OVI / DUI Drugs In Ohio

Operating A Vehicle Under The Influence Of Drugs
While many people think of DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) as driving under the influence of alcohol, the offense may also be committed in Ohio by operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs.  Ohio law makes it illegal to operate a vehicle “under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them”.  This applies to illegal drugs, marijuana, and prescription medications.  If an officer believes you were driving under the influence of a drug, you will be charged with DUI / OVI.  If that happens, you’ll need to decide what to do.

What To Do When Charged With Drugged Driving
The first thing you should do when facing this charge is educate yourself.  There are significant penalties and long-lasting effects for a DUI / OVI conviction.  Before deciding how to proceed with your case, you will want to know more about the charges, the evidence, the potential sentence, the defenses, and representation.  This website contains additional pages which address each of these topics in more depth.  Another source of information is the guide ‘Ohio DUI / OVI Guide’.  That guide can be purchased in online bookstores, and the PDF version can be downloaded for free from this website.

Two Types Of Drugged Driving In Ohio
The Ohio Revised Code prohibits two types of drugged driving.  First, Ohio Revised Code section 4511.19(a)(1)(a) prohibits operating a vehicle under the influence of a drug of abuse.  This offense is commonly referred to as the ‘Impaired’ offense, because the prosecution must prove the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle was impaired by a drug of abusee.  Second, Ohio Revised Code section 4511.19(a)(1)(j) makes it illegal to operate a vehicle with a prohibited concentration of a controlled substance (or metabolite of a controlled substance) in one’s blood or urine.  This offense is often called the ‘Per Se’ offense because operation of a vehicle above the ‘legal limit’ for controlled substances is ‘per se’ (by itself) illegal, even if driving ability is not impaired.

Evidence In Cases Of DUI / OVI Drugs
There are various types evidence in drug-related DUI/OVI.  In nearly all cases, a law enforcement officer completes reports containing the officer’s observations which led to the conclusion the driver was under the influence.  Those observations often include the driving behavior, interaction with the driver, and field sobriety testing.  The evidence may also include a report from a Drug Recognition Evaluation.  If a blood or urine sample was provided, the evidence will include the results of the blood or urine test.

Penalties For Drugged Driving In Ohio
Drugged driving in Ohio is punished in the same way as alcohol DUI / OVI.  For a first offense, that means a jail term of three days to six months, a license suspension of one year to three years, a fine of $375 to $1,075, probation for up to five years, and other penalties which may be imposed.  For a second offense or more within ten years, the penalties progressively increase.  In addition, there are secondary consequences for having a DUI / OVI conviction on one’s permanent record.  There is more information on these topics available in the ‘OVI / DUI Penalties’ section of this site.

Defenses To Charges Of Drugged Driving
The defenses available for these charges depend on the specific facts of the case.  In cases of DUI / OVI ‘Impaired’, the focus of the defense is often demonstrating why the evidence does not prove the client’s driving was impaired or there was not a connection between use of the drug and impaired driving ability.  In cases of DUI / OVI ‘Per Se’, the defense strategy often includes attacking the chemical test of the client’s blood or urine.  In both types of cases, the defense attorney typically files motions to suppress evidence, as excluding evidence from court can impede the prosecution’s ability to prove the allegations.  There are many defenses to DUI / OVI drugs which may be explored by experienced DUI / OVI attorneys.

Representation For DUI / OVI Drugs In Central Ohio
The attorneys at the Dominy Law Firm have experience with drugged driving cases.  The focus of our criminal defense practice is representing clients charged with DUI / OVI, and we have represented many clients with drugged driving cases in central Ohio Courts.  You can learn more about our firm on the About Us page of this site.  You may also be interested in reading our client reviews and case results.  If you would like to discuss your drugged driving case with us, you can schedule a free consultation by completing a CONTACT FORM or by calling us at 614-717-1177.

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