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Understanding Drug Charges: Possession with Intent to Distribute


Drug laws can be incredibly complicated since a number of factors affect a person’s charges and penalties. In Ohio, possession with intent to distribute (a.k.a. possession with intent to sell) is a more serious offense than possession alone.

Possession with Intent to Distribute in Ohio

According to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2925.03), possession with the intent to distribute is defined as any individual who knowingly:

  • Sells or offers to sell a controlled substance and/or
  • Prepares for shipment, ships, transports, delivers, prepares for distribution, or distributes a controlled substance, when the offender is aware or has a reasonable cause to believe that the controlled substance is intended for sale or resale by the offender or another person.

The offense “possession with intent to distribute” is ambiguous, since a person should be charged with a crime only after they’ve committed an offense — it’s very difficult to know or prove someone’s intention.

Typically, whether or not a person’s drug charge is elevated to possession with intent to distribute is based on the amount of a controlled substance they’re found with. If there’s far more than someone would have for their own personal use, law enforcement can draw the conclusion that some or all of the controlled substances found were going to be sold.

Ohio Drug Penalties

The penalties for possession with intent to distribute depend mostly on how much of a controlled substance you had at the time of the arrest.

  • A third-degree aggravated trafficking of drugs felony is punishable by five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines;
  • A second-degree felony drug charge entails up to eight years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines;
  • A first-degree possession to distribute felony charge entails up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.

If you were charged with drug possession or possession with intent to distribute, it’s important to act fast. The drug defense attorneys at The Meranda Law Firm LTD have more than 15 years of experience and can help you seek an expedient resolution, as well as ensure that you are well-advised of your legal rights