Cleveland, OH asked in Criminal Law, DUI / DWI and Cannabis & Marijuana Law for Ohio

Q: What can I do to fight a class 5 felony in Ohio? Police found less than a gram of meth amphetamine in my trunk.

I am from PA but was driving through Ohio. I stopped at a gas station and while pumping gas I found a strange package. I was unsure of what it was but my curiosity took over and i grabbed it, throwing it in the trunk of my car.

I was already driving with marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia which I had sitting in my cup holder beside me. I got pulled over for a minor traffic violation and forgot about the weed beside me as the cop approached my car. When they saw it, they performed a search to my car.

Upon searching my trunk, I discovered the package contained less than a gram of meth amphetamine, which is a class 5 felony in Ohio. I have never done meth a day in my life.

I drove to a testing center and got a ten tier drug test taken that night to prove i didnt have any in my system.

What else can i do to fight this, besides providing the drug test I took? How do I prove it did not belong to me?

This is my first offense. I am a reputable member in my company and community.

2 Lawyer Answers
Matthew Williams
Matthew Williams
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: You should hire an attorney. There are several problems with your defense. First, ownership is not the issue. Possession is. Second, just because you're clean also doesn't mean your not guilty of the possession charge. It is illegal to possess these drugs whether you use them or not. Fortunately, if you have no record, or a limited record, this is the type of thing that often be worked out with minimal damage to your record long term.

Dimitrios Makridis agrees with this answer

Brian Joslyn
Brian Joslyn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Columbus, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: The fact that you don’t feel or behave as though you are inebriated outside the vehicle is irrelevant to what occurs when you are inside. Under Ohio law, to be operating a vehicle while impaired, you need not be driving, but merely sitting behind the wheel in a parked vehicle, in possession of the keys. Taken together, these facts will indicate to law enforcement that you have “physical control” (ORC § 4511.194) and are, therefore, responsible for the vehicle’s proper operation. Even if you didn't act intoxicated you could still be charged with OVI because the amphetamine was found in your vehicle while you were in physical control of it.

Inherent in a OVI/DUI charge and conviction is the potential for an individual’s loss of quality of life, employment, educational opportunities, custody rights, and a host of other penalties, including a criminal record. Therefore, you must consult an experienced OVI attorney about your defense and your rights, from the time of law enforcement’s stop of your vehicle to taking chemical tests (breath—BAC or blood samples).

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