Sentencing enhancement can increase the penalties in an Ohio drug possession case. Under specific circumstances, these mechanisms impose stricter penalties on those guilty individuals. Learn more about how Ohio’s sentencing enhancements for drug possession cases could affect your case. 

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Prior Convictions

A defendant’s prior criminal record can make a difference during sentencing. The preceding record score or level can impact the case’s outcome. 

The Ohio Revised Code places drug offenses into various degrees based on the type and quantity of the controlled substance. The court may enhance its penalties when defendants with prior drug-related convictions face new drug possession charges. The severity of these enhancements depends on the number of previous convictions and their classification.

For example, a first-degree misdemeanor drug possession charge could be enhanced to a fourth-degree felony if the defendant has prior drug-related convictions. Sentencing enhancements often lead to longer terms of imprisonment and increased fines.

Possession Close to Schools or Parks

Ohio’s sentencing enhancements for drug possession do factor in the location of the offense. Most of the time, this involves possession of controlled substances near schools, parks, or other designated areas.

All these areas are considered drug-free zones. The designation protects children and the general public from the potential dangers associated with drug-related activities. Within these zones, drug possession offenses are subject to stricter penalties.

Usually, the proximity required to trigger the enhancement is a specific distance, such as 1,000 feet from a school or park. If an individual is found in possession of controlled substances within this designated range, their charges may be elevated to a higher degree.

The enhancement discourages drug-related activities near places where children go to school or play. 

Consequences of Sentencing Enhancements

Sentencing enhancements in drug possession cases can have serious consequences for convicted individuals. They may include:

  • Increased imprisonment terms: Enhanced sentencing can lead to longer periods of incarceration.
  • Heftier fines: Individuals facing sentencing enhancements may also receive higher financial penalties. 
  • Criminal record: Enhanced sentences can result in more serious criminal records, affecting an individual’s future prospects, employability, and housing opportunities.
  • Loss of civil rights: In some cases, individuals with enhanced sentences may lose certain civil rights, such as voting or owning firearms.
  • Longer probation or parole periods: Enhanced sentencing can also result in longer periods of probation or parole.

Challenging sentencing enhancements in drug possession cases can be difficult but not impossible. Defendants and their legal representatives often contest the factors that trigger enhancements. This may involve challenging the validity of prior convictions or disputing the proximity to schools or parks at the time of arrest.

If your case involves elements that may trigger these enhancements, you must talk to an experienced drug possession criminal defense attorney in Ohio. 

Learn More About These Sentencing Enhancements

Ohio’s sentencing enhancements in drug possession cases are intended to address the severity of the offense and protect vulnerable populations from the potential dangers associated with drug-related activities. Legal representation is essential for those who want to challenge these enhancements.At Hunt Law LLC, we have assisted and protected people who have faced allegations of drug possession charges. Over the years, our legal team has successfully defended these cases. To arrange a free consultation, please contact us at 330-469-9836.