Drug Charges Dropped Against Cincinnati-Based State Lawmaker

The felony charge, dropped as part of a plea deal, would have prohibited State Rep. Sedrick Denson from serving in the Ohio General Assembly.

State Rep. Sedrick Denson - Ohio House of Representatives
Ohio House of Representatives
State Rep. Sedrick Denson

Democratic State Rep. Sedrick Denson of Bond Hill won't face a felony drug charge that could have ended his tenure at the Ohio State House.

That charge, in connection with a single Adderall pill found in Denson's car when he was pulled over for speeding and a lane-change violation, was dropped today as Denson agreed to take a drug education class. Under Ohio law, those with felony convictions cannot serve in the Ohio General Assembly.

Denson also faced OVI charges in connection with the March 29 traffic stop, but that charge was reduced as part of a plea bargain. An Ohio State Trooper pulled the freshman state lawmaker over early in the morning outside of Columbus after he says he observed Denson speeding and crossing over highway lanes. The trooper administered a field sobriety test, which Denson did not pass. The lawmaker declined a chemical sobriety test. Denson told the trooper he had two glasses of wine at a fundraiser earlier in the day. 

Initially, Denson faced a felony for an Adderall pill the trooper found in the car following the stop and the OVI. Denson says he is not prescribed Adderall and does not know how the pill ended up in his car. In addition to the drug class, Denson will pay a $250 fine plus court costs and receive a six-month suspension of his driver's license in connection with a reduced misdemeanor charge for driving while under the influence.

"I take responsibility for creating this distraction and I apologize to my family and the people I represent," Denson said in a statement today. "I am grateful I have been able to learn and grow from this experience, and I am eager to continue my work on behalf of the people who put their trust in me to fight for them."

Denson replaced term-limited State Rep. Alicia Reece (a fellow Democrat) after winning the seat representing Ohio's 33rd District last November. Prior to his time in the General Assembly, he was chief of staff for Cincinnati City Council member Wendell Young.

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