Cleveland Heroin Attorney
Because of its highly addictive nature and its potentially dangerous and degenerative effects on the human body, heroin is considered a top-tier, schedule I – and highly abuse-prone – drug and its use and possession are considered serious crimes in Ohio. Convicted heroin users can face significant drug charges, jail time, fines, and a drug offender’s criminal record that can have long-lasting negative impact on the offender’s life and future.
If you have been charged with heroin possession or trafficking in the Cleveland area, you need a heroin lawyer. The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC can assess your case confidentially. Contact our experienced heroin defense attorneys at (216) 533-9533 to see what recourse you may be able to take to obtain the best possible outcome for your Ohio heroin charges.
The Heroin Problem in Ohio
Arrests for heroin possession in Ohio have increased in the past decade. According to an Ohio Criminal Justice System’s drug crimes report, heroin-related incidents have increased by 124.5% since 2011, and Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County has reportedly led the way. Part of the reason for increased crackdown by law enforcement on this controlled substance is because of its potent addictive potential.
According to state statistics, drug-related fatalities have increased by approximately 800% in Ohio in the past two decades, in part fueled by the popularity of opioids. Opioid popularity first started in the form of prescription painkillers, but many users developed dependencies and sought cheaper, synthetic alternatives, like heroin and powerful, synthetic pain reliever fentanyl. Street heroin is generally comprised of a dangerous concoction of heroin and dangerous additives like morphine or fentanyl.
In 2014, Cuyahoga County attributed 198 deaths to heroin overdose, and heroin-related deaths across the state of Ohio hit 1,478 in 2016. In 2017, Cuyahoga County alone experienced 492 fatal drug overdoses attributed to fentanyl. That same year, Ohio’s Substance Abuse Monitoring Network found that over 33% of the 380 overdose fatalities reported in the last six months involved heroin.
Penalties for Possession of Heroin
Because of its dangerous nature, possession of heroin can result in serious penalties depending on the amount you have.
- Up to 1 gram – This is a fifth degree felony and may result in six to twelve months in prison.
- Between 1 gram and 5 grams – This is a fourth degree felony and may result in six months to eighteen months in prison.
- Between 5 grams and 10 grams – This is a third degree felony and may result in between nine months and three years in prison.
- Between 10 grams and 50 grams – This is a second degree felony and may result in between two and eight years in prison.
- Between 50 grams and 250 grams – This is a first degree felony and may result in between three and ten years in prison.
- 250 grams or more – This is a major drug offense (MDO) and can result in a mandatory eleven or more years in prison.
Dealing or Trafficking Heroin Penalties
According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2925.03, drug trafficking is considered selling, offering, delivering – even packaging with intent of delivery – a controlled substance, as classified under the five Ohio drug schedules laid out in Ohio Rev. Code § 3719.41. Penalties for trafficking drugs in Ohio depend on the substance, the amount of substance, and the context in which the substance is being trafficked. Since heroin is a schedule I substance, dealing and trafficking heroin can result in a range of felony charges and even a major drug offense (MDO) conviction.
- Dealing or trafficking up to one gram of heroin is considered a fifth degree felony, punishable by six to twelve months in prison and a maximum $250 fine.
- Dealing or trafficking more than one gram but less than five grams of heroin is considered a fourth degree felony, punishable by six to eighteen months in prison and a maximum $5,500 fine.
- If you are charged with a fourth-degree felony and can prove that the controlled dangerous substance was possessed solely for personal use, you may be able to seek reduced penalties to match those of a fifth-degree felony, according to Ohio Rev. Code § 2925.11 (F).
- Dealing or trafficking more than five grams up to ten grams of heroin is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by nine months to three years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Dealing or trafficking ten grams or more but less than fifty grams of heroin is considered a fifth-degree felony, and carries a mandatory prison sentence between two and eight years and a maximum $15,000 fine.
- Dealing or trafficking fifty grams or more but less than 250 grams of heroin is considered a first-degree felony, and carries a mandatory prison sentence between three and ten years as well as a maximum $20,000 fine.
- Dealing or trafficking more than 250 grams of heroin is considered a felony and major drug offense (MDO) in Ohio, and carries mandatory prison time with a maximum sentence of eleven years and a maximum $20,000 fine.
Collateral Consequences for Convicted Heroin Offenders
According to a research report published to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice, “’Collateral consequence’ is any kind of penalty, disability, or disadvantage as a result of the conviction of an offense, other than imprisonment, probation, parole, supervised release, forfeiture, restitution, fines, assessments, or costs, regardless of whether it applies by operation of law or is imposed by a government agency, official, or court, other than those that might occur in the context of future criminal prosecutions.”
Criminal offenders – particularly drug offenders – may encounter extreme difficulties upon reentering society as a result of the collateral consequences Ohio state law imposes on its offenders. These consequences have a much greater impact than even prison time and fines, including inhibition in attempting to regain employment, access to civil rights, and custody of children or other family members.
Seek Help If You’re Charged With a Heroin Offense
Being charged with a drug offense can be severely damaging. In Ohio, it can be particularly difficult to obtain the best possible outcome without experienced legal help at your side. To speak with a heroin attorney, call The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC at (216) 533-9533 today for a confidential consultation.