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Ohio driver faces drug charges for drugs carried by passengers

A driver from Steubenville was pulled over by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for a traffic violation recently. While the trooper questioned the driver, he smelled what he believed to be marijuana coming from the interior of the vehicle and saw what is alleged to have been "raw marijuana shake" on the floor of the vehicle. As a result of this traffic stop, the driver and his two passengers have been arrested on drug charges.

Upon further inspection of the vehicle, the arresting office reportedly found other illegal drugs in the vehicle including heroin, ecstasy and oxycodone with a street value estimated to be $17,000. The drugs were said to have been in the possession of the passengers in the vehicle. The rental car with Pennsylvania plates was pulled over on the Ohio Turnpike in Summit County.

The driver and both passengers were all charged with trafficking and possession of the heroin and oxycodone. All three were also charged with possession of the ecstasy. All of these charges are felonies, albeit of different degrees. The two passengers also face an additional felony for tampering with the evidence.

It appears from the reported facts in this case that the driver was not in possession of the drugs found in the vehicle he was driving. As such, he may be able to get the drug charges against him dismissed if the state of Ohio is not able to meet the stringent burden of proof required for criminal proceedings. It may be beneficial for the driver, as well as the two passengers, to scrutinize the evidence against them individually in order to decide the best course of action to protect their legal rights while fighting for the best possible outcome.

Source: vindy.com, "OSHP troopers seize heroin, pills on Ohio Turnpike," May 16, 2013

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