Drug Crimes FAQ

Criminal Drug Crime Defense Lawyers in Columbus, OH | Sabol | Mallory

If you or your loved one was arrested or think that you could be under investigation for an alleged drug crime in the Columbus area, you will want to have legal representation involved as soon as possible. Make sure you have an attorney before you make any statement to authorities.


Sabol | Mallory will work to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.

What is the difference between actual possession and constructive possession?

Actual possession of a controlled substance simply means that drugs were found on your person, whether they were in your hands, your pockets, or a backpack. When one person had clear possession of drugs with nobody else having similar access, it is actual possession. Constructive possession of a controlled substance usually means that the drugs were found in a location to which multiple people may have had access. For example, drugs found in the glove compartment of a car or on the counter in somebody’s house could lead to a constructive possession situation. When a person is accused of constructive possession, then a prosecutor will typically have to prove that a person knew the drugs were present, they were aware the controlled substance was illegal, and they had control over the area in which the drugs were located.

What are drug schedules?

The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) encoded in Chapter 13 of Title 21 of the United States Code divides controlled substances into five schedules. Schedule I is controlled substances with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse such as cannabis (marijuana), heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy, or Molly), Schedule II is controlled substances with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence such as cocaine, meperidine (Demerol), methamphetamine, methadone, Adderall, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), fentanyl, Ritalin, and oxycodone (OxyContin), Schedule III is controlled substances with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence such as anabolic steroids, testosterone, and ketamine, Schedule IV is controlled substances with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence such as Tramadol, Ativan, Soma, Darvocet, Valium, Xanax, Talwin, Ambien, and Darvon, and Schedule V is controlled substances with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics such as Motofen, Lomotil, Parepectolin, and Lyrica. State controlled substance schedules in Ohio are established under Ohio Revised Code § 3719.41 and largely conform to the federal schedules. Any additions, deletions, or rescheduling made in the federal schedules automatically become part of the state schedule.

What constitutes drug trafficking?

Ohio Revised Code § 2925.03(A) establishes that no person can knowingly sell or offer to sell a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog, or prepare for shipment, ship, transport, deliver, prepare for distribution, or distribute a controlled substance or a controlled substance analog, when the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the controlled substance or a controlled substance analog is intended for sale or resale by the offender or another person. Either of these violations constitute drug trafficking, but it is important for people to keep in mind that state and federal drug trafficking charges are based more on the amount of a controlled substance involved. In other words, you do not need to be caught in the middle of a sale or transporting of drugs to be charged with drug trafficking.

What should I do when a police officer asks to search my vehicle?

While police officers are typically required to have warrants authorizing their searches of vehicles or residences, they only need probable cause during a traffic stop to instigate a search. The alleged smell of marijuana is frequently cited by many officers as being the evidence justifying searches in these cases. Keep in mind that you always have the right to refuse to consent to any search. When an officer continues with a search in defiance of your non-consent, a search conducted without reasonable probable cause can lead to the evidence being obtained through an illegal search and seizure and being inadmissible in court. If you have not been detained or arrested, you should always ask if you are free to leave. When a stop is being drawn out, do not wait to contact a lawyer.

When do drug crimes result in federal charges?

Most drug offenses in Ohio result in state charges. Some crimes are occasionally federal offenses. The most common reasons for a drug crime to result in federal charges include a federal agent making the arrest, the alleged crime occurring on federal property, the alleged crime involving the crossing of state lines, a federal informant naming an alleged offender, or some other catch-all provision.

How can a person legally obtain medical marijuana?

The passage of House Bill 523 in the summer of 2016 made medical marijuana legal everywhere in Ohio and established rules governing the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OOMCP). The 21 conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana include post-traumatic stress disorder, inflammatory bowel disease, intractable pain, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord disease or injury, ulcerative colitis, traumatic brain injury (TBI), sickle cell anemia, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Tourette syndrome, chronic pain, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, cancer, Crohn’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy and other seizure disorders, hepatitis C, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In order to gain Ohio marijuana dispensary access, you will need to obtain an Ohio medical marijuana card by scheduling an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor. The doctor can confirm that you have a qualifying condition and you pay a registration fee to be entered into the patient registry.

Can a person be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs?

Yes. While alcohol usually accounts for a majority of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) arrests in Ohio, drugs are still specifically mentioned as being the other possible cause of impairment. A drugged driving arrest is far more difficult for a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt than a drunk driving case though. Whereas evidence of intoxication involving alcohol is fairly well-understood with blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) readings and video evidence often providing valuable evidence, drug use can be much more challenging to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. A person who tests positive for a controlled substance may not have necessarily been under the influence of that drug at the time they were driving.

Will a court consider treatment instead of imprisonment for a drug addict?

Absolutely. Ohio’s drug courts were specifically designed to enhance treatment and support related services. These efforts have been shown to reduce recidivism and are ultimately more cost-effective than incarcerating offenders. When you are granted parole or treatment as a condition of your sentence instead of jail or prison, you must be sure to comply with all court requirements to avoid any possible consequences that could include the imposition of the original sentence.

Contact a Columbus Drug Crime Defense Attorney Today

Were you or your loved one arrested for an alleged drug crime in Columbus or a surrounding community in Franklin County? You will want to immediately retain legal counsel.


Sabol | Mallory has more than two decades of experience handling complex criminal cases, including drug charges. You can have our lawyers answer all of your legal questions when you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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