DUI/OVI and Marijuana

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DUI/OVI and Marijuana

Americans have recently grown an affinity for cannabis over the years. It was recorded in the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) that marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug that year. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) reported that in 2013 there were over 17,000 arrests for marijuana possession in Ohio.

Most people associated driving under the influence (DUI) or operating under the influence (OVI) with alcohol. However, you can be charged with an OVI/DUI for being under the influence of a controlled substance such as marijuana. If you’re found over the legal limit, then you will face the same penalties as someone who was drinking while driving.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney for representation.

Attorney for Marijuana DUI in Cincinnati, Ohio

Have you been arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis in Ohio? If so, it’s extremely important you secure legal representation. You’re likely to be charged with OVI and could face serious penalties including expensive fines, court programs and even jail time.

Fight back by gaining representation with Joslyn Law Firm. Our attorneys understand how complex a marijuana DUI case can be, so we want to apply our skills to your situation. Contact us now to set up your first free consultation. We accept clients throughout the greater Cincinnati area and surrounding communities including Cleves, Norwood, and Blue Ash.

Overview of Marijuana OVI in Ohio

Can You Be Charged with DUI for Using Marijuana in Ohio?

In Ohio, you can be charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Since marijuana remains a schedule I drug under the Ohio Revised Code, it means you can be charged for driving under the influence of cannabis. You will face the same penalties, but how officers test for marijuana DUI are different.

Most intoxicated drivers are asked to perform a breathalyzer or breath test by the officer. If they blow an .08 blood alcohol concentration, then they will be arrested and charged with OVI. However, law enforcement takes a different approach when it comes to marijuana. They will instead have the motorists undergo a blood or urine test to prove they’re inebriated.

Ohio Revised Code section 4511,19 stats that a person can be considered impaired “per se” (intoxicated by the law) if they have the following test results:

  • A concentration of at least 10 nanograms of marijuana per millimeter in their urine; or
  • A concentration or at least two nanograms of marijuana pet millimeter of the person’s blood, blood serum or plasma sample

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Issues with Detection Times and Marijuana

It’s important to note that all drugs don’t leave your system immediately once the high has worn off. Most drugs have metabolites which remain in your system for an extended period of time also known as a detection time. Some drugs have short detection times, but marijuana is not one of them. This can cause serious discrepancies when it comes to DUI testing.

A single use of cannabis (in some cases even a few puffs) can lead it remaining in your body for three days. Using the substance a few times a week will extend the detection time to 5 days. If you’re a daily user, it could take up to two weeks for the drug to leave your system. Some chronic users must wait over a month for the drug’s metabolites to dissolve.

This means the test results for the officer’s DUI breath or blood test could be from usage days or even weeks ago. Since drug tests aren’t specific enough to pinpoint when a drug was last used it can cause law enforcement to believe you were high while driving. Even if you hadn’t consumed marijuana in days.

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Summary of First Time OVI Penalties in Ohio



First OVI with a “Low” BAC

First OVI with a “High” BAC

First OVI with a Refusal



Jail Time



A minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 6 months in jail



A minimum of 6 days and a maximum of 6 months in jail



A minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 6 months in jail






A minimum of $375 and a maximum fine of $1,075



A minimum of $375 and a maximum fine of $1,075



A minimum of $375 and a maximum fine of $1,075



License Suspension


A minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 3 years with a suspended license


A minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 3 years with a suspended license

1 year
of an Administrative License Suspension and possibly up to 6 months court suspension


Driving Privileges


Not eligible to drive for up to 15 days from the date of the crime


Not eligible to drive for up to 15 days from the date of the crime


Not eligible to drive for up to 30 days from the date of the crime

Check out our page to learn more about first time OVI charges in Ohio

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Additional Resources

NORML Ohio – Visit the official website for NORML, the National Organization for Reformation of Marijuana Laws. Access their site to learn more about the state laws for possession, sale, and manufacturing as well as state arrest data and updates for cannabis-related legislation.

Ohio’s OVI Laws – Visit the official website for the Ohio Revised Code to learn more about their statutes concerning OVI laws. Access the legislation to read more regarding OVI charges, the penalties, admissible defenses and other related traffic offenses.

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Cincinnati Lawyer for Marijuana OVI in Ohio

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence, then it’s imperative you seek legal counsel. Depending on when you used the drug, the test results could come up positive. Don’t take chances with the courts and contact Joslyn Law Firm for a skilled attorney.

Our attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm understand the stigma and stress associated with OVI. We want to ease that by offering strong representation and protecting your rights. We approach every case thoughtfully and aggressively, so our clients receive optimal representation. Call us now to set up your first free consultation.

Joslyn Law Firm practices throughout Hamilton County and surrounding counties including Butler County, Franklin County, Pickaway County, Weber County and Preble County.

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This article was last updated on July 31, 2019.

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