Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer In Cincinnati

Written By: Moermond & Mulligan, LLC

Last Updated: 10-11-2023

Being accused of drug trafficking can be a terrifying experience, and the potential consequences of a conviction can be life-altering. At Moermond & Mulligan, LLC, we understand the fear and uncertainty you may be experiencing. Our team of experienced drug trafficking defense lawyers in Cincinnati is here to protect your rights and will do all we can to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

With over 50 years of combined experience and a strong background in prosecution, attorneys L. Patrick Mulligan and Brad Moermond have the skills, knowledge, and resources to handle even the most challenging drug trafficking cases.

Table Of Contents

    What is Drug Trafficking?

    Drug trafficking involves the manufacture, sale, distribution, or transportation of controlled substances, such as narcotics, stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens. In Ohio, drug trafficking is defined under the O.R.C. §2925.03 and is a felony offense. The charges can range from a fifth-degree felony to a first-degree felony, depending on various factors such as the quantity and type of drugs involved and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

    What Is the Difference Between Drug Trafficking and Possession?

    While drug trafficking and possession are criminal offenses related to controlled substances, they are separate charges with different legal consequences. Drug possession, defined under O.R.C. §2925.11, involves a controlled substance for personal use or consumption. On the other hand, drug trafficking pertains to the manufacturing, selling, distributing, or transporting controlled substances, typically involving larger quantities and commercial intent.

    Penalties for Drug Trafficking Under Ohio Law

    The penalties for drug trafficking in Ohio depend on several factors, including:

    • The type of controlled substance involved (e.g., cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, marijuana)
    • The quantity of the drugs
    • The location of the offense (e.g., near a school or a juvenile)
    • The defendant’s prior criminal record

    Based on the substance and amount of drugs involved, the penalties could include:

    Marijuana

    • Gift of 20 grams or less – Minor misdemeanor to third-degree misdemeanor
    • Less than 200 grams – Fifth-degree felony to fourth-degree felony
    • 200 grams to less than 1 kilogram – Fourth-degree felony to third-degree felony
    • 1 kilogram to less than 20 kilograms – Third-degree felony to second-degree felony
    • 20 kilograms or more -Second-degree felony to first-degree felony

    Powder or Crack Cocaine

    • Less than 5 grams – Fifth-degree felony to fourth-degree felony
    • 5 grams to less than 10 grams – Fourth-degree felony to third-degree felony
    • 10 grams to less than 20 grams – Third-degree felony to second-degree felony
    • 20 grams to less than 27 grams – Second-degree felony to first-degree felony
    • 27 grams or more -First-degree felony

    Heroin

    • Less than 1 gram; less than 10 unit doses (UD) – Fifth-degree felony to fourth-degree felony
    • 1 gram to less than 5 grams; 10 to 49 UD – Fourth-degree felony to third-degree felony
    • 5 grams to less than 10 grams; 50 to 99 UD – Third-degree felony to second-degree felony
    • 10 grams to less than 50 grams; 100 to 499 UD – Second-degree felony to first-degree felony
    • 50 grams or more; 500 UD or more – First-degree felony

    Fentanyl-Related Compounds

    • Less than 1 gram; less than 10 UD – Fifth-degree felony to fourth-degree felony
    • 1 gram to less than 5 grams; 10 to 49 UD – Fourth-degree felony to third-degree felony
    • 5 grams to less than 10 grams; 50 to 99 UD – Third-degree felony to second-degree felony
    • 10 grams to less than 20 grams; 100 to 199 UD – Second-degree felony to first-degree felony
    • 20 grams or more; 200 UD or more – First-degree felony

    The penalties for each type of felony offense in Ohio could include heavy fines and significant jail time:

    • Fifth-degree felony – 6-12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500
    • Fourth-degree felony – 6-18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
    • Third-degree felony – 9-36 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
    • Second-degree felony – 2-8 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
    • First-degree felony – 3-11 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000

    Major Drug Offender (MDO) Designation and Consequences

    Sometimes, a defendant may be designated as a Major Drug Offender (MDO) under O.R.C. §2929.01(W). This designation applies when the defendant is involved in the trafficking of a significant amount of controlled substances. To qualify as an MDO in Ohio, a person must possess the following amounts of controlled substances:

    • Hashish – 1,000 grams
    • Cocaine – 100 grams
    • Heroin – 1,000 unit doses or 100 grams
    • LSD – 5,000 unit doses or 500 grams
    • Controlled substance analog – 50 grams
    • Fentanyl-related compound – 1,000 unit doses or 100 grams
    • Other Schedule I or II controlled substances (excluding marijuana) – At least 100 times the amount necessary to constitute a third-degree felony

    An MDO conviction carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 11 years and a potential fine of up to $20,000.

    Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

    In some cases, drug trafficking charges may be prosecuted at the federal level under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. §841). This typically occurs when the offense:

    • Involves large quantities of drugs
    • Crosses state or international borders
    • Occurs on federal property
    • Involves organized criminal activity or drug trafficking networks

    Federal drug trafficking penalties are generally more severe than state penalties and can result in longer prison sentences and larger fines. Factors influencing federal penalties include the type and quantity of drugs involved, the defendant’s criminal history, and whether the offense resulted in injury or death. Federal sentencing guidelines also consider the defendant’s role in the offense and any aggravating or mitigating factors.

    Defenses in Drug Trafficking Cases

    Drug trafficking charges can be challenging for the prosecution to prove, even though it’s relatively easy for law enforcement to make an arrest. There are several strategies our drug trafficking defense lawyers can employ to build a solid legal defense on your behalf:

    • Entrapment – If law enforcement or another state official encouraged you to commit a crime you wouldn’t have otherwise committed, that could be considered entrapment.
    • Lack of Intent – The prosecution must prove that you intended to sell the drugs or controlled substances. If there’s insufficient evidence and if the prosecution cannot convince the jury of your intent to sell, the case against you will not be as strong.
    • Coercion – If the alleged activity was part of a drug ring or involved trafficking with others, it might be possible to argue that you were coerced into the illegal activity. It might be argued that you only participated in these crimes due to fear and threats from higher-level drug traffickers and that you complied with their orders to avoid being harmed.
    • Violations of Constitutional Rights – In some cases, your rights might have been violated when the authorities seized evidence in your drug-related case. This might include unlawful detainment, arrest, or illegal search and seizure. If evidence is acquired illegally, your attorney could seek to have the tainted evidence excluded from the case.

    How Moermond & Mulligan, LLC Can Help

    If you or a loved one are facing drug trafficking charges in Cincinnati, contact Moermond & Mulligan, LLC, immediately.  It’s important to remember not to discuss your case with law enforcement until you’ve contacted us. Your family, career, and freedom are at risk, and time is limited to protect your rights. We’ll be ready to stand up for you and work to ensure that you are treated fairly as you navigate the Ohio criminal justice system.

    At Moermond & Mulligan, LLC, we know that no two criminal cases are alike, so we provide compassionate and personalized legal representation to each client who hires us. We understand the fear and uncertainty you may be experiencing and are committed to helping you navigate the complex legal process. Our professional and compassionate team is here to support you every step of the way and help you secure the best possible outcome for your case. Call us or contact us online for a confidential case evaluation with one of our Cincinnati criminal defense lawyers today.