Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with possession of methamphetamine 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 methamphetamine possession case.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug originally derived from amphetamine. The drug acts on a person’s nervous system, making the user feel euphoric and energetic. However, long-term use of the drug can take a toll on a person’s body. The effects of long-term use include memory loss, impaired thinking, hallucinations, paranoia, tooth loss and decay, weight loss and skin sores.
Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II stimulant under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2925.11. This means that it has a high potential for abuse and little recognized medical value. Absent a prescription, it is unlawful to possess a Schedule II substance in Ohio.
Possession of Methamphetamine Under Ohio Law
Pursuant to ORC 2925.11, it is illegal to knowingly obtain, possess or use methamphetamine. Thus, the required element of knowledge and/or a reasonable belief that the substance is methamphetamine is required. Knowledge means the specific intent or purpose to possess cocaine.
A person must have actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance in order to be charged with drug possession in Ohio. Actual possession is having physical control of the controlled substance on your person or in your possession. For example, if the controlled substance is in your pocket, you are in actual possession of a controlled substance. Constructive possession exists when an individual knowingly exercises dominion and control over an object, even though that object may not be within the individual’s immediate physical possession.
Penalties for Possession of Methamphetamine in Ohio
The penalties for possession of methamphetamine in Ohio vary based on the amount of methamphetamine in the offender’s possession, the number of previous criminal convictions, and whether the offense was committed near a school or juvenile. The charge can vary from a 5th degree felony to a 1st degree felony and can result in penalties from a 6 months in prison and a $2500 fine to 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Moreover, any drug conviction in Ohio will result in a driver’s license suspension of 6 months to 5 years. Below is a breakdown of the possible offense levels.
5th Degree Felony
If the amount of methamphetamine possessed is less than 3 grams, possession of methamphetamine is a 5th degree felony punishable by 6 – 12 months in prison and up to a $2500 fine.
3rd Degree Felony
If the amount of methamphetamine possessed is 3 – 14 grams, possession of methamphetamine is a 3rd degree felony punishable by 9 months – 3 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
2nd Degree Felony
If the amount of methamphetamine possessed is 15 – 149 grams, possession of methamphetamine is a 2nd degree felony punishable by 2 – 8 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.
1st Degree Felony
If the amount of methamphetamine possessed is 150 – 299 grams, possession of methamphetamine is a 1st degree felony punishable by 3 – 11 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
However, if the amount of methamphetamine possessed is 300 grams or more, possession of methamphetamine is a 1st degree felony punishable by a mandatory 11 years in prison and a mandatory $20,000 fine.
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Secondary Consequences for a Possession of Methamphetamine Conviction in Ohio
In addition to the penalties outlined above, a felony possession of methamphetamine conviction can have serious secondary consequences, including preventing you from securing employment or renting an apartment, revocation of a professional license (e.g., lawyer, doctor, nurse), inability to be admitted to a college or university, ineligibility for student loans and can have a bearing on the custody of your children.
Possession With Intent to Sell Methamphetamine in Ohio
Law enforcement, upon making an arrest for possession of methamphetamine, will attempt to find evidence of intent to sell methamphetamine. Possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell carries significantly harsher penalties than possession.
Possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell is governed under by Ohio’s Drug Trafficking statute, ORC 2925.03. Possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell requires that 5 elements be met: possession, knowledge, intent, sale and reasonable cause. The factors are defined as follows:
- Possession – exercising dominion and control over the methamphetamine at issue.
- Knowledge – awareness and intent to sell methamphetamine.
- Intent – knowledge and purpose to sell methamphetamine in the person’s possession.
- Sale – preparation, transportation, shipment or delivery of methamphetamine in the person’s possession.
- Reasonable Cause – the alleged offender must believe that the methamphetamine in his or her possession is intended for sale to another person.
A higher volume of methamphetamine in a person’s possession can lead to an inference that the cocaine is being held for sale, not personal use.
Ohio Defenses to Possession of Methamphetamine
Several defenses exist for possession of methamphetamine. These include unlawful search and seizure, lack of Miranda warnings, entrapment by law enforcement, mistaken identity, and lack of possession.
The primary defense would be unlawful search and seizure. Law enforcement does not always comply with search and seizure laws, creating an opportunity for you to assert that the police 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.
In the event that an unlawful search and seizure took place, your attorney can 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 possession of methamphetamine and the arresting officer failed to administer Miranda warnings, anything you said to the police officer will not be admissible in court.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Drug Attorney
If you have been charged with possession of methamphetamine in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC to discuss your case. An experienced and knowledgeable Columbus and Delaware, Ohio drug attorney can help you fight the charge and achieve the best possible outcome. Call Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation to discuss your possession of methamphetamine case. For more information, consult Johnson Legal, LLC’s Drug Crimes Blog.