Prescription drug use is on the rise across Ohio. One unfortunate side effect of more people using legal drugs is the increase in the number of people who are driving under the influence of said drugs. Law enforcement is now pulling over more innocent drivers for allegedly driving under the influence of their prescribed prescription drugs.
You need to know the facts about driving after having taken your medications so that you can protect your rights and future. This blog post will cover what Ohio state law qualifies as a prescription drug-related DUI and the steps you can take to protect your freedom.
How does Ohio define a drug-related OVI/DUI?
Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Revised Code1 explains that anyone who operates any vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be charged with an OVI/DUI. The law does not carve out an exemption for people who use legal prescription drugs and then drive a vehicle. The use of many prescription drugs could cause a person to get an OVI, including:
- Pain medication, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, Percocet and OxyContin
- Over the counter cough and cold medications that cause drowsiness or impairment
- Sleeping pills, like Ambien or Lunesta
- Antihistamines that cause drowsiness
- Anti-anxiety medication which cause fatigue, such as Valium or Xanax
- Anti-addiction medications, like Suboxone and Methadone
Generally, the process for getting charged with an OVI/DUI involves a police officer pulling over a driver who was supposedly driving erratically and then asking that driver to complete a field sobriety test (FST)2. If the driver does not pass the officer’s FST, they will then be charged with a DUI/OVI and arrested. The arrested person will then be asked to give a sample of their blood, blood plasma or urine for testing. Refusing to provide this sample carries serious penalties, such as losing your license.
How can you defend yourself from a drug-related OVI/DUI?
If you were wrongfully charged with an OVI/DUI, you can take steps to protect your freedom. A knowledgeable OVI/DUI defense attorney can assess the details of your criminal charges and determine if law enforcement followed the correct procedures during your arrest. Field sobriety tests are prone to errors and police officers must be certified to administer the test legally. Law enforcement can also make severe mistakes when testing a person’s blood or urine samples.
At The Law Office Brian Jones, our team of experienced defense attorneys in Delaware fight for our clients. You can contact us now to schedule an appointment with a trusted lawyer.