FAQ – Drugged Driving: Drug-Related DUI / OVI in Ohio

Q:    What are the two types of drug-related DUI/OVI in Ohio?
A:
    The two types of DUI/OVI charges are OVI ‘impaired’ and OVI ‘per se’.  To prove the charge of OVI ‘impaired’, the prosecution must prove the defendant operated a vehicle ‘under the influence’ of a drug of abuse.  That means the defendant’s driving ability was impaired by the drug.  To prove the charge of OVI ‘per se’, the prosecution must prove the defendant operated a vehicle with a prohibited level of a drug in the defendant’s system.  This is commonly referred to as being ‘over the limit’.  

Q:    Do all drugs have prohibited levels for DUI/OVI in Ohio?
A:
    Not all drugs have prohibited levels in Ohio.  Those drugs which do have prohibited drug levels are:  amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marijuana (THC), methamphetamine, phencyclidine, salvia divinorum, and savinorin A.  

Q:    What tests are used at the roadside for drug-related DUI/OVI in Ohio?
A: 
   At the roadside, officers conduct field sobriety tests.  The three standardized field sobriety tests are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (eye test), the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand.  Officers score ‘clues’ on the tests, and the presence of a certain number of clues is believed to indicate the driver is under the influence of a drug.  However, the tests are only correlated with an expected blood alcohol concentration and have never been proven to predict driving impairment or an expected blood drug concentration.

Q:    What tests are used at the police station for drug-related DUI/OVI in Ohio?
A:
    At the police station, officers conduct drug recognition evaluations.  Those evaluations follow a 12-step protocol and reportedly enable the officer to determine what class of drug is impairing a person.  However, the protocol has never been peer-reviewed.  Studies have shown officers conducting the evaluations are not able to effectively determine what class of drug is causing impairment and are also not able to reliably distinguish impaired persons from those who are not impaired.

Q:    What tests are used at the crime lab for drug-related DUI/OVI in Ohio?
A:
    At the crime lab, technicians use chemical tests to measure the level of drugs in a person’s blood and/or urine.  The most common testing methods are chromatography and mass spectrometry.  For the results of those tests to be used in court, the testing must substantially comply with the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code.

Q:    What is the sentence for drug-related DUI/OVI in Ohio
A:
    Sentencing for drugged driving in Ohio is the same as alcohol-related OVI.  There are mandatory minimum penalties and possible maximum penalties.  The possible penalties are determined by the number of previous DUI/OVI convictions in the past ten years and the past 20 years.  For specifics on the potential sentences, please see the OVI/DUI Penalties section of this website.

Q:    Can medication use lead to charges with DUI/OVI in Ohio?
A:
    Yes, a person can be convicted of OVI in Ohio based on the use of prescription medications and over-the counter medications.  Ohio law prohibits operating a vehicle under the influence of a drug of abuse.  If a person takes a medication which meets the definition of ‘drug of abuse’ (all prescription medications do), and that medication impairs the person’s ability to drive, that person can be convicted of OVI.  Medication-related OVI is probably the most difficult type of OVI for the prosecution to prove.

Attorneys For Drug-Related DUI/ OVI in Columbus and Central Ohio
The attorneys at the Dominy Law firm have experience and expertise in defending clients charged with drug-related OVI.  If you would like to learn more about our firm, please see the About Us and Attorneys pages of this site.  If you would like to consult with us about representation for your drugged driving case, you can submit a CONTACT FORM or call 614-717-1177 to schedule a free phone consultation.
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