Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug abuse instruments offense in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio 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 drug charge.
Possession or Use of Drug Abuse Instruments Under Ohio Law
Possessing drug abuse instruments in Ohio can result in your arrest. It does not matter that drugs were not found. Pursuant to ORC 2925.12, it is illegal to knowingly make, obtain, possess, or use any instrument the customary and primary purpose of which is for the administration or use of a dangerous drug when the instrument involved is a hypodermic or syringe and the instrument has been used to unlawfully administer or use a dangerous drug. While this statute is similar to the drug paraphernalia statute, the key difference is that drug abuse instruments is often charged in connection with the use of heroin or a prescription drug.
Penalties for Drug Abuse Instruments in Ohio
Use or possession of drug abuse instruments in Ohio is a 2nd degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Furthermore, as with most drug offenses in Ohio, a mandatory 6 month driver’s license suspension will result upon conviction.
If the person has previously pled guilty or been convicted of drug abuse instruments, the offense will be a 1st degree misdemeanor, which carries up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. In addition, if you hold a professional license (e.g., medical license), the regulatory or licensing board will be notified of the offense.
Possible Defenses Under Ohio Law
The circumstances of the case will dictate the possible defenses you can raise. Several possible defenses exist, including lack of reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle, law enforcement not honoring your 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure and lack of a warrant.
Before the police can pull over your vehicle, they must be able to establish a reasonable suspicion that your committed a traffic or criminal violation. If law enforcement pulls you over, searches your vehicle, and finds a drug abuse instrument, the defense of lack of reasonable suspicion could be raised. If the police lacked reasonable suspicion that you have committed a traffic or criminal violation, the case could be thrown out of court.
Unreasonable Search and Seizure
This defense could apply in a situation where the police stop and ask you questions. An example of this can be found in a recent Ohio Court of Appeals case, State v. Boswell, where a police officer stopped two men and asked them for identification. After cooperating, the officer asked them to submit to a search of their persons. The officer wished to search them because they looked “nervous” and his “cop radar” told him something was wrong.
The Ohio Court of Appeals found that the search was unconstitutional because there was nothing to suggest that the defendant violated or was about to violate the law. Thus, the police officer violated the defendant’s constitutional rights and the case was thrown out of court.
Lack of a Warrant
Generally, law enforcement is required to have a warrant before they can search your person, car, house, etc. However, the Ohio Supreme Court has recognized 7 exceptions to this warrant requirement:
- Exigent Circumstances
- Hot Pursuit
- Probable Cause to Search
- Search Incident to Lawful Arrest
- Consent Signifying Waiver of Constitutional Rights
If one of these seven exceptions does not apply, and the police conducted a search without a warrant, the search may have violated your constitutional rights.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Drug Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with use or possession of drug abuse instruments, take the important step of consulting an attorney to insure that you are in the best possible position to defend against this charge. Use or possession of drug abuse instruments is a serious charge that can impact not only your freedom, but your current and future employment.
Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC is an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio drug attorney who can help you deal with this stressful moment in your life. If you have been arrested for use or possession of drug abuse instruments, contact Johnson Legal, LLC to schedule a consultation. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email if you or someone you know has been charged. For more information, consult Johnson Legal, LLC’s drug crimes blog.