What Factors Result in an Aggravated Drug Possession Charge?

In Ohio, as in all other states, it is illegal for a person to possess certain controlled substances. The state has very strict drug laws, and a person can be charged with either possession of drugs or aggravated possession of drugs. What distinguishes the two offenses?

Controlled Substances Schedule

To understand the difference between possession of drugs and aggravated possession of drugs, it’s important to know about the state’s controlled substances schedule. The schedule lists drugs according to their medical use, the potential for abuse, and the possibility of causing psychological or physical dependence.

There are 5 drug schedules under Ohio law:

  • Schedule 1: Those without any accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Acetylmethadol
    • Dextromoramide
    • Heroin
    • Marihuana
    • Morphine methylbromide
  • Schedule 2: These substances are those that have a high potential for abuse and can cause severe psychological or physical dependence. Those listed under Ohio law include, but are not limited to:
    • Raw opium
    • Codeine
    • Morphine
    • Oxycodone
    • Fentanyl
  • Schedule 3: Have an accepted medical use, a potential for abuse that’s less than Schedule 2 drugs, and have a low potential to cause psychological or physical dependence. Controlled substances in this schedule include, but are not limited to:
    • Benzphetamine
    • Clortermine
    • Depressants
    • Ketamine
    • Methyprylon
  • Schedule 4: These drugs have a lower potential for abuse than those in Schedule 3. Those listed under Ohio law include, but are not limited to:
    • Barbital
    • Clobazam
    • Diazepam
    • Haloxazolam
    • Meprobamate
  • Schedule 5: These have the lowest potential for abuse relative to the substances listed in the earlier schedules. They include, but are not limited to:
    • Narcotic drugs
    • Narcotics-narcotic preparations
    • Stimulants

From Possession to Aggravated Possession

A person could be charged with possession of a controlled substance when they have on them a drug that’s listed in Schedules 3 through 5. The penalties they face for a conviction depend on the type and amount of drug. For instance, having less than 5 times the bulk amount of a controlled substance is a fourth-degree felony. However, possessing between 5 and 50 times the bulk amount is a third-degree felony.

Under O.R.C. 2925.11, the offense becomes aggravated possession when a person has a compound, mixture, or substance listed in Schedules 1 or 2.

The exception to this charge is if the drug in question was:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • L.S.D.
  • Heroin
  • Hashish

Generally, this offense is charged as a fifth-degree felony.

However, the class increases as follows:

  • Third-degree felony: Possessing less than 5 times the bulk amount.
  • Second-degree felony: Possessing 5 times but less than 50 times the bulk amount.
  • First-degree felony: Possessing over 50 times but less than 100 times the bulk amount, or 100 times or more of the bulk amount (in this case, the individual charged is considered a major drug offender).

If you’re facing a drug crime charge in Union County, contact Bridges, Jillisky, Streng, Weller & Gullifer, LLC. We have extensive experience handling criminal matters, and we will provide effective defense for your case. Call us at (937) 403-9033 or contact us online.