Ohio Drug Laws

The state has extremely strict laws when it comes to drug crimes. If you knowingly obtain, possess, or use a controlled substance, you can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and penalized according to Ohio state law. Drug possession laws carry heavy consequences, such as incarceration and substantial fines.

Additionally, Ohio drug laws are complex compared to other states’ drug possession laws. If you are arrested for drug possession, your criminal charge will be based on the following controlled substance drug “scheduling” found in O.R.C. Section 3719.41:

  • Schedule I (most dangerous) – Drugs that are highly addictive and have no medicinal purposes like GHB, ecstasy, and LSD.
  • Schedule II – Drugs with no medicinal purposes and have high likelihood of abuse like amphetamines, opium, methadone, and cocaine.
  • Schedule III – Drugs similar to Schedule II but with less abuse potential, including anabolic steroids, codeine, testosterone, ketamine, and various depressants.
  • Schedule IV – Drugs with medicinal purposes and low likelihood of abuse like some sedatives and tranquilizers.
  • Schedule V (least dangerous) – Drugs with valid medicinal purposes and exceptionally low abuse potential like over-the-counter like cough suppressants or codeine.

More Information on Ohio Drug Possession Laws

When it comes to drug possession laws in Ohio, it’s best to be informed. However, if you’re in a situation where you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with drug crimes, give DiCaudo, Pitchford and Yoder a call as soon as possible. We’ll be able to walk you or your loved one through the process and work to get the best possible outcome available for your case.

Ohio Statute of Limitations for Criminal Offenses

According to Ohio’s Revised Code 2901.13, minor misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and felonies all have a different statute of limitation for a criminal offense, including drug possession and trafficking, assault and battery, murder and manslaughter, and domestic violence, which you will find below:

  • Minor Misdemeanor: Six Months
  • Misdemeanor (other than a minor misdemeanor): Two Years
  • Felony: Six Years

Based on your potential drug charge, your statute of limitation could last 20 years. The Ohio law states that the statute of limitation does not “start” until concrete evidence of the crime is confirmed, the accused flees the state or hides their identity to avoid the prosecution, or if the accused has been prosecuted for the same crime the state has pending.

Drug Possession Penalties and Sentencing

If you’re being accused of a drug crime, the type of drug and the amount of drug will influence the type of sentence and the length of that sentence. Below are some general examples of drug possession sentencing and penalties:

First Degree Misdemeanor (less than bulk amount)

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • A fine up to $1000
  • Second and subsequent offenders are charged with a fifth degree felony, a six to 12 month jail sentence, and/or fines up to $2500.

Second Degree Misdemeanor (more than bulk amount; less than five times bulk amount)

  • Fourth-degree felony
  • No less than nine months in jail
  • Fines of up to $5000

Including the penalties above, the accused may also have their driver’s license suspended, receive probation, or be placed in a diversion program.

Ohio Drug Trafficking Statute of Limitations

Ohio takes drug trafficking seriously and charges those persecuted with heavy fines, penalties, forfeiture of property, license suspensions, and jail time. Depending on the level of offense you’re being charged with, the statute of limitations could range from six months to 20 years.

If you’ve been charged with drug trafficking, you’ve been accused of knowingly offering or selling a controlled substance or its analog to another person or group of people. Additionally, you may also be accused of drug trafficking for preparing, delivering, transporting, or shipping a controlled substance or its analog.

A controlled substance is generally defined as a drug, mixture, compound, or substance included in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s drug scheduling categories and found in Ohio’s Revised Code.

Drug Trafficking Sentencing and Penalties

Sentencing and penalties related to drug trafficking charges are serious. If you’ve been accused of drug distribution, you could face anywhere from six months to 11 years of jail time. The sentencing length is dependant on the amount and type of drug you’ve been accused of trafficking. For example, in Ohio, trafficking a small amount of marijuana is considered a fifth degree felony, and trafficking more than 27 grams of cocaine is a first degree felony, which also carries up to $20,000 in fines.

Outside of fines directly associated with the level of offense you’re being charged with, you could be made responsible for court costs, jail fees, and the trafficking investigative costs related to your apprehension and potential prosecution. It’s important to be informed, but it’s imperative you have a criminal defense attorney in your corner to defend you against accusations and charges to get the best possible outcome for you and your case.

More Drug Trafficking Penalties

Not only will you pay fines, court costs, and more, but you could also forfeit any and all proceeds gained and property used in the drug trafficking operation. This means vehicles, buildings, and other substantial items. Additionally, your driver’s license could be suspended, and your professional license could be affected. If convicted, the court must transmit a copy to the appropriate boards or agencies, which have the right to suspend or revoke the professional license.

Good Samaritan Law – Drug Overdose

Ohio enacted what’s called a “Good Samaritan” law. The law pertains to persecuting persons who have committed a minor drug possession crime after they’ve called 911 for assistance due to a drug overdose. It’s important to know this law, because, whether you’re in a personal situation or you’re with someone you love, the law encourages you to call emergency services for your own well-being and the safety of others.

The law is applicable to “qualified individuals,” a person not on probation (community control) or parole (post-release control), who seeks medical attention for their own overdose or another individual’s overdose.

The law is a part of O.R.C. 2925.11. It was a direct response to the heroin epidemic throughout Ohio and the nation. In summary, the law explains that no individual can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, or penalized for a minor drug possession infraction if the following apply to the person’s situation:

  • If the evidence for the minor drug charge was obtained due to the qualified individual seeking medical assistance.
  • If the qualified individual seeks a screening and obtains a referral to a professionally certified addiction treatment person or community within thirty days of initial medical assistance.
  • If the qualified individual submits proper documentation to prosecuting attorney and satisfies the division of law protecting them from arrest, charges, prosecution, and penalizing.

The “Good Samaritan” law applies to the individual seeking medical attention or that of a loved one seeking medical attention for the person. For example, if a parent, friend, or spouse found a loved one who had overdosed on drugs and called 911 for medical assistance, the individual who overdosed could not be arrested, charged, prosecuted, or penalized for the minor drug possession if they satisfied the division of Ohio law surrounding the “Good Samaritan” law.

Akron’s Violent Crimes Defense Attorneys

There are a wide range of criminal laws identifiable in Ohio’s statutes like assault, battery, domestic violence, murder, and manslaughter. If you’ve been arrested and charged with any of these crimes, it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Ohio laws are complex, and you should be guided through the process by a legal professional like a criminal defense attorney from DiCaudo, Pitchford, and Yoder in Akron. Whether you or a loved one has been charged with a violent crime, give our firm a call today, and we’ll work to get the best outcome possible for your case.

Assault and Battery Laws

Ohio’s assault laws include both “assault” and “battery” offenses. When a person knowingly causes or intends to cause harm to another person or that person’s unborn child, it is considered assault in Ohio. A person accused of battery intentionally or negligently causes offensive physical contact or harm to another person. Ohio separates assault into two degrees: simple and aggravated.

Simple and Negligent Assault Law and Penalties

As a first degree misdemeanor, simple assault is intentionally attempting or causing harm to another person or their unborn child; it also includes the reckless cause of serious physical harm to another person or that person’s unborn child.

The penalties for simple assault prosecution can be the following:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Victim restitution

As a third degree misdemeanor, negligent assault is the causing of physical harm through the neglectful use of a deadly weapon such as in a hunting accident.

The penalties and fines for negligent assault can be the following:

  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Fines up to $500
  • Victim restitution

Felony and Aggravated Assault Laws and Penalties

Felony assault is the cause of serious physical harm to another person or that person’s unborn child; it can also be the attempt or cause of physical harm to another person or the person’s unborn child with the use of a deadly weapon.

As a second degree felony, the felony assault penalties can include:

  • Potential jail time of between 2-8 years
  • Fines up to $20,000
  • Victim restitution

Aggravated assault is the causing of serious physical harm to a person or that person’s unborn child with or without the use of a deadly weapon, which is committed through the influence of passion or a fit of rage.

As a fourth-degree felony, aggravated assault penalties can include:

  • Jail time between 18 months and six years
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Victim restitution

Murder and Manslaughter


In Ohio, there are various types and degrees of murder. For murder, there is first degree and second degree, which are separated into murder and aggravated murder. Also, manslaughter is separated into three types: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular. We’ll be discussing the various degrees and types in the following section. Nonetheless, if you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with any of these violent crimes, you need to seek legal counsel from a criminal defense lawyer like the professionals at DiCaudo, Pitchford, and Yoder. Give us a call today to get started on your case.

Murder Laws and Penalties

First Degree Murder

This degree of murder is also defined as aggravated murder; it’s planned with intent and purpose to commit the act. Aggravated murder includes a specific type of victim along with “aggravating” circumstances.

If prosecuted, those charged with aggravated murder will experience sentencing from life imprisonment to capital punishment.

Felony Murder

A murder committed while perpetrating another crime can be charged as a felony murder, which results in an intended or accidental death during a kidnapping, rape, arson, robbery, burglary, trespassing, terrorism, or escape.

Second Degree Murder

This degree of murder is defined as intentionally killing another person or the death of another person that occurs without premeditation while in the act of committing a felony. Unlike voluntary manslaughter, first-degree murder is not committed in the “heat of passion” or a “fit of rage.”

The penalty of second-degree murder can include life imprisonment or a prison term of a determined time period with opportunity for parole.

Manslaughter Laws and Penalties

The complex nature of Ohio violent crime laws is meant to cover the breadth of murder, manslaughter, and various violent crimes committed in the state. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in any degree, give DiCaudo, Pitchford, and Yoder a call immediately. Our 30-plus years of legal expertise will be used to get the best result possible for you or your loved one’s case. Below are the various degrees and types of manslaughter.

Voluntary Manslaughter


A person who intentionally kills another person out of adequate emotional passion, rage, or anger without reasonable time to calm down. Murder and voluntary manslaughter both involve killing with intent and purpose, but voluntary manslaughter involves serious emotional excitement on the accused’s actions.

The penalties for voluntary manslaughter are that of first-degree felony, which is three to 11 years in prison.

Involuntary Manslaughter

If a person kills someone else as the result of committing a misdemeanor or felony, it can be considered involuntary manslaughter. The death of the victim must be considered unintentional and a result of the accused committing a misdemeanor or felony.

The penalties for involuntary manslaughter if occurred during a first-degree felony is three to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines. If the involuntary manslaughter was committed during a third-degree felony, the prison sentence can be one to five years with fines up to $10,000.

If the charged is acquitted, the family of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit, which will need legal counsel.

Vehicular Manslaughter

In general, Ohio defines the offense of causing someone’s wrongful death with a motor vehicle as vehicular manslaughter. Dissimilar to a murder charge, vehicular manslaughter is the result of a person, without intent to kill, killing another person with their vehicle. Ohio separates these offenses into three categories: vehicular manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and aggravated vehicular homicide.

The penalties for vehicular manslaughter and its various categories are as follows:

Vehicular manslaughter:

A second degree misdemeanor results in up to 90 days in jail and a mandatory suspension of driver’s license between six months to three years.
If elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor, the persecuted will face up to six months jail time and incur a driver’s license suspension.

Vehicular Homicide:

  • If committed in negligence, the persecuted can face up to six months in jail and a mandatory driver’s license suspension of between one to five years.
  • If committed while speeding through a construction zone, the persecuted can face up to six months in jail with a mandatory 15-day jail sentence, and their license will be suspended for one to five years.
  • If the committed while license is suspended, incurred a previous charge of vehicular manslaughter, any traffic related homicide, or assault offense, the persecuted can face up to 18 months in jail and a driver’s license suspension between two years to life.

Aggravated Vehicular Homicide:

  • If committed while driving under the influence, the persecuted can face up to two to eight years of jail time and a mandatory driver’s license suspension for life.
  • If committed while license is suspended, a prior vehicular homicide or vehicular assault has been processed, the persecuted can face up between 11 and 15 years jail time with the potential for driver’s license suspension for life.
  • If the persecuted is recklessly operating a motor vehicle, their sentence can result in one to five years in prison and a driver’s license suspension between three years and life.

If you or a loved one has been charged with any form of manslaughter, whether voluntary, involuntary, or vehicular, you will need legal counsel to represent you or your loved one throughout the entire case. Don’t wait to hire a criminal defense lawyer, give DiCaudo, Pitchford, and Yoder a call today!