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Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance

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Felony possession can be charged when a person has –

  • Physical control of a controlled substance
  • Dominion over a controlled substance
  • Access to a controlled substance

A controlled substance can be defined as –

  • A prescription medication that was prescribed for someone else
  • An illegal drug or material or compound or substance that is listed as scheduled/controlled/restricted

Felony Possession Penalties

Each drug listed as controlled is defined by state by type and bulk amount. The type and amount of a substance, as well as intent to sell or distribute will be used to determine the punishment. Ohio's laws are typical: 

Generally, a person charged with possession of a schedule I or II drug is guilty of a 5th degree felony, however -

  • If the amount equals the defined bulk amount but is less than 5 times the bulk amount it is a 3rd degree felony
  • If the amount is more than 5 times but less than 50 the bulk amount, it is a 2nd degree felony
  • If the amount is more than 50 times but less than 100 times the bulk amount it is a 1st degree felony
  • If the amount exceeds 100 times the bulk amount, the defender is considered a major drug offender and will be sentenced to maximum prison term and possible additional prison terms.

If a person is charged with a schedule III, IV or V drug, they are guilty of 1st degree misdemeanor, however –

  • If the amount equals the defined bulk amount but is less than 5 times the bulk amount it is a 4th degree felony
  • If the amount is more than 5 times but less than 50 the bulk amount, it is a 3rd degree felony
  • If the amount is more than 50 times the bulk amount it is a 2nd degree felony

Marijuana, and cocaine are often listed with their own specific punishments. Generally marijuana possession is punished as –

  • A misdemeanor offense for less than 200 grams
  • A 5th degree felony for up to 1,000 grams
  • A 4th degree felony for up to 5,000 grams
  • A 3rd degree felony for up to 20,000 grams
  • A 2nd degree felony for anything over 20,000 grams

Cocaine possession is generally punished as –

  • A 4th degree felony for up to 25 grams (5 grams for crack cocaine)
  • A 3rd degree felony for up to 100 grams (10 grams for crack cocaine)
  • A 2nd degree felony for up to 500 grams (25 grams for crack cocaine)
  • A 1st degree felony for anything over 1,000 grams (100 grams for crack cocaine)

The laws and penalties regarding felony classes and offenses vary for each state. The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice, and those accused of felony possession should seek legal counsel immediately.

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