Driving under the influence of a drug or controlled substance can be a serious crime in Ohio. If a police officer pulls you over for suspected OVI (operating a vehicle impaired), you must submit to a blood or urine test. Under the implied consent law, refusing to take a chemical test can result in license suspension up to three years. In general, if test results reveal an illegal concentration of drugs in your system, you may be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor for a first-time offense, or a felony for a multi-time offense.
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4511.19 defines Ohio’s per se laws against drugged driving. For example, if your urine test shows traces of marijuana above 10 nanograms/ml or your blood test shows an amount above 2 nanograms/ml, you may be charged with impaired driving. Listed below are the concentration limits for other controlled substances:
- Amphetamine: 500 nanograms per milliliter of urine, or 100 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
- Cocaine: 150 nanograms per milliliter of urine, or 50 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
- Heroin: 2,000 nanograms per milliliter of urine, or 50 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
- L.S.D.: 25 nanograms per milliliter of urine, or 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
- Marijuana metabolite: 35 nanograms per milliliter of urine, or five nanograms per milliliter of blood.
- Marijuana metabolite: in combination with alcohol or other drugs: 15 nanograms per milliliter of urine, or five nanograms per milliliter of blood.
Penalties for Drug-Impaired Driving Conviction
When you are charged and convicted with an OVI drug offense, you can face the following penalties:
- 1st degree misdemeanor (first or second-time offense)- Up to six months imprisonment; up to $1,625 in fines; up to 5 years license suspension.
- Misdemeanor (third-time offense)- Up to one-year imprisonment; up to $2,750 in fines; up to 10 years license suspension; required participation in drug addiction program.
- 4th-degree felony (fourth or fifth offense)- Up to five years imprisonment; up to $10,500 in fines, potential license suspension for life, potential criminal forfeiture of vehicle.
In addition, having an OVI conviction on your permanent record can negatively impact employment prospects, and requests for future loans or housing.
How an Experienced Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Dealing with a drugged driving offense or another criminal charge can feel overwhelming and scary. An experienced Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer will be able to answer your legal questions, and prepare a strong defense. Attorney Brad Groene from Luftman, Heck & Associates is knowledgeable of Ohio drugged driving laws and the local court system. He can assess your individual situation, protect your constitutional rights, and potentially get the charges reduced or reversed.
Every person is entitled to legal representation. Call (513) 338-1890 today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer, and get the support that you need.