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Ohio has specific laws that govern the statute of limitations for various criminal offenses, including drug charges. These limitations set a time frame for the prosecution to file charges against an individual for a particular crime. Failure to do so can result in the case being dismissed. Here is a look at Ohio’s statutes of limitations for drug charges. 

Ohio’s Statute of Limitations for Drug-Related Offenses

With these laws, crimes are not allowed to be prosecuted after a certain time period. However, in Ohio, the state has two separate statutes of limitations for drug-related offenses. Depending on the seriousness of drug crime, here is the time frame for prosecutors to bring charges against an individual. 


Some of the most serious drug offenses in the state are drug trafficking and possession with the intent to distribute. The statute of limitations is typically six years. In that case, the state has six years from the alleged offense’s date to file charges against the suspect. Before pursuing criminal charges, this time window allows law enforcement to undertake a more extensive investigation.


Drug offenses classified as misdemeanors, such as simple personal drug possession, are governed by different laws. The two-year statute of limitations applies in these instances. The shorter duration is intended because certain offenses are less serious.

Why Are There Different Statutes of Limitations?

Like most states, Ohio’s statute of limitations serves several purposes within the legal system. These limitations protect defendants from facing charges for crimes that occurred in the past. 

Over time, evidence can deteriorate or become lost, making it difficult to conduct a fair trial. By imposing a statute of limitations, the legal system promotes the integrity of the judicial process.

Finally, statutes of limitations help expedite the legal process by encouraging timely investigations and prosecutions. This benefits defendants by avoiding prolonged uncertainty in their possible cases. 

Are There Any Exceptions?

While the statutes of limitations for drug charges in Ohio are binding in many cases, some exceptions can occur.

For example, the statute of limitations could be extended if the criminal offense is part of a continuous course of conduct. In these cases, the countdown may not begin until the last act of the crime is committed.

If a defendant has fled Ohio after committing a drug offense, the statute of limitations may be paused until the defendant returns to the state or is brought to justice.

Finally, the defendant cannot engage in any actions that obstruct the discovery of a crime. In those instances, the statute of limitations may be put on hold until the crime is discovered through reasonable diligence.

Learn More About All the Statute of Limitations in Ohio

Ohio’s drug crime statute of limitations can affect your case. If you have been involved in a drug crime and want some clarity about your situation, speak with an experienced attorney. After a consultation, you can determine whether these laws apply in your case.  
At Hunt Law LLC, we can help with all your drug crime-related questions. To arrange a free consultation, please contact us at 330-469-9836.