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Ohio motorists risk serious fines, loss of their driving privileges, incarceration, and other criminal penalties if they are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a misdemeanor, but prior convictions can increase the penalties imposed at sentencing or, in the case of a fourth conviction, elevate the charge to a felony.
Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.19 makes it a crime to operate a vehicle in Medina, Wooster, or North Canton while under the influence of a drug of abuse. The law lists concentrations of various controlled substances that, if present in a driver’s blood or urine, will establish that the individual was driving under the influence, including:
A first-time offender who commits a DUI can expect to receive a mandatory minimum jail term of three days with a maximum sentence of six months. As an alternative to the mandatory three-day jail sentence, a judge has discretion to order that an offender attend and successfully complete a driver intervention program. Other penalties include a fine ranging from $375 to $1,075. The driver’s license of the individual will also be suspended for one to three years.
The penalties that a judge may impose upon a convicted motorist increase if there has been a prior violation of the DUI laws. Authorized penalties and sanctions include:
An operator of a motor vehicle in Ohio is deemed to have given consent to a test of their blood or urine to determine the level of drugs, controlled substances, or metabolites. A driver who refuses to give a blood or urine sample when requested by a police officer having probable cause to arrest the person for DUI is subject to administrative proceedings to suspend the person’s license.
Under the implied consent law in Ohio, the license of a driver shall be suspended for one year if it is the person’s first refusal. Subsequent refusals within a six-year period will increase the length of the suspension to as much as three years.
Ohio law enforcement officers are authorized to use reasonable means to compel a driver to submit to a chemical test following a DUI arrest. An officer who uses force is immune from civil or criminal liability, provided it was done in good faith and without malicious purpose.
A Medina criminal defense attorney might be of assistance to a person charged with committing a DUI after using drugs or a controlled substance. For example, if the controlled substance was obtained using a prescription issued by a doctor or other licensed health professional and was taken according to that person’s directions, it could constitute a defense under Ohio law.
Another aspect of a DUI arrest around which an attorney might be able to formulate a defense strategy concerns the requirement under the Ohio DUI law that a person must be in physical control of a vehicle in order to be charged. A person who is not in the driver’s seat or who is not in possession of the ignition key might have a defense to a DUI charge.
A DUI arrest can significantly affect your freedom and your financial future. For answers to your questions or concerns about DUI, contact Erb Legal LLC today at (330) 446-3606. We serve clients throughout Medina County, Wayne County, and Summit County, Ohio.