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Understanding Drugged Driving Laws in Ohio

Navigating the laws around operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs can be complex, but it’s critical to understand them to stay on the right side of the law. In Ohio, driving while under the influence of drugs (often abbreviated to DUI or DUID) is a significant offense, with strict regulations surrounding the use of both illegal substances and certain prescription medications.

Ohio’s legislative code specifically highlights that driving whilst influenced by controlled substances is illegal. This encompasses:

  • Cannabis and its derivatives
  • Illegal narcotics including cocaine, heroin
  • Commonly prescribed medications employed to manage pain and anxiety

It’s important to note that even legally obtained medications obtained via prescription can result in a DUI charge if they hinder your capability to drive safely.

Ohio law delineates “per se” offenses for driving under the influence of drugs, meaning that driving is outlawed if certain drugs are detected in specific concentrations within your system, irrespective of actual impairment. These drugs include:

  • Cannabis (Marijuana)
  • Metabolites of cannabis
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine and its metabolites
  • Heroin, including 6-monoacetylmorphine
  • L.S.D. (acid)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Salvia divinorum and Salvinorin A

If a blood or urine test is conducted under these statutes within three hours following a suspected violation, the results typically hold up in court.

Prescription Drug Defense Explained

Under section 4511.19(K)(1)-(2) of the Ohio Revised Code, there is a defense available to those charged under the premise that the controlled substance was taken in line with a valid prescription from a licensed health professional. However, this defense doesn’t extend to cannabis use recommended by a doctor, as such a recommendation isn’t equivalent to a prescription.

By driving on Ohio’s roadways, drivers implicitly agree to undergo chemical testing to evaluate for alcohol or drug content in their blood, breath, or urine.

Should you refuse to comply with testing upon lawful request, significant administrative penalties are triggered:

  • The first refusal can lead to a one-year administrative penalty.
  • The second refusal carries a two-year penalty.
  • The third, is a three-year penalty.

The arresting officer’s law enforcement agency decides which tests are given. It’s crucial to recognize that consulting a Youngstown criminal lawyer beforehand regarding the implications of undergoing or refusing tests is typically not permitted—decision-making in these instances is solely up to the driver.

Understanding these regulations is vital for anyone navigating Ohio roads. These laws have been established not only to uphold legal standards but also to ensure the safety of all road users. Stay informed and drive responsibly.

Ohio’s Penalties for Drugged Driving

Driving under the influence—whether it’s from marijuana, other substances, or alcohol—incurs serious penalties in Ohio. The same legal repercussions apply regardless of the substance. Here’s what you need to know about the penalties for Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI):

First-Time OVI Offenses

  • Classified as a 1st degree misdemeanor.
  • Mandatory imprisonment of at least 3 consecutive days; potential for up to 6 months.
  • Possible enrollment in a driver’s intervention program instead of jail time.
  • Fines ranging from a minimum of $375 to a maximum of $1075.
  • License suspension from 6 months up to 3 years.

 Reference: [Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4511.19(G)(1)(a); § 4510.02(A)(5)](# “Ohio Revised Code References”)

Second OVI Within 6 Years

  • Still considered a 1st degree misdemeanor.
  • A minimum of 10 consecutive days in jail.
  • Up to 6 months possible imprisonment.
  • Court-ordered evaluation for an alcohol and drug treatment program.
  • Fines not less than $525 and not exceeding $1625.
  • License suspension for one to five years (Class 4).
  • TheThe offender’s vehicle and license plates will be seized for 90 days..

 See [R.C. § 4511.19(G)(1)(b); § 4510.02(A)(4); § 4511.193(B)(2)(a)](# “Ohio Revised Code References”)

Third OVI Within 6 Years

  • Offense categorized as a 1st degree misdemeanor.
  • Imprisonment for at least 30 consecutive days, with a maximum of 1 year.
  • Fines from $850 to $2750.
  • License suspension of 2 to 10 years (Class 3).
  • Mandatory attendance in an addiction program.
  • Criminal forfeiture of the offender’s vehicle.

 For further details, consult [R.C. § 4511.19(G)(1)(c)](# “Ohio Revised Code References”)

Fourth or Fifth OVI Offense

  • Upgraded to a 4th degree felony.
  • Imprisonment for a minimum of 60 days consecutively.
  • Potential jail time ranges from one to five years.
  • Fines beginning at $1350 and not surpassing $10,500.
  • License suspension of 3 years to life.
  • Compulsory participation in an addiction program.
  • Possibility of vehicle forfeiture.

 Guidance available at [R.C. § 4511.19(G)(1)(d)](# “Ohio Revised Code References”)

Sixth or Subsequent OVIs

  • Categorized as a 3rd-degree felony.
  • No less than 120 days of consecutive imprisonment.
  • Jail time may be from one to five years.
  • Fines will not be less than $1350 and can reach up to $10,500.
  • License suspension imposed.
  • Participation in an addiction program is mandatory.
  • Potential for criminal vehicle forfeiture.

 Refer to [R.C. § 4511.19(G)(1)(d)](# “Ohio Revised Code References”) for more information.

DUID for Marijuana in Ohio

Ohio strictly prohibits operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination. The law classifies it as OVI, often known as “DUI”.

A “per se” offense can be charged if a chemical test detects a particular level of alcohol or a prohibited substance regardless of actual impairment. For marijuana, these “per se” thresholds in Ohio are:

  • Marijuana in urine: 10 ng/ml
  • Marijuana in blood: 2 ng/ml
  • Marijuana metabolite in urine: 35 ng/ml; or 50 ng/ml in blood
  • With alcohol or other drugs present: 15 ng/ml in urine; or 5 ng/ml in blood

An offense occurs if there are detectable THC levels above 2 ng/ml in the blood, or THC-COOH levels above 15 ng/ml in urine. (Details in Ohio Revised Code Annotated Section 4511.19).

NORML provides a comprehensive overview of Ohio’s drugged driving laws, particularly in relation to marijuana use. It includes a synopsis of permitted substances, legal consequences, and statutes applicable to OVI offenses.

If faced with an OVI charge for drug use in Youngstown, Ohio, legal guidance is available from  Youngstown OVI attorneys. The Youngstown Criminal Law Group specializes in representing individuals accused of operating while impaired, regardless of whether it involves marijuana, illicit substances, or prescription drugs. Our expertise can offer you support. Contact us  or call us at (330) 992-3036 to explore your case in detail.

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