For many years, Ohio and other states have been fighting illicit drug use. They are doing this in part by attacking the demand side, penalizing the people who possess and use drugs. Lately there has been discussion of whether this is a wise approach. Still, these drug possession laws remain on the books, and there is a danger that Buckeye State residents may be prosecuted under them.

Let’s say that a person is convicted of first-time drug possession of less than bulk amount in North Royalton mayor’s court. What kind of penalties might they be facing? While this crime this is a misdemeanor, the penalties could still be stiff. A person convicted of first-time drug possession could face up to 180 days in jail. They could also face a fine of up to $1,000. Depending on the circumstances, they could also face a driver’s license suspension and probation.

It may be in the interest of a defendant to avoid this first conviction. Not only would this spare them from some of these penalties, but it would also spare them from possibly acquiring a criminal record, a record that could follow them for a long time whenever they applied for a job, a student loan or a place to live.

It isn’t always possible to avoid a conviction, but there are several ways to try. First, it may be possible to get a dismissal or a not guilty verdict. There may have been no illegal drug possessed, or it may have fallen under the medical marijuana exception. Another possibility is a diversion, where the defendant can have the charges dismissed if they meet certain conditions.