Up to $150, but no jail time
- Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750
- First-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- Fifth-Degree Felony: Up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500
- Fourth-Degree Felony: Up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
- Third-Degree Felony: Up to 36 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony: At least two years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
- First-Degree Felony: At least three years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000
These are the base sentence guidelines for misdemeanors and felonies in Ohio. The exact penalty you face can vary from these, though.
Federal Drug Crimes
Federal drug charges are more severe than state-level charges. This is despite the fact that some of the different types of crimes are the same.
Some of the most common federal drug crimes you could be charged with include:
A simple possession charge means that you have been accused of having a controlled substance in your possession without a valid prescription from a healthcare provider. This is one of the least severe federal drug charges.
Conspiracy charges are more serious. Here, you have been accused of the following with regard to controlled substances:
Even attempts to engage in these acts are grounds for a federal conspiracy charge under the law.
Protected Location Drug Crimes
Selling or distributing controlled substances to anyone under twenty-one in a playground or school zone is a protected location offense. You could also face these charges if you employ a minor in your drug operations.
Federal drug manufacturing charges are severe. Here, you have been accused of operating establishments whose purpose is to manufacture, distribute or use controlled substances.
One of the worst federal drug charges you can face is drug trafficking. This is when you have been accused of possessing or manufacturing controlled substances with the intent to distribute. This intent to distribute is what separates a federal drug trafficking charge from a federal simple possession charge.
Continued Criminal Enterprise
Continuing criminal enterprise charges involve the trafficking of controlled substances. Six or more individuals work together in these cases.
Federal Drug Investigations
The Drug Enforcement Administration is responsible for enforcing federal drug laws and regulations.
Other agencies that may be involved in federal drug crime investigations include the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement , and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives . This is because many criminal enterprises are connected to controlled substances as well.
In these investigations, wiretapping, use of informants, surveillance, and other tactics are not uncommon. Federal drug investigations are often a part of a larger investigation that has been ongoing for years.
Federal Drug Crime Penalties
The Controlled Substances Act separates drugs into five different schedules the same way Ohio does. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and addiction. They have no accepted medical use. And Schedule V drugs have a low potential for abuse and addiction with widely accepted medical use.
The penalties that you will face will depend on several factors:
- The type of drug
- The amount of the drug
- Your criminal record, if any
- Whether there was a weapon involved
- Whether the incident caused bodily harm to another
In federal drug crime cases, the judge must follow Federal Sentencing Guidelines when handing down a sentence. These state the mandatory minimum and maximum term of imprisonment for federal crimes.
For example, if you are found guilty of simple possession, you could spend up to one year in federal prison. But if you are convicted of trafficking a Schedule I drug, you could spend up to 40 years in federal prison. You could be ordered to pay fines as high as $25 million as well. Habitual offenders trafficking Schedule I drugs could be fined $50 million and spend life in federal prison.
If you have been charged with a federal drug crime and need exceptional legal representation, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates .
Defending Against Ohio Drug Charges
When we handle your case, we scrutinize the facts. We look for whether the police did something wrong. Or whether the prosecutor is attempting to use illegally obtained evidence. The specific facts of your case will determine the strongest defense strategy.
There are many ways to defend against drug charges in Franklin County, including:
- Lack of possession
- Lack of knowledge of the drugs/unwitting possession
- The substance wasn’t an illegal drug
- Unreasonable search and seizure
- Lack of probable cause for the police to stop you
- Illegal surveillance or wiretapping
- Illegal canine search
- Insufficient evidence
- Eligibility for medical cannabis
- Valid prescription
- Actual vs. Constructive Possession
Actual possession means you knew about the drugs and had them on your person. Maybe they were found in a pocket, book bag, or purse.
Constructive possession is more complicated. You had to have known about the drugs, knowing where they were and had control over them. In other words, you had a right to say what happened to those drugs, even if they were in a vehicle or apartment.
Lack of possession or lack of knowledge regarding the drugs is a possible defense to Ohio drug charges.
Franklin County Drug Court
The Franklin County Common Pleas Court has a program called Treatment is Essential to Success . You may be eligible for the TIES program if:
- You’re a Felony 4 or Felony 5 offenders
- You’re facing non-violent, non-sexually oriented charges
- You’re facing non-gun-related charges
- You have no significant history of violent crimes or drug trafficking
- You show sufficient motivation for treatment/change
- You have a primary diagnosis of chemical dependency. However, most prospective candidates for admission demonstrate some degree of co-occurring mental health conditions. Therefore, comprehensive MH treatment is available
- You meet the criteria for “Presumption for probation” per Ohio sentencing guidelines.
Domestic Violence charges are considered on a “case-by-case” basis.
The program is three 12-week phases. Here, you learn how to make healthier lifestyle choices and have less contact with the court. After Phase III, you go through traditional probation for six months. Most eligible defendants complete the program in 18 months.
This program may be right for you. It depends on your eligibility and your motivation. This is a good program if you’re struggling with addiction and want help sustaining long-term sobriety.
Columbus Drug Crime FAQ
Being arrested on a felony drug charge can be more than disruptive. You could be facing serious penalties, and you’re feeling overwhelmed at what your future could bring.
In the hopes of easing your worries, we’ve compiled this quick drug crime FAQ. It includes the top questions people like you want to know about their drug charges. Do you have a question or concern that has not been addressed on this page? Contact LHA to discuss your charges.
What Do I Do if There Is a Warrant for My Arrest?
If you have a warrant out for your arrest, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to get it resolved. Don’t wait too long. The penalties will only worsen. Your lawyer can help you:
- Figure out how and when to turn yourself in
- Figure out how you will defend your charges
- Prearrange your bail
Once you have turned yourself in, the warrant will have been executed. Then, you can turn your attention to your legal defense.
Can Felony Drug Crimes Be Expunged?
Most felony drug offenders are not eligible for expunction under Ohio law. However, if you were convicted of a fourth-degree or fifth-degree felony, you may still be eligible to have your record expunged. You will need to meet the waiting period and probationary requirements as well.
Your lawyer can review the details of your case to determine if you are eligible for expungement.
What Happens if I Get Arrested for Drugs While on Probation?
Were you are arrested for a felony drug crime? Were you already on probation? You will likely have violated the terms of your probation. You could be sent to jail or prison and face additional charges. But a drug lawyer in Columbus may be able to help you avoid a conviction. Or, we could get your charges reduced depending on the details of your case.
Call Our Columbus Drug Crimes Lawyers for Help
Drug charges in Ohio are complicated, and the sentencing even more so. You should never try to fight these charges alone. Instead, the best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced and aggressive defense attorney near you. When Luftman, Heck & Associates handle your case, we are with you every step of the way. We fight hard for the best possible outcome .
If you’re ready to talk with a drug crime lawyer near you in Columbus or surrounding areas, call us at (614) 500-3826 . We offer free, confidential consultations.