Ohio residents may not be aware that drug distribution charges are usually more serious than drug possession charges. However, people often face both together, making the resulting punishment even more serious than it would have been had only one of the charges been filed. Therefore, it is important to understand the difference between the two criminal charges so one can contribute to their defense.
The first thing to know is that schedules outline different types of controlled substances, based on how addictive a drug is and the potential to abuse it. For example, the most dangerous drugs are Schedule 1 drugs, such as LSD, marijuana and heroin. Schedule II drugs are OxyContin and cocaine whereas Schedule III is consists of testosterone and anabolic steroids.
Drug distribution laws make it illegal to sell, transport, and import unlawful controlled substances mentioned above. The severity of the punishment depends on the drug being trafficked, their quantity, the area where drugs were being distributed and if children were involved. For example, if the drug involved was in Schedule I or II, one can be charged for committing aggravated drug trafficking, which is a felony in the fourth degree. If the act took place near a school, it would be a felony in the third degree. Penalties for drug trafficking include jail time, court costs, fines and suspension of driver’s license.
Drug possession on the other hand is when someone willfully possesses drugs or the chemicals used to manufacture and cultivate them. Therefore, the person being accused of possession must have known that the drugs in question were either a controlled substance and that he or she had possession or control over the drug.
Drug crimes such as possession and distribution charges are often combined, so someone facing one charge is generally facing the other. It is important to understand that distribution charges are more serious than possession ones and can result in stiffer penalties, so one should not just accept their lumping together without putting up an aggressive defense. Consulting an experienced attorney for guidance on how to defend one’s rights can be one way to proceed.