Thank you for your reply and patience while I researched. The law in Ohio for such minor possession makes this a minor misdemeanor, a civil infraction that is not a criminal offense and carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine and no jail time. The exception is in Cincinnati, where the municipal code apparently treats this as a fourth degree misdemeanor (as you've discovered) and can carry a maximum of 30 days in jail. I am assuming that's where you got pulled over?
In any event, for a first offense on such a minor charge, you are not going to get jail time, even in conservative Cincinnati. In fact, the law has been heavily criticized for not doing anything to reduce drug offenses in the city. You are far more likely to get a fine, maybe court costs, and possibly community service. Keeping it off your record could be harder. However, you may qualify for a "drug intervention" program, where if you complete the program successfully, they agree to dismiss the charges. You would then be eligible to have your record expunged/sealed.
The stop appears to have been valid, but you don't mention how they found the marijuana. If the search was improper or baseless, you could argue to have the search thrown out, and if successful, the charge would likely go away on its own due to no evidence.
I would suggest consulting with an Ohio criminal defense lawyer. You should be able to get a low cost or free initial consultation, and even if you don't hire them, it may be helpful to go over the incident with an attorney familiar with Ohio law and discuss your possible options.
Good luck to you. If you have any additional questions, please press the reply button, and I will be happy to assist you further.
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