Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with trafficking in cocaine 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 cocaine trafficking case.
Trafficking in Cocaine Under Ohio Law
Pursuant to ORC 2925.03, no person shall sell or offer to sell cocaine. Moreover, no person shall prepare for shipment, ship, transport, etc. marijuana when the person knows or has reasonable cause to know that the cocaine is intended for sale. Both types of actions constitute cocaine trafficking.
Thus, under Ohio law, “knowingly” and “reasonable cause” are elements required to be proved by the prosecution. “Knowingly” means having awareness, purpose and intent to act. To act “knowingly,” a person must contemplate the action and act in furtherance of that intent. “Reasonable cause” is based on what an average person would believe if under the same circumstances.
Penalties for Cocaine Trafficking in Ohio
The penalties for trafficking in cocaine in Ohio vary based on the amount of cocaine the alleged offender attempts to sell, transport, ship, etc., and whether the offense was committed near a school or juvenile. The charge can vary from a 5th degree to a 1st degree felony, and result in a mandatory prison sentence and significant fines. Below is a breakdown of the possible offense levels.
5th Degree Felony
If the amount of cocaine allegedly trafficked is less than 5 grams, the charge will be a 5th degree felony, which carries a potential 6 – 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine. Pursuant to ORC 2929.13(B), your attorney can argue that you should receive a community control sanction in lieu of a prison sentence. All of the following must apply for this to be available:
- The offender has not been convicted of a felony offense;
- The most serious charge against the offender is a 4th or 5th degree felony;
- A program administering community control sanctions must be available; and
- The offender has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of violence in the prior 2 years.
4th Degree Felony
If an offender trafficked 5 – 9 grams, the charge will be a 4th degree felony, which carries a potential penalty of 6 – 18 months in jail and a $5000 fine. Additionally, ORC 2929.13(C) will apply in determining the potential prison sentence.
If this offense is committed near a school or juvenile, the offense level will be upgraded to a 3rd degree felony and there is a presumption of a prison term. This offense carries a potential 9 months to 3 years in prison and a $5000 fine.
3rd Degree Felony
If the amount of cocaine allegedly trafficked is 10 – 19 grams, the charge will be a 3rd degree felony, which carries a potential sentence of 9 months to 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Moreover, there is a presumption of a prison term for this level of offense.
If the offense is committed near a school or juvenile, the offense level will be upgraded to a 2nd degree felony, which carries a mandatory 2 – 8 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
2nd Degree Felony
If an offender alleged trafficked 20 – 26 grams of marijuana, the charge will be a 2nd degree felony, which carries a mandatory 2 – 8 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
If the offense is committed near a school, the offense will be upgraded to a 1st degree felony, which carries a mandatory 3 – 11 year prison sentence and a $20,000 fine.
1st Degree Felony
If the amount of cocaine allegedly trafficked is 27 – 99 grams, the charge will be a 1st degree felony, which carries a mandatory 3 – 11 year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine.
If the amount of cocaine allegedly trafficked is 100 or more grams, the charge will be a 1st degree felony. However, the offender will be labeled a major drug offender and will face a mandatory 11 year prison sentence.
The following table summarizes the information above.
Secondary Consequences for a Trafficking in Cocaine Conviction in Ohio
In addition to criminal penalties, a drug conviction can result in significant secondary consequences, such as difficulty finding employment, student loans and other government assistance, and jeopardizing any pending or future child custody actions.
Moreover, any person who is convicted of a drug possession charge may have their driver’s license suspended and have any professional licenses (e.g., lawyers, nurses, teachers, etc.) suspended or revoked.
Ohio Defenses to Cocaine Trafficking
Several defenses exist for trafficking in cocaine. These include unlawful search and seizure, lack of Miranda warnings, entrapment by law enforcement, and lack of intent.
The primary defense is lack of intent. Trafficking in cocaine is a specific intent offense that requires knowledge, purpose and action in furtherance of the crime. This requires that at the time of the offense, the prosecution must prove that you had the required criminal intent to commit the offense. Absent this intent, the prosecution will have difficulty proving their case and the charges may be dismissed.
Another common defense is 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.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Drug Attorney
If you have been charged with trafficking in cocaine in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Attorney David Johnson at 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 trafficking in cocaine case.