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Can criminal charges curb Ohio’s heroin crisis?

by | May 10, 2021 | Drug Charges

The heroin crisis in Ohio is seemingly endless. Individuals who find themselves addicted to the drug seem to be willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on this highly addictive drug. Some people think that imposing harsh criminal penalties will help curb this crisis. Many opponents of incarceration believe that nothing, including the prospect of imprisonment, will stop users from taking their chances to get their hands on heroin.

Some counties in the state have instituted special drug court programs that enable the addicts to get the help they need for their addictions. Judges oversee defendants’ participation in these drug rehabilitation programs. 

Defendants who complete these programs may be able to wean themselves off heroin and minimize their chances of taking part in the criminal justice system again.

Criminal penalties for heroin charges

All criminal charges for heroin-related matters are felonies. A defendant’s branding as a felon comes with some serious collateral consequences, such as challenges to finding a job or housing. Many defendants only focus on the short-term consequences of a conviction, such as incarceration. 

The amount of heroin that police find an individual in possession of dictates the charges that a defendant might face as per the following guidelines:

  • 1 to 5 grams: fifth-degree felony
  • 5 to 10 grams: fourth-degree felony
  • 10 to 50 grams: third-degree felony
  • 50 to 250 grams: second-degree felony
  • more than 250 grams: first-degree felony

Any defendant convicted on first-degree felony charges may receive the mandatory maximum prison term. 

Additional enhanced penalties exist if a judge or jury convicts a defendant of selling heroin within 1,000 feet of a school or 100 feet of a juvenile.

Anyone who’s facing drug charges should learn about their legal options. Your attorney can help you evaluate these to determine what defense strategy is most appropriate for your situation.