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OVI and Prescription Drugs

Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19 states that no person shall operate any vehicle if at the time of the operation, that motorist “is under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.”

Many people understandably assume that the statute is only referring to illegal drugs, but the truth is that police in the Buckeye State have the authority to arrest drivers for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) if they are under the influence of many perfectly legal prescribed medications.

State law establishes specific legal limits for the amount of amphetamine, cocaine, and heroin that can result in “per se” OVI (blood or urine concentrations that mean an alleged offender is considered intoxicated by law) charges.

An OVI (frequently referred to as driving under the influence or DUI) charge that is based on prescription drugs can be much more difficult for a prosecutor to prove because the state will have to demonstrate that a lawfully prescribed medication actually affected the alleged offender’s ability to drive.

Prescription Drug OVI Lawyer in Dayton, OH

If you were recently arrested for so-called “drugged driving” because you were allegedly under the influence of a prescription medication, it is in your best interest to make sure that you have skilled legal counsel.

The Joslyn Law Firm defends clients all over the greater Dayton area of Montgomery County, including Kettering, Huber Heights, and many surrounding areas.

Dayton prescription drug DUI attorney Brian Joslyn also represents alleged offenders in Greene County, Clark County, and Miami County. Call (937) 356-3969 today to take advantage of a free consultation that will let our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options.


Overview of DUI and Prescription Drugs in Montgomery County


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Prescription Drug OVI Charges in Ohio

If police officers suspect motorists of DUI relating to prescription drugs, they may have probable cause to seek a blood or urine test from the alleged offender. Police may want to identify the controlled substances in a person’s system if the alleged offender’s driving and/or mannerisms suggest impairment without evidence of alcohol consumption, or if there is other evidence of prescription drug use by the driver.

A blood or urine test needs to be conducted within three hours of the initial stop, and an alleged offender’s refusal to submit to testing will result in automatic driver’s license suspension. A person’s license will be suspended for one year after first refusal, two years for second refusal within six years, three years for third refusal within three years, and five years for all subsequent refusals.

While state law establishes specific per se limits for OVI relating to illegal drugs, prescription medications are far more subjective. Prosecutors will typically need to either have experts testify that certain amounts of a prescription drug dangerously affect a person’s ability to drive or witnesses testify that a prescription medication visibly impaired the alleged offender.

Some of the most common prescription drugs involved in alleged DUI cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Adderall;
  • Ambien;
  • Ativan;
  • Codeine;
  • Demerol;
  • Hydrocodone;
  • Klonopin;
  • Lorcet;
  • Lortab;
  • Lunesta;
  • Methadone;
  • Morphine;
  • Norco;
  • Oxycodone;
  • Oxycontin;
  • Percocet;
  • Ritalin;
  • Valium;
  • Vicodin; and
  • Xanax.

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Prescription Drug DUI Defenses in Dayton, OH

Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19(K) states that OVI charges relating to prescription drugs do not apply to alleged offenders who operate vehicles while they have a concentration of a listed controlled substance or a listed metabolite of a controlled substance in their whole blood, blood serum or plasma, or urine that equals or exceeds the amount specified in that division, if both of the following apply:

  • The person obtained the controlled substance pursuant to a prescription issued by a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs; and
  • The person injected, ingested, or inhaled the controlled substance in accordance with the health professional's directions.

In prescription drug DUI cases, it can be very difficult for a prosecutor to present concrete evidence that a medication caused any side effects that impaired an alleged offender’s ability to drive.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can often use such a lack of evidence to get criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed.


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Resources for OVI and Prescription Drugs in Ohio

Project C.U.R.E., Inc. — Project C.U.R.E., Inc. is a nonprofit drug rehabilitation program that provides professional rehabilitative and support services to people with substance abuse problems in Montgomery County. It is licensed and certified by the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS). You can learn more about outpatient, medical department, and other treatment services on this website.

Project C.U.R.E., Inc.
1800 North James H. McGee Boulevard
Dayton, OH 45417
(937) 262-3500

Dayton Area Service Committee of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) — NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. It uses a traditional 12-step model similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous that has been expanded and developed for people with varied substance abuse issues. You can find meetings in the Dayton area, view upcoming events, and download NA material on this website.

Drug Abuse Trends in the Dayton Region — The Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring (OSAM) Network consists of eight regional epidemiologists (REPIs). You can read more about drug abuse trends in the Dayton region in this report, in which prescription opioids were second only to alcohol among drugs used by OSAM drug consumers. The study also breaks down drug users by age, gender, education, and income.


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Find a Prescription Drug DUI Lawyer in Dayton, OH

Have you been charged with OVI because you were allegedly under the influence of a prescription drug while driving? The Joslyn Law Firm fights to protect the rights of clients throughout Dayton and many surrounding communities, such as Huber Heights, Kettering, Troy, Piqua, Beavercreek, Fairborn, and Springfield.

Dayton criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn has a deep understanding of drugged driving arrests and has been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as an instructor in the administration of standardized field sobriety tests.

He can provide a thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (937) 356-3969 or complete an online form to arrange a free, confidential consultation.


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