Facing Drug Charges in Cleveland?

Drug charges can result in serious penalties ranging from expensive fines to court costs and time in prison. If you are facing drug charges in Ohio, you need an experienced Cleveland drug charges lawyer from the Botnick Law Firm to build a strong defense for your case. You need a lawyer who will fight aggressively to achieve the best possible outcome and protect your rights.

Call us today to get the representation you deserve.


In addition to the federal controlled substances schedule, Ohio also has its own schedule. Drugs are divided into five categories:

  • Schedule I: These substances have the highest risk of abuse and no medically accepted use. They include marijuana, LSD, heroin, ecstasy, and other hallucinogenic drugs. Some Schedule I drugs are treated differently than others.
  • Schedule II: These substances also have a high risk of abuse or dependency but may have medically accepted uses. Drugs in this category include opium, cocaine, methamphetamine, GHB, and many opioids.
  • Schedule III: These substances have a moderate risk of abuse but also have legitimate medical use. Some painkillers, barbiturates, and anabolic steroids fall into this category.
  • Schedule IV: These drugs have medical use and a low risk of abuse. They include depression and anxiety medication.
  • Schedule V: These drugs have medical use and the lowest risk of addiction. They include over-the-counter medications and common prescription drugs.


Some of the most common drug charges in Ohio include:

Drug Possession

In the state of Ohio, it is illegal to knowingly possess or obtain a controlled substance unless you:

  • Have a prescription for the substance,
  • Have a license to prescribe drugs, OR
  • You are a manufacturer.

Drug Paraphernalia

ORC Chapter 2925.14 defines drug paraphernalia as any equipment, material, or product used or intended to use for cultivating, manufacturing, processing, preparing, producing, ingesting, packaging, containing, storing, or concealing. Under this law, it is illegal to use, sell or advertise for sale drug paraphernalia.

Drug Trafficking

Ohio law prohibits the sale, transport, delivery, and distribution of controlled substances. Various factors will determine the charges, including the quantity of drugs in possession. Drug trafficking is a serious crime, and it requires the help of an experienced Cleveland criminal defense lawyer.

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Penalties for a Cleveland Drug Conviction


Although marijuana is considered a Schedule I substance, it is treated differently from other drugs in this category.

Penalties for marijuana crimes include:

  • For less than 100 grams: A misdemeanor in most cases. Penalties include a $150 fine in addition to court costs. There is no jail time for this offense.
  • For 100-199 grams: A fourth-degree misdemeanor. Penalties include up to 30 days in jail and up to $250 in fines.
  • For 200-299 grams: A fifth-degree felony. Penalties include one year in prison and fines up to $2,500.
  • For 1,000-4,999 grams: A third-degree felony. Penalties include up to three years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.


Like marijuana, heroin is charged differently than other Schedule I drugs. The amount of heroin will determine the charges:

  • For less than 1 gram: A fifth-degree felony. Penalties include 6-12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
  • For 1-4 grams: A fourth-degree felony. Penalties include 6-18 months in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • For 5-9 grams: A third-degree felony. Penalties include 9 months to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • For 10-49 grams: A second-degree felony. Penalties include 2-8 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
  • For 50-249 grams: A first-degree felony. Penalties include 3-11 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
  • Over 250 grams: A first-degree felony. Penalties include mandatory 11 years in prison and fines up to $20,000.

A Cleveland felony lawyer can help you create a solid defense to lower your charges and reduce your penalties. The Botnick Law Firm can provide you with legal representation. Call today.

Drug Possession

Possession of a scheduled substance can result in harsh penalties:

  • Schedule I or II drugs: You may face fifth-degree felony charges.
  • Schedule III, IV, or V drugs: You may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or felony.

Penalties are more significant if you possess large amounts of a drug or have a previous drug conviction.

Drug Trafficking

Trafficking is a serious crime with severe consequences. The penalties will depend on the controlled substance being trafficked, the amount being trafficked, and other factors.

  • The penalty for trafficking a small amount of marijuana may be charged as a fifth-degree felony and result in 6-12 months in prison.
  • Trafficking large amounts of cocaine can result in up to 11 years in prison and may be charged as a first-degree felony.

A drug trafficking conviction can also result in the loss of your driver’s license and even the loss of your professional license.

Drug Paraphernalia

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. The sale, advertisement of sale, or intent to sell drug paraphernalia is a second-degree misdemeanor. If you are selling or intend to sell to minors, the charges are higher and may result in a first-degree misdemeanor.

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer


If you’re facing drug charges in Ohio, you need the help of an experienced Cleveland drug charges lawyer. Convictions can result in serious penalties that can follow you for the rest of your life. A lawyer can answer your questions, advise you on what to do, create a solid defense for you, and help you achieve a favorable case outcome.


Facing drug charges? If you are unsure what to do next and need help navigating the complicated Ohio drug offense laws, contact The Botnick Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. Your future is at stake. Call us now to get the help you deserve. An experienced Cleveland drug crime lawyer can help get you through this.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation.

Process step-by-step

  • 01.
    Initial Arrest

    01. Initial Arrest

    The process to charge someone that’s been accused of a crime begins with an arrest. If the police have reason to believe that someone has committed a crime, the accused can be taken into custody. Police will usually start by asking basic questions like name and address to identify a person, and then they’ll often pivot to more specific questions related to the incident. At some point during this, you should have been read your “Miranda warnings.”

  • 02.
    Reading Your Rights

    02. Reading Your Rights

    You have the right to remain silent to avoid disclosing evidence that could potentially be self-incriminating, as well as the right to an attorney to defend you in court. Those are your unwavering rights that must be recited upon taking someone into custody. Take note of when these rights are read to you, as it could be helpful information for your attorney.

  • 03.

    03. Booking

    When you’ve been taken down to the station, police will fingerprint you and get your photograph to update their records. Once this is done, you should be granted the opportunity to contact your criminal defense lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a loved one to book a consultation with a lawyer on your behalf. It’s important that you do NOT disclose any details about your case over the phone with your loved ones, as those calls are monitored.

  • 04.

    04. Investigation

    After you’ve made it through the booking process, the police may begin conducting their investigation with you. Depending on the situation, this might include a personal search, collecting samples, interviewing/interrogating, police lineups, etc.

  • 05.
    Court Appearance

    05. Court Appearance

    You’ll be held at the station until you can be brought before a judge. The initial court appearance will happen within 48 hours or less of the arrest. Here, the judge will review the case and decide if there’s any reason to keep you in holding or if bail can be granted. If bail is granted, you’re allowed to be released upon certain conditions.

  • 06.

    06. Hearing

    Depending on the seriousness of your allegations, you may have a preliminary hearing at which a judge can determine whether enough evidence exists to charge you with that level of crime. You’ll be able to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” If you plead not guilty, your case will be sent to trial. You may get the opportunity to enter a plea deal. That’s something your attorney will advise you on.

  • 07.

    07. Discovery

    In the discovery stage, the case against you is made much more transparent. The prosecutor will share the evidence they have against you with your defense attorney. During this time, your attorney can make additional requests for evidence if need be. All of the evidence on the table will be considered, and your lawyer will work with you to form the best plan for your defense.

  • 08.

    08. Trial

    If a plea deal is unable to be reached, the case will enter trial. During the trial, the prosecutor begins by presenting the case to the jury. They share any evidence they have against you and have witnesses make their statements for the prosecution. This can be tough to sit through. Afterward, it’s your lawyer’s turn to take the stands and share your side of the story. Your lawyer can question the prosecutor’s witnesses and all of the evidence that was used against you. There are many different strategies that your lawyer will use to defend you during the trial.

  • 09.

    09. Sentencing

    In a best-case scenario, you will have been found not guilty by the end of the trial, and the charges against you have been dropped. If you are found guilty, the judge must determine what your sentence/penalties will be. The sentencing will happen at another hearing, usually a few weeks after your trial ends.

Ohio Felony Sentencing

Prison TIme
Maximum Fine
First Degree
3-11 years
Second Degree
2-8 years
Third Degree
9-36 or 12-60 months
Fourth Degree
6-8 months
Fifth Degree
6-12 months

Ohio Misdemeanor Sentencing

Jail Time
Maximum Fine
First Degree
Up to 180 days
Second Degree
Up to 90 days
Third Degree
Up to 60 days
Fourth Degree
Up to 30 days
Minor Misdemeanor

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get a drug possession charge dropped?

Fighting to get a drug possession (or any other drug charge) dropped is a process that should not be approached on your own. If you are convicted of drug charges they could leave a permanent stain on your record. An experienced Cleveland drug charges lawyer can look at the particulars of your situation and determine the best ways to fight the charges. Oftentimes they will work to prove that there was some piece of your arrest that was handled incorrectly – such as lack of reasonable suspicion or improper search of your possessions.

Can a felony drug charge be reduced to a misdemeanor in Ohio?

The most serious drug offenses in Ohio will be charged as felonies instead of misdemeanors – generally, felony drug charges involve possession of large amounts of one or multiple substances clearly with the intent to sell or distribute. In some situations, it is possible for an experienced drug charges lawyer to fight for a reduced charge if they are able to prove that the situation was not as serious as originally charged.

How can I defend my drug charges?

Defending drug charges is a serious undertaking and it is not advisable to go about it on your own. Working with an experienced Cleveland drug charges lawyer will give you the best possible defense against your charges. They will be able to comb through the details of your arrest and the ensuing charges in order to come up with the best plan for trying to get your charges reduced or possibly even dropped altogether.

Ohio Courts System

We have successfully represented clients across Northern Ohio. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help you too. Don’t delay. The district attorney is building their case against you right now.

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