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Marijuana and OVI in Steubenville

Marijuana legalization for medical purposes has sparked widespread debate in recent years. While Ohio permits marijuana use for medical reasons, it is important to remember that recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in the state and is subject to penalties.

What’s particularly interesting is that statistics show marijuana to be the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. Shockingly, the FBI reported over 17,000 marijuana possession arrests in Ohio alone in 2013.

But here’s something to ponder: when we hear “OVI,” we typically associate it with alcohol. Yet, it is crucial to understand that operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, can also result in OVI charges.

I Smoked a Joint on My Way to Work. Can I Be Charged With OVI? 

Well, according to Ohio law, if you are pulled over and found to be intoxicated due to marijuana consumption, yes, you can indeed face OVI charges.

Unlike alcohol-related OVI cases, where breath tests are commonly used to determine intoxication, marijuana requires different testing methods. Instead of breath tests, law enforcement will request a blood or urine sample for examination. To be considered intoxicated “per se,” the test results must reveal specific levels of marijuana presence:

  • A minimum of 10 nanograms of marijuana per millimeter of urine for urine tests.
  • A minimum of 2 nanograms per millimeter of blood, whether it’s whole blood, blood plasma, or blood serum, for blood tests.

Detection Timing

When it comes to drug usage, it’s important to consider the lingering effects that can remain in your system long after the high wears off. Drugs contain substances known as metabolites, which can be detected for a specific period termed as the “detection time.” It’s worth noting that different drugs have varying detection times, with marijuana being one of the substances that stay in the body the longest.

For example, even if you smoke a joint or take a few puffs, the metabolites from marijuana can stick around for about three days. Regular use throughout the week can extend this time to approximately five days, while frequent consumers may have to wait up to two weeks for the metabolites to completely dissipate. In more extreme cases, chronic marijuana users may face a month-long wait until the metabolites clear from their system.

For drivers, this presents a significant challenge because chemical tests may detect past marijuana usage dating back weeks or even months. However, it’s important to note that these tests cannot determine when the drug was last consumed, potentially leading officers to assume impairment even if the individual hasn’t used marijuana in days.

Refusing to Submit to Chemical Tests

Now, you might be wondering if it’s wise to decline urine or blood tests based on this information. However, it’s important to comply with chemical testing as refusing to do so will result in an automatic suspension of your license administratively by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. If you are subsequently convicted of OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired), the court may impose additional suspension as well.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended to cooperate when asked to provide a blood or urine sample for testing. It is far easier for your Steubenville OH OVI lawyer to challenge the accuracy of the test results than for you to lose your license without just cause.

OVI Penalties and Marijuana

Penalties for operating a vehicle impaired by marijuana are just as severe as those for drivers charged with OVI due to alcohol consumption. The level of intoxication determines the severity of the penalties, which include fines, jail time, court-ordered license suspensions, as well as ineligibility for limited driving privileges.

At Youngstown Criminal Law Group, we specialize in defending drivers arrested for marijuana-related OVI. Our experienced legal representation is here to help. Contact our Steubenville OH Criminal Lawyer or Steubenville OH OVI Lawyer today for a free consultation.

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