Cleveland Drug Trafficking Attorney
Any type of drug charge can be devastating to your life, including your job, family, and reputation. In particular, drug trafficking charges can be so serious because they may be state or federal in nature. If you’re being investigated or the police have asked to speak with you, do not answer their questions before talking to a drug defense lawyer at The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC. Call us today at (216) 533-9533 or use our online contact form.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
According to global guidelines, drug trafficking is illicit trade “involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of” controlled substances, that is, substances “which are subject to drug prohibition laws.”
While the illicit creation and movement of illegal drugs across borders is an international issue, Ohio abides by its own drug distribution laws and enforcement, at both state and federal levels, which means that if you’re charged with trafficking drugs in Ohio, you could be charged at either the state or federal level, or both. Ohio Revised Code § 2925.03 maintains that drug trafficking is considered “The sale, offer to sell, shipment, transportation, distribution or delivery of any controlled substance or drug when the alleged offender knew or had reasonable cause to believe the substance was intended for sale or resale to another person.”
Moving drugs across state lines also carries increasing penalties. For example, in 2019, several Ohioans were charged with drug trafficking after transporting schedule I and II controlled substances including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and marijuana from the west coast to the Cleveland area. A number of charges were made against the indicted individuals, including drug conspiracy, maintaining a drug premises, money laundering conspiracy, and weapons charges.
But drug trafficking charges aren’t necessarily predicated on large, organized groups of individuals. That is why it is important to note that even the illegal transaction of drugs between two people can be considered drug trafficking in Ohio.
Controlled Substances Involved in Drug Trafficking
Drugs often involved in trafficking cases include street drugs, medications, controlled substances, prescription pills, chemicals, and more. The following list is not comprehensive, but includes many drugs that are commonly trafficked:
- Marijuana (cannabis, weed)
- Magic Mushrooms
If you have been charged with drug trafficking in Cuyahoga County, contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC to speak with an experienced drug trafficking attorney.
Ohio’s Drug Schedules (Categories of Drugs)
The penalties for drug trafficking charges in Ohio depend on the amount of substance in question, the type of drug, and where the offense occurred – for example, drug trafficking in the vicinity of schools carry much harsher consequences. Ohio’s drug schedule contains the standards for which drugs carry heftier penalties.
Generally, a drug trafficking offense is considered a misdemeanor if it involves controlled substances within schedules III, IV, or V. Drug trafficking in schedules I and II can result in an aggravated drug trafficking charge, which is considered a felony in Ohio.
According to the Ohio Revised Code § 3719.41, drugs and their penalties for trading in them are categorized as follows:
- Schedule V: These drugs generally have approved medical use and are least likely to be abused, thus carry less severe penalties. Schedule V drugs in Ohio include ephedrine and other minor narcotic medications.
- Schedule IV: These drugs also have approved medical uses in the US, however, they may have a slightly higher propensity for addiction and abuse, placing them in a higher tier of penalties. Schedule IV drugs in Ohio include Xanax and Valium.
- Schedule III: These controlled substances include LSD and pentobarbital (used in sedatives, also known as an “execution drug”), which do have some acknowledged medical use but are not as widely prescribed, as they have a high potential for abuse than Schedule V or IV controlled substances.
- Schedule II: This category of drugs is known to have high abuse potential and less approved medical prescription. Hydrocodone, opium, methamphetamine, and opium all fall into Schedule II drug statues.
- Schedule I: This category contains heroin, cocaine, and marijuana – drugs that have the most potential for abuse and no acknowledged medical use in the United States, and although the movement to decriminalize and promote medical use of marijuana is growing in Ohio, trafficking of the substance is illegal and possession of more than 200 grams is considered a felony.
Ohio Penalties for Drug Trafficking
Trafficking drugs in Ohio’s schedule I or II usually results in an aggravated drug trafficking charge, which is a felony. Aggravated drug trafficking charges can result in a prison sentence up to 18 months and fines of up to $5,000.
If you are charged with drug trafficking near a school or near juveniles, you could face being convicted for a felony of the fourth degree. A fourth degree felony is punishable with up to five years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
The amounts of drugs being trafficked also weights your possible conviction penalty. If the amount of drugs equals or exceeds the bulk amount up to five times that amount, you can felony of the third degree charges. If this particular offense occurred near juveniles or a school, it’s considered a felony of the second degree.
In an aggravated drug trafficking case, if the amount of drugs is less than 50 times the total amount but equals or exceeds five times the amount, it’s considered a felony of the second degree. If this occurs within proximity of a school or where juveniles are present, it can result in a first degree felony charge.
A first degree felony conviction in an Ohio aggravated drug trafficking case occurs when the amount of controlled trafficked substance exceeds 100 times the bulk amount. First degree felony convictions face mandatory prison time and classification as a major drug offender.
What to Do If You Face Drug Trafficking Charges in Ohio
If you have been charged with trafficking drugs in the Cleveland area, you face a wide range of consequences and a possible felony conviction. Felonies are punishable with years of prison time and large fines, but they also carry significant long-term consequences. Convicted felons, even when released from prison, can often face difficulties finding employment or housing and reintegrating into civilian society.
If you have been charged with drug trafficking in Ohio contact drug trafficking attorneys at The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC at (216) 533-9533. An experienced drug trafficking lawyer Daniel M. Margolis can help assess your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your alleged controlled substance trafficking in Cuyahoga county and the surrounding areas.