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DUI / OVI and Marijuana

The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)—an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—found that marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug that year. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting Program, over 17,000 arrests for marijuana possession occurred in Ohio in 2013.

While operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) in Ohio is frequently associated with alcohol, the popularity of marijuana throughout the Buckeye State makes it no surprise that some alleged offenders are charged with so-called “drugged driving” for supposedly being under the influence of marijuana.

Even when a blood or urine test indicates there is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the principal psychoactive constituent of marijuana—in a person’s system, positive tests do not necessarily mean that alleged offenders were under the influence of cannabis at the time they were driving.

Marijuana OVI Lawyer in Dayton, OH

Were you arrested for a marijuana-related OVI offense in Ohio? The Joslyn Law Firm fights to get criminal charges relating to driving under the influence (DUI) of cannabis reduced or dismissed for clients all over Dayton, Kettering, Huber Heights, and many surrounding areas in Montgomery County.

Dayton DUI attorney Brian Joslyn also serves parts of Clark County, Greene County, and Miami County in Ohio. You can have him review your case as soon as you call (937) 356-3969 to set up a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Marijuana DUI in Ohio


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Marijuana OVI Charges in Ohio

A conviction for OVI relating to marijuana (referred to in the Ohio Revised Code as “marihuana”) is subject to the same punishments as an OVI based on alcohol consumption. The difference between alcohol-related and cannabis-based DUI charges though is how alleged impairment is proven.

Whereas intoxication in traditional alcohol-related OVI cases is generally determined through tests of the breath of alleged offenders, a motorist suspected of being under the influence of marijuana will be asked to submit to a blood or urine test.

Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19 establishes the following levels at which a person can be considered impaired “per se” (intoxicated by law):

  • A concentration of at least 10 nanograms of marihuana per milliliter of the person's urine; or
  • A concentration of at least two nanograms of marihuana per milliliter of the person's whole blood or blood serum or plasma.

Law enforcement is required by state law to have an alleged offender suspected of drug impairment submit to a blood or urine test within three hours of the traffic stop.


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The Role of Drug Recognition Experts in Marijuana DUI Cases

In 2010, Ohio became the 48th state to be accepted into the International Association of Chiefs of Police's (IACP) Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program that focuses on the detection and apprehension of drug-impaired drivers.

The DEC Program trains police officers as drug recognition experts (DREs) through a three-phase training curriculum that focuses on the identification of persons impaired or affected by alcohol and/or drugs.

When a police officer believes that an alleged offender is under the influence of marijuana, a DRE may be summoned to the scene to conduct the following 12-step evaluation:

  • Breath Alcohol Test;
  • Interview of the Arresting Officer;
  • Preliminary Examination;
  • Examinations of the Eyes;
  • Divided Attention Psychophysical Tests;
  • Examination of Vital Signs;
  • Dark Room Examinations;
  • Examination for Muscle Tone;
  • Examination for Injection Sites;
  • Suspect's Statements and Other Observations;
  • Opinions of the Evaluator; and
  • Toxicological Examination.

Prosecutors are big fans of DREs because the use of the word “expert” in their titles tends to create the impression among jurors that these officers have profound knowledge about drug use and impairment.

The truth, however, is that the DRE process is enormously flawed because the second step of interviewing the police officer immediately creates a sort of bias in which DREs typically reinforce that officer’s initial suspicions.

The opinions of a DRE and a failed drug test never translate to an automatic conviction. An experienced attorney will know how to attack the credibility of a DRE and call into question the results of any drug test.


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Resources for Marijuana OVI in Ohio

The Marijuana Detection Window | National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) — The NDCI is a nonprofit organization involved in sculpting the movement of drug courts within the United States and internationally. It was established by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), which is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit drug court organization. This study is a thorough examination of the length of time that cannabinoids remain in a person’s urine after marijuana has been smoked.

Miami Valley National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) — The Miami Valley NORML is a regional chapter of Ohio NORML serving the greater Dayton and Cincinnati areas. The mission of this chapter is to re-legalize marihuana for personal, industrial, and therapeutic use.” You can read recent articles, learn how to take action, and find ways to volunteer on this website.

Marijuana Anonymous | Ohio — Marijuana Anonymous (MA) is “a group of men and women who have lost the ability to control our marijuana use and have problems that relate directly or indirectly to marijuana.” On this section of the MA website, you can view literature and the times and locations of all meetings in Ohio. You can also find a link for a Marijuana Anonymous Video Chat Meeting that allows users to listen and see others without having to appear on camera.


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Find a Marijuana DUI Lawyer in Dayton

If you were recently arrested for OVI in Ohio because you were allegedly under the influence of cannabis, you should not delay in seeking legal representation. The Joslyn Law Firm defends clients throughout the greater Dayton area, including such surrounding communities as Kettering, Huber Heights, Beavercreek, Springfield, Piqua, Fairborn, and Troy.

Dayton criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn is experienced in resolving these types of case. Call (937) 356-3969 or submit an online form to have him evaluate your case during a free consultation.


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