DUI / OVI Prescription Drugs
In Columbus, driving under the influence (DUI), known as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) for Ohio legal purposes, is an offense that is frequently only associated with alcohol. However, Ohio OVI law governs not just the operation of motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol, but operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs (DUID) as well.
Prescription drugs in Ohio are handled by the same laws and drug schedules as recreational drugs, and can therefore cause a DUID arrest. There are many defenses to a prescription drug DUI offense in Franklin County, and an experienced Columbus OVI defense lawyer can use these strategies to fight for a reduction or dismissal of your DUI prescription drugs case.
Columbus OVI Prescription Drugs Defense Lawyer
Facing an OVI charge in Ohio can be an intimidating process all on its own, and can be even more stressful when you add in the involvement of prescription drugs. If you are facing charges of prescription drug OVI in Franklin County or the surrounding areas of Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, or Fairfield County, contact the experienced Columbus DUI defense attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm.
They will use their OVI defense experience and BAC testing training to fight for your rights while revealing cracks in the prosecution’s case. For your free consultation on what Joslyn Law Firm can do for your prescription drug DUI case, call today.
Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs in Ohio
In Ohio, driving under the influence, or OVI, is defined in O.R.C. § 4511.19 as the operation of any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley when under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse as defined in Ohio’s drug schedules, or any combination of the two. Though the statute specifies the legal limit for alcohol at .08, the only limit for prescription drugs that is specified in a quantitative manner beyond “under the influence” is amphetamines.
A person is legally violating the law for driving under the influence of amphetamines if he or she exceeds 500 nanograms of amphetamine per milliliter of urine or 100 nanograms of amphetamine per milliliter of whole blood, blood serum, or plasma. For other prescription drugs, the standard of under the influence is subject to precedents, common law, and analyses like field sobriety tests.
Any person found to be under the influence of prescription drugs while operating a motor vehicle will be charged and prosecuted the same as if they were driving with a blood or breath alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08. An Ohio law enforcement officer has reasonable cause to test your blood for prescription drugs if your driving behavior indicates OVI but there is no alcohol present, if there is evidence of prescription drugs in a routine traffic stop, or if there is evidence of prescription drugs and you are in actual physical control of a vehicle, among other circumstances.
Actual physical control does not require that you be driving. Whether you had actual physical control of a vehicle will be determined based on a number of factors, including if the keys were in the ignition or close enough to easily put in the ignition, if the hood of the vehicle was hot due to recent operation or if the engine was actually running, and if the vehicle was capable of being operated. Without actual physical control or reasonable cause for a blood test for prescription drugs, an experienced Columbus OVI defense lawyer may be able to have key evidence thrown out or your Franklin County prescription drug DUI dismissed.
Common Prescription Drugs Abused in the Columbus Area
Prescription drugs are in specifically included in Ohio’s drug schedule for a reason: despite their accepted medical use, they have a high rate of abuse both as a recreational drug and as a salve to an addiction that began while the drug was legally prescribed. In fact, it’s estimated that 25-30 percent of the national drug problem is due to prescription drugs. Some of the prescription drugs commonly abused in the Columbus area include:
- Prescription opiates – oxycodone, hydrocodone, Vicodin, Lortab, Percocet, OxyContin
- Prescription cold and cough medication with codeine or hydrocodone – Tussin, Tussionex
- Prescription sedative-hypnotics or benzodiazepine – diazepam, alprazolam, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax
- Prescription stimulants – methylphenidate, amphetamine mixture – Ritalin, Adderall
If you are caught driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle in the Columbus area with any of these or other prescription medications or their metabolites in your system, you will most likely be charged with drugged OVI. An experienced DUID defense lawyer serving Franklin County will be able to fight to reduce or dismiss your charges based on various defenses, including if you have a prescription.
Affirmative Defense for Columbus Prescription Drug DUI
It is a valid, affirmative defense to an Ohio prescription drug OVI per ORC 451.19(k)(1) that the person operating the vehicle both had a valid prescription from an authorized health professional and was taking the medicine according to that health professional’s directions.
This means that if you were driving with your prescription in your system but didn’t have it with you, had the metabolite in your system from a previous prescription, or had your prescription on you in a different container than its original and are charged with DUI, it is a valid defense in Columbus court to show proof of your prescription and that you were taking it as prescribed. An experienced prescription DUI defense lawyer can take the steps to fight for a dismissal of your Franklin County OVI charge based on this premise.
Penalties for Prescription Drug DUI in Ohio
A conviction for OVI with prescription drugs in Ohio comes with serious penalties. In addition to the statutory penalties assigned by the class of your offense, you will face sanctions like mandatory minimum jail time (3 days for a first offense), a driver’s license suspension, a drug and alcohol awareness program, mandatory drug tests, and drug abuse treatment. Prescription drug OVI under Ohio law is generally classed as a first-degree misdemeanor.
This means that for a first OVI in Franklin County, you are facing up to 180 days (6 months) in jail and a fine of $375-$1,075. For a second conviction of prescription drug OVI, you face 10 days to 6 months in jail, $300-$1,500 in fines, and up to a 5 year license suspension. A skilled criminal defense lawyer for OVI in Franklin County can help you fight these consequences by exposing weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as the presence of a prescription or problems with the drug test.
Joslyn Law Firm | Prescription Drug DUI Defense Attorney in Franklin County
If you have been arrested for OVI with prescription drugs in Columbus, Grove City, Westerville, Lancaster, Springfield, Reynoldsburg, Delaware, Dublin, or the surrounding areas, the experienced DUI defense lawyers of Joslyn Law Firm in Columbus will fight to obtain a favorable outcome for you. We will work to get key evidence dismissed due to faulty drug testing, a false positive from inactive metabolites, or the presence of a valid prescription, among other strategies.
Your first consultation on your prescription drug OVI case is free, so call (614) 444-1900 today to schedule yours.