Ohio may finally have legalized the consumption of marijuana and cannabis products for medical reasons. But that does not mean that the state allows recreational marijuana use or possession. And whether you have a prescription for medical marijuana or not, it is against the law to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
Of course, there are no current tests available that detect whether someone has consumed marijuana within the last few minutes or hours or has done so within the last couple of days. This can create confusion when you are stopped for suspicion of operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Here’s more about marijuana OVI testing in Ohio and what to expect if you are stopped.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Ohio
Medical marijuana use is legal in the state of Ohio. But it is not legal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Not only could you face citations from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, but you may also face criminal marijuana OVI charges that could have a damaging impact on your future.
The Issues With Marijuana OVI Testing
Chemical testing for marijuana OVIs is still imperfect. The THC – or tetrahydrocannabinol – that marijuana contains does not immediately leave your system the way that alcohol does.
Instead, THC has the potential to remain in your blood for weeks or even months, depending on how frequently you consume marijuana products. This creates an issue if you’re pulled over with THC in your blood.
Per Se OVIs
Suppose you are pulled over for a suspected OVI involving marijuana and consent to chemical THC testing. Even if you’re not under the influence at the time of the test, the state may elect to pursue criminal marijuana OVI charges against you if your results are positive.
This is especially true if they had probable cause to believe you were impaired at the time of your traffic stop. These are commonly referred to as per se OVIs.
How Officers Can Charge a Driver With a Marijuana OVI in Ohio
For law enforcement to charge a driver with a marijuana OVI in Ohio, any one of the following three per se limits must occur:
- The person is showing signs that they are under the influence of marijuana
- Chemical marijuana OVI test results show 10 ng/ml of THC in a urine sample or two ng/ml milliliter of THC in a blood sample
- Chemical marijuana OVI test results show 35 ng/ml of THC metabolite in a urine sample and 50 ng/ml THC metabolite in a blood sample
The standard sobriety field tests that police use to check for signs of drunk driving do not typically work for testing if someone is under the influence of marijuana.
Defending Your Ohio Marijuana OVI Charges
The burden of proof for proving that someone was under the influence of marijuana while operating a vehicle is considerable. With no procedural THC metabolite chemical tests available for use in Ohio, there is no forensic way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone had recently consumed marijuana before driving a vehicle.
Your Ohio marijuana OVI lawyer will carefully examine the details of your case to determine which defense strategy is most likely to result in your acquittal.
Some of these defenses might include:
- Lack of probable cause to stop the vehicle
- Lack of probable cause to arrest you
- Procedural errors
- Chemical testing validity issues
- Inaccurate administration of chemical tests
- Police misconduct
People who use marijuana responsibly as patients should not be at risk for criminal charges when they are following the law.
Suppose you have had marijuana OVI charges brought against you, and you are a medical marijuana user. In that case, you must get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to clear your name.
Get Help From a Marijuana OVI Lawyer in Ohio
If you were pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana and you are unsure of how to go about defending yourself, reach out to a dedicated Ohio marijuana OVI lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates.