For most felony convictions here in Ohio, the court has a fair amount of discretion in what prison sentence to give an individual. Each felony class has its own particular sentencing range associated with it, with the courts, when issuing a prison sentence, being allowed to pick which of certain sentences within this range would be most appropriate for a given case. However, there are certain situations in which this discretion is removed and a court is required to issue the maximum sentence.

For example, there is an instance of this in the criminal laws on cocaine possession in the state. Specifically, the instance regards the first-degree felony level of cocaine possession. Under state law, possession of 27 or more grams of cocaine is a first-degree felony charge.

Typically, the jail sentence for this felony level of cocaine possession can fall somewhere between three years and 11 years. However, if the amount of cocaine possessed is 100 or more grams, state law specifies that the person is to be given the standard maximum first-degree felony sentence of 11 years. So, a person could be facing a potential mandatory maximum sentence in relation to cocaine possession allegations if the amount of cocaine they are accused of having been in possession of is high enough.

Whether courts have their typical discretion or are subjected to special limits when it comes to what sentence they can issue in relation to a particular felony offense can have huge impacts on a person accused of that offense if they end up being convicted. Thus, among the many things that can affect what defense approach might be best-suited for a given person accused of felony drug crimes is whether the allegations leveled against them could trigger any special sentencing rules.

Sources: Ohio Laws and Rules, “Ohio Revised Code – 2929.14 [Effective Until 9/14/2016] Definite prison terms.,” Accessed Aug. 11, 2016

Ohio Laws and Rules, “Ohio Revised Code – 2925.11 Possession of controlled substances.,” Accessed Aug. 11, 2016