Trafficking in Heroin

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with trafficking in heroin in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your heroin trafficking case.

Trafficking in Heroin Under Ohio Law

Pursuant to ORC 2925.03, no person shall sell or offer to sell heroin. Moreover, no person shall prepare for shipment, ship, transport, etc. marijuana when the person knows or has reasonable cause to know that the heroin is intended for sale. Both types of actions constitute heroin trafficking.

Thus, under Ohio law, “knowingly” and “reasonable cause” are elements required to be proved by the prosecution. “Knowingly” means having awareness, purpose and intent to act. To act “knowingly,” a person must contemplate the action and act in furtherance of that intent. “Reasonable cause” is based on what an average person would believe if under the same circumstances.

Penalties for Heroin Trafficking in Ohio

The penalties for trafficking in heroin in Ohio vary based on the amount of heroin the alleged offender attempts to sell, transport, ship, etc., and whether the offense was committed near a school or juvenile. The charge can vary from a 5th degree to a 1st degree felony, and result in a mandatory prison sentence and significant fines. Below is a breakdown of the possible offense levels.

5th Degree Felony

If the amount of heroin allegedly trafficked is less than 10 unit doses in solid form or less than 1 gram in liquid form, the charge will be a 5th degree felony, which carries a potential 6 – 12 months in prison and a $2500 fine. Pursuant to ORC 2929.13(B), your attorney can argue that you should receive a community control sanction in lieu of a prison sentence. All of the following must apply for this to be available:

  1. The offender has not been convicted of a felony offense;
  2. The most serious charge against the offender is a 4th or 5th degree felony;
  3. A program administering community control sanctions must be available; and
  4. The offender has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of violence in the prior 2 years.

4th Degree Felony

If the amount of heroin allegedly trafficked is 10 – 49 unit doses in solid form or 1 – 4 grams in liquid form, the charge will be a 4th degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of 6 – 18 months in prison and a $5000 fine. Additionally, ORC 2929.13(C) will apply in determining the potential prison sentence.

If this offense is committed near a school or juvenile, the offense level will be upgraded to a 3rd degree felony and there is a presumption of a prison term. This offense carries a potential 9 months to 3 years in prison and a $5000 fine.

3rd Degree Felony

Trafficking in heroin will be charged as a 3rd degree felony if the amount is 50 – 99 unit doses in solid form or 5 – 9 grams in liquid form.  This offense carries a presumptive prison sentence of 9 months – 3 years and a $10,000 fine. If this offense is committed near a school or juvenile, the offense will be charged as a 2nd degree felony, which carries a presumptive 2 – 8 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

2nd Degree Felony

If the amount of heroin allegedly trafficked is 100 – 499 unit doses in solid form or 10 – 49 grams in liquid form, the charge will be a 2nd degree felony. This offense carries a mandatory prison term of 2 – 8 years and a $15,000 fine. If this offense is committed near a school or juvenile, the offense will be charged as a 1st degree felony, which carries a mandatory 3 – 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

1st Degree Felony

Trafficking in heroin will be charged as a 1st degree felony if the amount is 500 grams or more in solid form, or 50 or more grams in liquid form. This offense carries a mandatory prison term of 3 – 11 years and a $20,000 fine. However, if the amount exceeds 2500 unit doses in solid form or 250 grams in liquid form, the offense is a 1st degree felony that carries the mandatory maximum for a 1st degree felony.

The following table summarizes the information above.

Heroin Trafficking

Amount of DrugChargeSection Determining PrisonSchool/Juvenile EnhancementPresumption/Mandatory Prison
10-49 Unit Doses (Solid Form)
1-4 grams (Liquid Form)
4th degree felony2929.13(B)Yes, 3rd degree felonyPresumption for enhancement
50-99 Unit Doses (Solid Form)
5-9 grams (Liquid Form)
3rd degree felony-------Yes, 2nd degree felonyPresumption for both
100-499 Unit Doses (Solid Form)
10-49 grams (Liquid Form)
2nd degree felony-------Yes, 1st degree felonyMandatory for both
500-2499 Unit Doses (Solid Form)
50-249 grams (Liquid Form)
1st degree felony--------------Mandatory
2500+ Unit Doses (Solid Form)
250+ grams (Liquid Form)
1st degree felony--------------Mandatory max
Secondary Consequences for a Trafficking in Heroin Conviction in Ohio

In addition to criminal penalties, a drug conviction can result in significant secondary consequences, such as difficulty finding employment, student loans and other government assistance, and jeopardizing any pending or future child custody actions.

Moreover, any person who is convicted of a drug possession charge may have their driver’s license suspended and have any professional licenses (e.g., lawyers, nurses, teachers, etc.) suspended or revoked.

Ohio Defenses to Heroin Trafficking

Several defenses exist for trafficking in heroin. These include unlawful search and seizure, lack of Miranda warnings, entrapment by law enforcement, and lack of intent.

The primary defense is lack of intent. Trafficking in heroin is a specific intent offense that requires knowledge, purpose and action in furtherance of the crime. This requires that at the time of the offense, the prosecution must prove that you had the required criminal intent to commit the offense. Absent this intent, the prosecution will have difficulty proving their case and the charges may be dismissed.

Another common defense is unlawful search and seizure. Law enforcement does not always comply with search and seizure laws, creating an opportunity for you to assert that the police violated your constitutional rights. An unlawful search and seizure could result from a lack of probable cause or search warrant, and from a search warrant that was not properly executed.

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Drug Attorney

If you have been charged with trafficking in heroin in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Attorney David Johnson at Johnson Legal, LLC to discuss your case. An experienced and knowledgeable Columbus and Delaware, Ohio drug attorney can help you fight the charge and achieve the best possible outcome. Call Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation to discuss your heroin trafficking case.