What Are the Penalties for Fentanyl Possession in Ohio?
Fentanyl is public enemy number one in Ohio. The opioid epidemic is hitting the state hard, and fentanyl is being widely used despite being vastly stronger than typical heroin. Owing to the dangers of fentanyl, Ohio has very harsh penalties for simple possession charges. At a minimum, fentanyl possession is a felony. Even if you manage to avoid prison, your felony conviction will carry collateral consequences like the loss of your gun rights and difficulties in finding a decent job.
Last year, Governor Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 1, which increased the penalties for the possession and trafficking of fentanyl-related compounds. Despite calls for treatment and community-centered approach to the opiate crisis, Ohio is gearing up for an old-fashioned war on drugs. As always, many innocents will get caught up in the criminal justice system.
If you or a loved one has been charged with fentanyl possession in Cuyahoga County, a Cleveland drug lawyer can help you. Call The Law Offices of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC today at 216-533-9533 for a free and confidential consultation.
Understanding Ohio’s Fentanyl Penalties
The penalties for fentanyl possession are laid out in Ohio Revised Code section 2925.11. This applies to schedule I and II controlled substances, and under Ohio Revised Code section 3719.41, fentanyl is classified as a schedule II controlled substance. The penalties for which will depend on the amount found in your possession:
- Less than a bulk amount–Felony of the fifth degree punishable by a $2,500 fine and a possible prison sentence of six to twelve months.
- More than the bulk amount but less than five times the bulk amount–Felony of the third degree with a probable prison sentence of nine months to five years, along with a $10,000 fine.
- Between five and 50 times the bulk amount–Felony of the second degree with a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence and fines of up to $15,000.
- Between 50 and 100 times the bulk amount–Felony of the first degree with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison and possible fines of $20,000.
- Over 100 times the bulk amount–Felony of the first degree with an eleven-year mandatory minimum prison term, and classification as a major drug offender.
The Ohio legislature defines a “bulk amount” of a controlled substance in section 2925.01 of the Ohio Revised Code. It could refer to either of the following:
- An amount equal to or greater than 10 grams
- An amount equal to or greater than 25 doses of the controlled substance
Since Fentanyl is such a potent drug in its pure form, even very small quantities can qualify as bulk amounts, triggering harsh penalties. But because it is so strong, fentanyl is usually purchased and used in a diluted form. If you get caught with a fentanyl mixture or derivative that includes schedule III, IV, or V substances, a different definition of the bulk amount may apply to your case.
Ohio’s Penalties for Diluted Fentanyl or Related Compounds
You face a different penalty scale when you get caught with a fentanyl-related compound, which is what people usually have on the street:
- Less than ten unit doses–Felony of the fifth degree involving a $2,500 fine and the possibility of a six to twelve-month prison term.
- Between ten and 50 doses, or between one and 5 grams–Felony of the fourth degree punishable by a $5,000 fine and a possible six to 18-month prison sentence.
- Between 50 and 100 doses, or between 5 and 10 grams–Felony of the third degree with a probable prison sentence of nine months to five years in prison, along with a $10,000 fine.
- Between 100 and 200 doses, or between 10 and 20 grams–Felony of the second degree with a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
- Between 200 and 500 doses, or between 20 and 50 grams–Felony of the first degree with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and possible fines of up to $20,000.
- Between 500 and 1,000 doses, or between 50 and 100 grams–Felony of the first degree with a mandatory minimum sentence of 11 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000.
- Over 1000 doses or 100 grams–Felony of the first degree with a mandatory minimum 11-year sentence and classification as a major drug offender.
If you receive classification as a major drug offender, the judge may impose an additional three to eight-year sentence on top of your 11-year mandatory minimum.
Contact Attorney Daniel M. Margolis Now
Fentanyl is devastating communities, and possession charges could equally devastate your or your loved one’s future. However, there are still options to consider and ways to avoid such harsh repercussions. To give your case the best chances of a positive resolution, you will need to work with an experienced Cleveland drug crime lawyer from the beginning.