Drugs and Handcuff

FAQ: Drug Charges

Wolfe & Mote Law Group, LLC March 21, 2024

The moment you are confronted with drug charges, a multitude of questions might flood your mind. What are my rights? What happens next? Can these charges affect my future employment or education opportunities? By breaking down these legal principles into understandable insights, we hope to demystify the legal process and empower you to navigate these circumstances with greater confidence and understanding.  

1: What Constitutes a Drug Charge?  

Drug charges can vary widely, ranging from possession and trafficking to distribution and manufacturing of illegal substances. The severity of charges often depends on the type and quantity of the drug, the intended use, and the individual's criminal history.  

2: Can I Be Charged for Having Prescription Medication Not Prescribed to Me?  

Yes, possession of prescription medication without a valid prescription can lead to drug possession charges. This includes medications found on your person, in your vehicle, or within your living space. It's important to carry prescription medication in its original container with your name clearly labeled to avoid potential legal issues.  

3. What Should I Do If I'm Arrested for Drug Charges?  

If you're arrested for drug charges, the most important step is to exercise your right to remain silent. Do not attempt to explain, justify, or discuss the situation with law enforcement, as anything you say can be used against you. Politely inform the officers that you wish to speak with an experienced attorney and refrain from further discussion until your legal representation is present.  

4. How Can a Lawyer Help Me With Drug Charges?  

An experienced drug charge attorney can provide several crucial services, including evaluating the strength of the evidence against you, negotiating with prosecutors for reduced charges or sentencing, representing you in court, and offering guidance through the legal system. Their experience can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.  

5. What Is the Most Common Drug Charge in Ohio?  

In Ohio, the most common drug charge is drug possession. In 2019 ,drug offenders comprised 26.9% of felony offenders, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. This charge applies when an individual is found to be illegally in possession of a controlled substance, ranging from prescription medications not prescribed to them, to illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin. The severity of the charge can vary based on the type and amount of the drug found, as well as the individual’s prior criminal history.   

Ohio’s drug laws are stringent, and the consequences of a drug possession charge can be significant, impacting not only the immediate legal outcomes but also future employment, housing, and educational opportunities.  

Although drug possession is the most common charge, other charges like drug trafficking are just as serious.  

6. What Are the Potential Consequences of Drug Charges?  

The consequences of drug charges can vary widely, from fines and community service to probation, rehabilitation programs, or imprisonment. The severity of the sentencing often depends on the nature of the charges, the defendant's criminal history, and other mitigating or aggravating factors.  

7. Can Drug Charges Be Dropped or Reduced?  

In some cases, it may be possible to have drug charges dropped or reduced, particularly if there are issues with how the evidence was obtained (e.g., violation of search and seizure laws) or if it's a first-time offense. An attorney can evaluate your case for such possibilities and negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf.  

8. What Is a Plea Bargain, and Should I Consider It?  

A plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or one of multiple charges in exchange for a lighter sentence. Whether to accept a plea bargain is a decision that should be made with the advice of your attorney, considering the strength of the evidence against you and the likelihood of a favorable outcome at trial.  

9. Do Previous Convictions Affect the Outcome of Current Drug Charges?  

Yes, previous convictions, especially those related to drug offenses, can significantly impact the outcome of current drug charges. Judges often consider an individual's criminal history when determining sentencing, and repeat offenses could lead to harsher penalties. Inform your lawyer about any past convictions to better strategize your defense.  

10. Is There a Difference Between State and Federal Drug Charges?  

Absolutely. Federal drug charges generally come with more severe penalties compared to state charges, including longer prison sentences, larger fines, and stricter probation conditions. Federal charges might be applied if the alleged drug activity crosses state lines or involves large quantities of drugs.   

11. How Long Can Drug Charge Cases Take to Resolve?  

The duration of drug charge cases can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the jurisdiction, and the court's workload. Minor possession charges may be resolved in a few months, while more serious trafficking or distribution charges could take a year or more to go through the trial and sentencing process. Your attorney can provide a more specific timeline based on the details of your case.  

12. Can Drug Charges Affect My Employment or Housing Opportunities?  

Yes, a drug charge conviction can have significant repercussions beyond legal penalties, potentially affecting your employment and housing opportunities. Some employers and landlords conduct background checks and may be hesitant to hire or rent to individuals with a criminal record. It's advisable to discuss these concerns with your Ohio criminal defense lawyer, who can advise on possible steps to mitigate these impacts, such as expungement or sealing of criminal records where applicable.  

13. What Is Drug Court and Am I Eligible?

Drug court is an alternative to traditional court that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment for drug offenders, particularly those struggling with addiction. Participants typically undergo a program that includes treatment, drug testing, and regular court appearances. Eligibility varies by jurisdiction and usually depends on the nature of the offense and the defendant's criminal history. Your lawyer can assess whether drug court is a viable option and advise on the benefits and obligations involved.  

Answering Your Questions With Care

Facing drug charges is undoubtedly challenging, but understanding your legal rights and the judicial process can equip you to handle the situation more effectively. Always consult with a knowledgeable attorney like Wolfe & Mote Law Group, LLC who can guide you through the process, advocate on your behalf, and strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Located in Columbus, Ohio, they proudly serve clients throughout Dublin, Westerville, Gahanna, Hilliard, and the surrounding counties.