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Drug Crimes Archives

Possessing Two Or More Drugs At The Same Time Leads To Multiple Sentences

Last week, the 12th District Court of Appeals in State v. Woodard, 2017-Ohio-6914 held that drug possession charges based upon the simultaneous possession of two or more controlled substances are not allied offenses of similar import. Essentially, allied offenses of similar import are offenses committed by engaging in the same act with the same motivation or mindset. When someone commits two or more separate offenses that are allied offenses of similar import, the court must merge the sentences of the separate offenses (known as "merger" or "the merger doctrine").

What is Bulk Amount and how does it impact drug charges?

Drug offenses under Ohio law, such as possession or trafficking, can vary depending on the weight or the amount of drug involved. All illegal drugs, whether they are prescription or street drugs, have a baseline level of offense that can increase depending on the amount of the drug. For example, possession of marijuana starts as a minor misdemeanor whereas possession of cocaine is a fifth degree felony. These charges will increase based on the weight of the drug. Possession of marijuana becomes a fifth degree felony if the defendant possessed at least 200 grams but less than 1,000 grams. One other consideration to keep in mind is that if the drug is combined with other substances, such as baking soda and cocaine, marijuana brownies, or hash oil mixed with a substance, then the entire weight of the substance or compound is taken into account, not just the weight of the amount of the drug involved. So .99 pounds of baking soda mixed with .01 pounds of cocaine is 1 pound of cocaine. 

Update: Ohio Supreme Court Weighs In On The Weight Of Cocaine

In yet another update to previous blog posts (here, and here), the Ohio Supreme Court has reconsidered a case that has drastic implications for how the weight of drugs, and specifically cocaine, is determined. In State v. Gonzales, the Court initially held that the State must prove the weight of the actual cocaine, excluding any weight of filler materials used in the mixture. The State requested that the Court reconsider its decision and, when it did, it reversed its previous decision and now held that the entire "compound, mixture, preparation, or substance," including any fillers that are part of the usable drug, must be considered for the purpose of determining the appropriate penalty for cocaine possession.

Update: Ohio Supreme Court weighs in on the weight of cocaine

In an update to a previous blog post, the Ohio Supreme Court has decided a case that has drastic implications for how the weight of drugs, and specifically cocaine, is determined. In State v. Gonzales, the Court held that the State must prove the weight of the actual cocaine, excluding any weight of filler materials used in the mixture.

Ohio's New Good Samaritan Law

Ohio recently enacted a new law in an attempt to save lives as part in light of the state's worsening opioid and heroin overdose epidemic. On September 13, 2016, House Bill 110, also known as the Good Samaritan Law became effective. This law prevents overdose victims and those calling for aid from being charged criminally for minor drug possession offenses, which covers all misdemeanor and fifth degree felony possession offenses.

Drug Convictions And Student Aid

In addition to the mandatory driver's license suspension that must be imposed for a drug conviction in Ohio, Defendants, especially ones enrolled in or considering applying to college, must also be aware of the ramifications of a drug conviction on their student aid. The FAFSA application specifically asks, "Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans or work-study)?" Thus, even a conviction for a minor misdemeanor possession of marijuana can have major ramifications for financial aid.

Ohio Supreme Court Weighing The Weight Of Cocaine

The Ohio Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could have drastic implications for how the weight of drugs, and specifically cocaine, is determined. In State v. Gonzales, the Court will determine whether the State needs to prove the overall weight of a substance containing cocaine or only the weight of the actual cocaine in the substance. Currently, the State is only required to prove the overall weight of the substance. The Sixth District Court of Appeals, however, held in early 2015 that the State must prove the weight of the actual cocaine possessed by the Defendant.

Ohio Drug Sweep Nets 409 Arrests, $1.3 Million Seized

More than 400 people find themselves facing serious criminal charges after a statewide drug sweep spanning the last several weeks. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently told the media that the arrests resulted in 920 criminal charges. In addition to the seizure of $1.3 million in cash, drug task forces also seized:

Use Of Drug-Sniffing Dogs In Traffic Stops Remains Controversial

drug sniffing canine.jpgThe number of drug overdose deaths in Ohio tripled during little more than a decade, reaching 16.1 per 100,000 in 2013. The drug problem has spurred new laws and an increased emphasis on arrests for drug trafficking and possession. Unfortunately, Ohio's efforts to control the problem may result in infringing people's constitutional rights.

Skyrocketing Heroin Overdose Deaths Have Officials' Attention

Hamilton County heroin deaths increased 183 percent from 2005 to 2014, putting it at the forefront of the epidemic gripping much of America. Increased supply and decreased prices are boosting heroin use throughout a large number of demographics. The drug has a dependence rate of 23 percent for first-time users, fueling its presence in just about every community in Southwest Ohio.

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