Marijuana Possession Defense Attorney – Westerville, Ohio
If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Westerville, Ohio, it is important that you hire legal counsel. Contact Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 to review your case and discuss with you how to proceed. As an experienced and dedicated marijuana possession attorney, he will be with you at your first court appearance (called an “arraignment”) and attempt to have the case dismissed. In the event that the marijuana possession charge is not dropped, a pretrial hearing will be conducted.
Depending upon where the marijuana possession charge is heard, negotiations will begin with the prosecutor and evidence will be gathered to support your defense. While negotiating with the prosecution, a motion hearing will be held allowing Attorney Johnson to challenge the evidence and marijuana possession charge if the police did not have probable cause to search or arrest you, lacked a warrant, or violated your constitutional rights. This may result in the marijuana possession charge being dismissed. However, if the case is not dismissed, negotiations fail to produce a favorable plea agreement, or you decline to accept the plea agreement, your case will be set for trial.
At trial, Attorney Johnson will vigorously defend you. However, if you are found guilty, Attorney Johnson will seek all avenues available that will allow you to avoid jail or prison.
Westerville, Ohio – Where Will Your Case Be Heard?
Depending upon where you were arrested, and the type and level of marijuana possession charge, your case will be heard either in Westerville Mayor’s Court, Franklin County Municipal Court, Delaware County Municipal Court, Franklin County Common Pleas Court or Delaware County Common Pleas Court. Misdemeanor marijuana possession charges will be heard in Westerville Mayor’s Court or Municipal Court. Felony marijuana possession charges will be heard in Common Pleas Court.
Marijuana Possession Charges
The type and level of marijuana possession charge that you will face depends upon the amount of marijuana that you possessed, the number of previous marijuana possession convictions you have, and whether the offense was committed near a school or juvenile. Possessing less than 100 grams is a minor misdemeanor. As the amount of marijuana possessed increases, the level of offense will increase, with marijuana possession eventually resulting in a 2nd degree felony.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Ohio
The penalties for marijuana possession in Ohio range from a $150 fine and no jail time to a mandatory 8 year prison sentence and a $15,000 fine. However, in addition to fines and jail or prison, there are a number of secondary consequences.
In additional to criminal penalties, a marijuana possession conviction can result in a driver’s license suspension of 6 months to multiple years, difficulty finding employment, student loan ineligibility, jeopardizing future child custody actions, and professional license suspension or revocation.
Intent to Sell Marijuana
When the police arrest you for possession of marijuana, they will often attempt to find evidence of intent to sell marijuana. Possession of marijuana with intent to sell is governed by ORC 2925.03 and carries significantly harsher penalties than possession. This offense requires that 5 elements be met:
- Possession – exercising dominion and control over the marijuana at issue.
- Knowledge – awareness and intent to sell marijuana.
- Intent – knowledge and purpose to sell marijuana in the person’s possession.
- Sale – preparation, transportation, shipment or delivery of marijuana in the person’s possession.
- Reasonable Cause – the alleged offender must believe that the marijuana in his or her possession is intended for sale to another person.
Defense to Marijuana Possession in Ohio
There are several defense to marijuana possession under Ohio law. These include unlawful search and seizure, lack of Miranda warnings, lack of possession, entrapment by law enforcement and mistaken identity.
The primary defense to marijuana possession is unlawful search and seizure. The police do not always comply with search and seizure laws, particularly when it comes to vehicles and homes, allowing you to argue that law enforcement violated your constitutional rights. An unlawful search and seizure could result from a lack of probable cause or search warrant, and from a search warrant that was not properly executed.
If an unlawful search and seizure took place, Attorney David Johnson will file a motion to suppress the evidence. If granted, the evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights will be excluded from the prosecution’s case and the charges may be dismissed.
If you were charged with marijuana possession and the arresting officer failed to properly administer Miranda warnings, anything you said to the police officer will not be admissible in court.
A person must have actual or constructive possession of marijuana in order to be charged with marijuana possession in Ohio. Actual possession is having physical control of the marijuana on your person or in your possession. For example, if the marijuana is in your pocket, you are in actual possession of marijuana.
Constructive possession exists when an individual knowingly exercises dominion and control over the marijuana, even though the marijuana may not be within the individual’s immediate physical possession. For example, if marijuana is kept in a storage garage, you knew that the substance was marijuana, and you have the key, a strong case may exist that you were in constructive possession of marijuana.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Diversion Programs
In Columbus, a first time marijuana possession offender may be eligible for acceptance into diversion. This program is generally available for non-violent misdemeanor and felony offenders, including those charged with marijuana possession. However, this program is discretionary (i.e., the prosecutor must approve of the defendant’s acceptance into the program).
In addition to the general diversion program, Franklin County (Columbus) created the “Treatment is Essential to Success” (TIES) program for offenders whose offenses involved drugs and/or alcohol. However, the following criteria must be satisfied for an offender to be eligible for the TIES program:
- 4th or 5th Degree Offenders
- Non-violent, non-sexually oriented offenses
- Non-gun-related charges
- No significant history of violent crimes or drug trafficking
- Sufficient motivation for treatment
- Primary diagnosis of chemical dependency
- Defendant meets the criteria for presumption of probation under the sentencing guidelines.
In Delaware, Ohio, a pretrial diversion program is available for those whose charges are either minor misdemeanor marijuana possession or 4th degree misdemeanor drug paraphernalia. The offender must be approved by the prosecutor and the victim’s views are considered. If accepted, the offender must waive their right to a trial, enter a guilty plea to the charges, and pay a $150 fee. Upon completing the program, the court will withdraw the defendant’s guilty plea and the case will be dismissed.
Westerville, Ohio Possession of Marijuana Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Westerville, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your possession of marijuana case.
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29 S. South Street
Westerville, Ohio 43081
(614) 882-7444 (non-emergency)
844 U.S. 42
Delaware, Ohio 43015
140 N. Sandusky Street, 3rd Floor
Delaware, Ohio 43015
370 S. Front Street, 2nd Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
373 S. High Street, 14th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215