As of today, recreational marijuana use is legal in Ohio. What is not legal is operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. Ohio has five laws related to cannabis and cars, and those laws remain unaffected by Ohio’s legalization of recreational marijuana.
An article published earlier this month addresses the accuracy of field sobriety tests (FSTs). A team of researchers set-out to evaluate the effectiveness of FSTs for identifying drivers under the influence of THC. The researchers conducted clinical trials involving THC use, field sobriety testing, and driving simulations. The clinical trials showed the FSTs do not effectively discriminate between people who are impaired and people who are not impaired.
When a driver is prosecuted for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio), what evidence is sufficient to sustain a conviction? The prosecution must prove the defendant operated a vehicle under the influence of a drug of abuse. That requires the prosecution to prove the defendant was impaired while operating the vehicle, identify the specific drug which was ingested, and link the drug’s ingestion to the defendant’s impairment.
In November of 2022, an article in this blog reported the state of Ohio intends to use oral fluid testing in the future. The future is here. When NBC4 reported on the Traffic Safety Council’s recommendation of oral fluid testing for DUI cases (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio), the Ohio Department of Health had already passed new regulations which add oral fluid to the bodily substances which may be tested. Those regulations became effective on January 23, 2023.
We’ve used this space in the past to discuss issues with Ohio’s approach to DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) cases involving marijuana. The rising prevalence of marijuana OVIs following Ohio’s legalization of medical marijuana has shown Ohio’s OVI laws are woefully out-of-date to deal with these issues. A recent bill in the Ohio Senate seeks to update the way the law treats marijuana OVIs. This bill, if passed, would have a profound impact on the way marijuana OVI cases are charged, handled by courts, and defended by OVI defense attorneys.
According to a news report by NBC4 Columbus, the state of Ohio intends to use oral fluid testing to obtain evidence of drugged driving. In the video from NBC4, the Ohio Traffic Safety Council indicates there are increasing numbers of crashes caused by drug-impaired drivers. To combat this problem, the Traffic Safety Council recommends that law enforcement agencies implement oral fluid testing. This testing method has some advantages over currently used drug tests, but it also has drawbacks.
I’m not crazy about cold weather, and autumn signals the inevitable temperature decreases in Ohio. On the other hand, autumn also means the O.S.U. football season, as well as the annual DUI defense seminar in Las Vegas. I have attended the seminar about 20 times, and this year I gave a presentation.
Determining whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana is challenging. The standardized field sobriety tests used to predict alcohol levels are ineffective for marijuana intoxication. Levels of THC and its metabolites in blood and urine are not closely correlated with marijuana intoxication. So, how can law enforcement determine when THC is impairing a person’s ability to drive? Researchers are working on brain imaging technology which may offer a more reliable method for identifying impairment from marijuana intoxication.
A few days before the Kansas City Chiefs were to play in the Super Bowl, assistant coach Britt Reid (son of head coach Andy Reid) was involved in a three-car accident which left a five-year-old in critical condition. Earlier this month, Britt Reid was charged with the felony offense of ‘DWI-Serious Physical Injury’. While this incident occurred in Missouri, the investigation which led to the charge is essentially the same as a Vehicular Assault investigation in Ohio.
Many people charged with DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio), especially those charged with a first offense, feel like they are in the dark. They do not understand the elements and consequences of OVI, and they do not know what to expect in the court process. They also are uncertain about whether to hire a lawyer and how to find a good defense attorney. I recently published a new book, the Ohio DUI/OVI Guide, which answers most of the questions people ask in this situation. My hope is that those who read the guide will no longer be in the dark.