The classic picture of someone being arrested for DUI is a glassy-eyed person stumbling through field sobriety tests after having a few too many drinks at a bar or a party. But in Ohio, you also can be arrested for a form of DUI if you drive under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. If you are facing charged for drugged driving in Columbus, don’t delay contacting an experienced impaired driving lawyer.
There are two ways you can be arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, or OVID, in Central Ohio — by simply being “under the influence” or by having a quantity of the drug in your urine or blood that exceeds the legal limits in Ohio Revised Code 4511.19. A police officer may arrest you for being under the influence after observing evidence of impairment, such as weaving in and out of your lane on the highway, or performing field sobriety tests and observing clues that indicate you’re impaired. You can be arrested for being under the influence even if the quantity of alcohol or drugs in your system does not exceed the legal limits.
However, when the amount of drugs in your blood or urine does exceed the legal limits, you can be arrested and charged with OVID per se, or in other words violating the OVID statute simply by the fact of having more than the legal limit of drugs in your system.
Ohio Revised Code 4511.19 sets the following limits with regard to the quantity of illicit drugs in your blood or urine. If you have these amounts or more in your blood or urine, you may be charged with OVID per se.
|Drug||Limits in Urine||Limits in Blood|
|Amphetamine||500 nanograms per milliliter||100 nanograms per milliliter|
|Cocaine||150 nanograms per milliliter||50 nanograms per milliliter|
|Cocaine Metabolite||150 nanograms per milliliter||50 nanograms per milliliter|
|Heroin||2,000 nanograms per milliliter||50 nanograms per milliliter|
|Heroin Metabolite||10 nanograms per milliliter||10 nanograms per milliliter|
|LSD||25 nanograms per milliliter||10 nanograms per milliliter|
|Marijuana||10 nanograms per milliliter||2 nanograms per milliliter|
|Marijuana Metabolite||35 nanograms per milliliter||50 nanograms per milliliter|
|Marijuana Metabolite in combination with alcohol or other drugs||15 nanograms per milliliter||5 nanograms per milliliter|
|Methamphetamine||500 nanograms per milliliter||100 nanograms per milliliter|
|Phencyclidine (PCP)||25 nanograms per milliliter||10 nanograms per milliliter|
Ohio Revised Code 4511.19 also includes a provision regarding salvia divinorum, a hallucinogenic form of sage sometimes taken to induce visions. If you have the amount of salvia divinorum or salvinorin A in your urine or blood that the State Board of Pharmacy has ruled makes a person impaired for purposes of operating a vehicle, you can be arrested for OVID.
Drug Testing and Consequences of Refusal
When an officer suspects you of driving under the influence of drugs, he or she will ask you to submit to a blood or urine test to determine whether drugs are present in your body and whether the amount exceeds the legal limit. The officer is required to get your consent within two hours of your alleged violation, and your sample must be collected within three hours.
There are penalties if you refuse to take a blood or urine test. Ohio Revised Code 4511.191 says any person who drives on a public highway is deemed to give consent to chemical tests of breath, blood, or urine to determine the alcohol or drug content in your body. When you refuse, your driver’s license can be suspended for a year for your first refusal, two years for your second refusal, three years for your third refusal, and five years for subsequent refusals.
If you refuse to voluntarily give a blood or urine sample, the officer must then get a judge to issue a warrant to compel you to give a sample. It has been the law in Ohio that a police officer could compel you to give a blood sample without a warrant when there were extenuating circumstances, and to use “any reasonable means necessary” when you have two or more previous DUI convictions. However, a recent court case may render that provision an unconstitutional violation of your Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Penalties for Drugged Driving in Columbus
The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are the same as for driving under the influence of alcohol. The offense can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the circumstances and whether you have prior OVI convictions within the past 10 years.
You’re likely to serve jail time — anywhere from a mandatory minimum of three days on a first offense to several months if you’ve had multiple OVIs — plus a driver’s license suspension and the potential for thousands of dollars in fines. Under some circumstances, you may be required to put special license plates on your car that brand you as someone convicted of OVI.
Defenses Against Your Drugged Driving Charge
Defenses to drugged driving charges most often will involve challenging the results of your blood or urine test. There are a number of grounds on which you may dispute your test results as invalid or inaccurate, such as improper testing procedures, lab contamination, or that the analysis wasn’t performed by qualified personnel. An experienced criminal defense attorney who handles drugged driving cases can discuss with you your best options for fighting the charge or trying to negotiate a reduced charge with lighter penalties.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we can help you confront the Ohio criminal justice system from your arrest through to your trial. By advocating for your rights and thinking strategically about your case defense, we will maximize your chances of obtaining a positive case result. If you’ve been charged with OVI, call us today at (614) 500-3836 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.
Facing Drugged Driving Charges in Columbus? Contact Us.
If you’ve been charged with a OVI / DUI, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced Columbus DUI attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at (614) 500-3836 or via email at [email protected].