What are the penalties for Ohio drug crimes?

| May 28, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio is among the states with the most average annual drug overdose deaths. Depending on the type of substance and the amount, a drug conviction in Ohio can result in fines, jail time and other penalties. 

Learn more about the state laws governing drug penalties in Ohio. 

Types of drug crimes 

Like federal law, Ohio state law divides controlled substances into five schedules. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous and Schedule V are the least dangerous and have approved medical use. Simple drug possession charges apply for possession of controlled substances in Schedules III, IV and V. Aggravated charges apply for the more dangerous drugs in Schedules I and II, such as LSD, cocaine and heroin. 

Sentencing guidelines 

In addition to simple or aggravated charges, Ohio law designates whether the person has exceeded a bulk amount of the substance in question. In general, aggravated possession of less than the bulk amount of a specific substance constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor. This conviction can result in a fine of $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail for the first offense. The second offense constitutes a fifth-degree felony and carries a six-month minimum and 12-month maximum jail sentence. Fines increase to $2,500. 

An aggravated possession conviction for at least the bulk amount of a substance but no more than five times the bulk amount results in a nine-month minimum jail sentence. This third-degree felony also carries fines of up to $10,000 and a maximum jail sentence of 18 months. 

Offenders who possess more than five times the bulk limit but less than 50 times the bulk amount of a Schedule I or II substance receive second-degree felony drug charges. Penalties for a first offense include a minimum of two and up to eight years in prison. A conviction may also carry up to $15,000 in fines.