Ohio Marijuana Possession and Legal Defenses

Drug Crimes

September 12, 2017

While medical marijuana was recently ruled more or less legal for some drug users with permission from their doctors, others who don’t have qualifying conditions or who want to use the drug recreationally might still be charged for possession of marijuana. Not only could you face prosecution by the state of Ohio, but you could also be federally charged. For those who are caught with the drug, there are several defenses a skilled criminal defense attorney may use.

Ohio’s Marijuana Possession Defined

While marijuana possession and use are becoming legal in some states throughout the country, it is still currently illegal in the state of Ohio. It can lead to possible fines, jail time, and a conviction of marijuana possession results in a minimum suspension of your driver’s license for six months. The idea of possession is a little abstract and has some gray areas. For example, you do not need to have marijuana on you to possess it. It may not be in your pocket or glove compartment, but if it’s at your work locker, it is in your possession. On the contrary, if your passenger places marijuana under your car seat without your knowledge, it is not in your possession.

In Ohio, marijuana possession can be classified as a minor misdemeanor, misdemeanor, or felony. The minor misdemeanor is possession of fewer than 100 grams and carries no criminal record or jail time but may have a fine up to $150. The misdemeanor is possession of 100-200 grams and can have jail time up to 30 days and a fine up to $250. The felony possession charge is anything over 200 grams with longer jail times for more quantities. Like many laws, there are some wrinkles of the law to be aware of. Possession of marijuana-related substances such as hashish and hash oil carry similar penalties but require fewer amounts due to the potency. All of these can carry harsher penalties if you are caught in a neighboring state. The surrounding states do not care where you bought the marijuana, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of their laws.

Affirmative Defense for Marijuana Possession in OH

The defense people with legal prescriptions can use is the affirmative defense. If you have been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, your doctor has told you about the risks and benefits of using medical marijuana, and the physician thinks the benefits to you outweigh the risks, you can use affirmative defense to avoid a criminal charge. You must have a note from your doctor outlining the above apply to you, and you must have been consuming or using cannabis as specified in the Ohio laws.

Unlawful Search and Seizure in Ohio

For those who don’t qualify for an affirmative defense, you may be able to argue the drugs were illegally searched and seized by the police. Officers can’t search your property without your permission unless there is an emergency or they can see contraband in full view of where they are legally able to be. If your attorney can prove the drugs were seized unconstitutionally, the prosecution will have little to no evidence against you.

Drugs Weren’t Yours

Just because it might be a cliché, it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Claiming the drugs are not yours is a potential defense. The prosecution’s job is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the drugs belong to you. If you and your attorney can cast doubt on this, a reasonable jury will not be able to convict you.

If you’re facing charges for possessing marijuana, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our skilled Akron drug crimes attorneys about your case as soon as possible. The faster we get the details of your circumstances, the sooner we can mount a defense on your behalf. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at 330-762-7477 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today.