“I was wrongly convicted of murder. I spent nearly 17 years in prison fighting my case. When I finally won a new trial, I chose Greg Robey to be a part of my defense team. He found an FBI agent who had worked on the case in the 1980s, along with critical pieces of evidence that we thought were long lost. After a long and very hard-fought trial, I was found Not Guilty of all charges. I owe my freedom to Greg Robey and my defense team.” -R.R., Ravenna, Ohio
Impaired driving arrests generally involve drivers who are drunk, but it is also illegal to drive under the influence of a drug of abuse in Ohio. A law enforcement officer might have grounds for suspicion that a driver has been using illegal drugs if there is a strong odor of marijuana smoke in the car, but in many cases, there might not be any overt signs of drug use. Police may be using subjective criteria when they pull people over on suspicion of drug impairment.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the percentage of motor vehicle fatalities involving drugs rose from 13 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2010. Since only 63 percent of all fatalities were tested for drugs in their system, these percentages could be higher or lower. The report also has an interesting caveat at the beginning: “Drug involvement does not mean the driver was impaired or that drug use was the cause of the crash.”
Charges of driving under the influence of a controlled substance rely on blood or urine tests that show metabolites of the drug. Since people metabolize drugs differently, such tests may not accurately correlate with impaired driving. Another concern is that some prescription drugs, like those containing amphetamine, are included in the current DUI list of illegal controlled substances.
An arrest for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) of drugs is just as serious as a drunk driving charge and is subject to the same penalties. If you are facing a drug-related OVI, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your best defense options. We will examine all the details of your arrest and test results to ensure that your legal rights have not been violated and work to negotiate the best outcome in your case.