handcuffs & gavel - misdemeanor v. felony drug charge

Misdemeanor vs Felony Drug Crimes

While criminal justice reform has transitioned much of the nation’s approach away from draconian laws and sentences that favored harsh punishment over rehabilitation in drug crime cases, there are still very real consequences to being charged with a drug crime. This is especially true when there are aggravating circumstances in a case, such as prior convictions, or when crimes rise to the level of a felony offense.

Whether you or someone you love is currently facing misdemeanor or felony drug crime charges, it is critical to your freedom and future that you work with proven defense attorneys. At L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC, our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience representing clients charged with all types of drug crimes throughout Dayton, Cincinnati, and the surrounding areas of Ohio. Our legal team is standing by to review your case free of charge and discuss how we can protect your rights and fight for the best possible resolution.

When it comes to drug crime charges, Ohio state law classifies offenses into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. How your charge will be prosecuted will depend on the unique facts of your case, but both can pose substantial penalties and consequences. The following can help you better understand the difference between a misdemeanor and felony drug charges.

  • Misdemeanors – Misdemeanor charges are common in drug crime cases involving low level, nonviolent offenses, including drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession or cultivation of fewer than 200 grams of marijuana, and DUI / OVI of drugs. Even though misdemeanor drug crimes may not be felonies, they can still subject individuals to substantial penalties, including hefty fines and fees, license suspension, court-ordered classes, probation, and terms of imprisonment.
  • Felonies – Felonies are the most serious level of crime in Ohio, and they carry the most severe penalties. Felonies are notable for the reason that they can subject convicted individuals to a minimum of 1 year in state prison, and often more. Felony convictions also result in a loss of driving privileges for up to 5 years and a loss of certain civil rights, including the right to vote and the right to own a firearm. Having a felony on your criminal record can also prove to be a long-term burden that limits opportunities for employment, professional licenses, and more. In regard to drug crimes, felonies are typically prosecuted when a case involves more serious offenses, large quantities of controlled substances, and other aggravating circumstances. Common felony drug crime charges include sale or distribution of drugs, drug trafficking, manufacturing, and more.

Drug crime cases are hinged on the unique facts and circumstances of a case, which means that a defense strategy must be tailored to the situation at hand. In all cases we handle, our firm works to fully investigate the allegations and create a defense strategy that produces the best possible resolution. This may include exploration of alternative sentencing options such as drug diversion when possible, reduction of charges from felonies to misdemeanors, mitigation of penalties, or a fight at trial.

In larger drug crime cases, the stakes can be raised even higher when the federal government becomes involved in an investigation or prosecution. If you or someone you know is currently under investigation for a federal drug crime or have been charged with a federal crime involving drugs, you need to know that there is a lot on the line. Federal cases are handled by government agencies with tremendous resources, and their goals are to gain convictions. Additionally, federal drug crime cases, such as those involving trafficking, are known for resulting in incredibly harsh sentences and for implementing mandatory minimums that prevent judges from using their discretion when sentencing offenders. For these reasons, and because federal cases are unique and demand specially licensed attorneys, you should be intent on speaking with a member of our team as soon as possible when federal allegations are involved in your case.

Led by a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Attorney L. Patrick Mulligan, our firm has the benefit on relying on the expertise of a proven defense lawyer who is one of just 23 attorneys in the entire state to hold this distinction. By leveraging Attorney Mulligan’s insight and the decades of combined experience of our entire legal team, we provide the support, counsel, and resources clients need to fully protect their rights and fight for the best results.

To discuss a misdemeanor or drug crime case with a member of our team, contact us for a free and confidential consultation. We are available 24/7 to help when you need it most.