Driving under the influence of drugs is becoming an increasing problem on Ohio roads, and what many drivers may not know is that drugged driving carries the same penalties under Ohio law as driving under the influence of alcohol.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is warning drivers about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs in the wake of a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse that indicates higher percentages of teenage drivers who operate motor vehicles under the influence of marijuana than under the influence of alcohol.
According to the report, 1 in 6 teens reported on a survey that they had driven under the influence of alcohol or drugs within the preceding two weeks, and 1 in 4 said they had been a passenger in a car driven by someone under the influence. While the percentage of teens who reported either driving or being a passenger of a driver under the influence of alcohol had dropped over a decade, the percentage of teens who said they drove or were passengers of someone driving under the influence of marijuana had risen.
By 2011, more than 23 percent of teens responded affirmatively about driving or being a passenger of someone under the influence of marijuana, while only 19 percent said they had driven or were passengers of someone driving under the influence of alcohol.
But drugged driving isn’t only a problem among teen drivers. OHSP officials told a Cleveland-area TV station that growing drug use is leading to more instances of drugged driving, and that troopers responded to 7,000 crashes involving drugs in Ohio over the last two years.
A 2013 survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that nearly 10 million people reported driving under the influence of drugs, and nearly 29 million drove under the influence of alcohol.
Consequences for Drugged Driving in Ohio
Similar to driving under the influence, Ohio has limits regarding the amount of drugs you can have in your system when you’re pulled over on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle under the influence. If you’re over those limits when you take a blood or urine test, you can be charged with OVID per se, just as if you had been drinking and had a breath test over the .08 legal limit. If you refuse to take a blood or urine test, you face the same penalties as if you refused a breath test for a DUI, namely a lengthy driver’s license suspension.
However, even if you’re not over the limit you can be charged with an OVID impaired charge if a trooper or police officer saw you weaving between lanes or exhibiting other signs that your driving was impaired because you had used drugs. Penalties if you’re convicted include possible jail time, fines, and loss of your driver’s license for the OVID itself in addition to any suspension you incurred if you refused a blood or urine test.
If you had drugs in your possession at the time you were driving and the officer found them in a search of you or your vehicle, you may face drug-related charges in addition to the OVID.
The Columbus DUI defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates have significant experience representing people who have been charged with DUI, OVI and OVID in Ohio. If you’ve been charged, call us today at (614) 500-3836 for a free consultation.