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How is an Ohio OVI charge related to drugs distinct?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Drug Crimes

An operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) offense in Ohio is a serious criminal charge. Someone accused of being under the influence of mind-altering substances could be at risk of a variety of penalties if they plead guilty or the courts convict them of that offense.

Many OVI charges specifically relate to someone who has had too many alcoholic beverages. Someone who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or who demonstrates obviously impaired ability at the wheel is at risk of arrest and prosecution. In some cases, the person accused did not have too much to drink but rather consumed prohibited drugs or prescribed medication before driving. A drugged driving OVI charge can potentially be different from an alcohol-related OVI offense.

The potential penalties are the same

Ohio does not necessarily impose more serious criminal consequences for an OVI offense involving drugs instead of just alcoholic beverages. The same prison sentence, license consequences and fines are possible regardless of the type of substance affecting someone’s driving ability. That being said, a judge handing down a sentence might be a bit harsher with someone accused of violating drug statutes, not just OVI laws.

There is no per se limit

Some people can successfully defend against alcohol-related OVI charges by proving that alcohol test results are inaccurately high. That approach does not work for a drug-related offense because there is no per se limit for any kind of drug. Any amount of a prohibited or controlled substance in someone’s bloodstream is an adequate reason for a police officer to arrest someone and the state to pursue OVI charges.

Testing procedures may be different

There are numerous standard processes in place for testing people for alcohol intoxication. Breath tests, field sobriety tests and blood tests can all help establish an illegal amount of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream. Neither breath tests nor standard field sobriety tests necessarily prove that someone is under the influence of drugs. Police officers may require more invasive testing when they suspect impairment related to drug use.

Those accused of an OVI related to drugs may need to discuss their situation with a skilled legal team to determine their best options for a defense. Responding appropriately to OVI charges could potentially help people avoid the most serious penalties that the state might impose.