Prescription Drug OVI

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a report that forty four percent of all Americans take at least one prescription medication. These drugs are used to enhance our health or ease symptoms related to a condition. However, the side effects of some prescription drugs mimic the effects of alcohol. If you’re pulled over for suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence, then you could find yourself in serious trouble.

You can easily be charged with OVI for simply taking your prescription rather than drinking. If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI because of a prescription drug, then it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can build a sturdy defense to prove why you weren’t under the influence of any sort of drug.

OVI Prescription Attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio

Prescription drugs can induce effects similar to alcohol such as drowsiness, fogged thinking, dilated pupils and slowed reflexes. Therefore, an officer does have the right to arrest you if they believe you were under the influence of a prescription drug. To fight back, we recommend you secure trusted representation with Joslyn Law Firm.

The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm understand how difficult it can be to fight OVI charges, especially if you’re new the criminal judicial system. We want to assist you by providing quality legal representation and working with you in tandem to reduce or dismiss your charges. Call us now to set up a free consultation.

We practice throughout the greater Hamilton County area and surrounding counties including Franklin County, Butler County, Pickaway County, Franklin County and Fairfield County. 

Overview of OVI Prescription in Ohio

Can I Get a DUI from My Prescription Medication in Ohio?

Officers are always on the lookout for drunken motorists, especially in the major counties of Ohio. Populous counties such as Franklin and Hamilton County have frequently been one of the top contenders for most OVI accidents and fatalities in the United States. That is why police officers are rather strict and may charge with OVI for simply using your prescription. 

Prescription drugs often have similar side effects that alcohol or other illegal substances has. You may just be drowsy because you took your medication, but the police officer could take this as a sign that you’re inebriated. They will often ask you to undergo chemical testing to confirm if you’re DUI, but these tests are highly flawed, and you could get a false positive. 

Refusing a test will also put you under great suspicion and land you with a suspended license. People who decline chemical testing must have their license administratively suspended for up to one year. A second refusal will result in a two-year suspension and a third is another three-year suspension. You could even be criminally charged if you receive a refusal after having your guilt adjudicated for a previous OVI charge.

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Common Prescriptions That Can Lead to DUI Charges in Ohio

A prescription medication is used by patients so they can protect their health or ease debilitating symptoms. In some cases, a prescription drug can lead to the same effects as a controlled substance or alcohol including slowed reflex time and slurred speech. The following are some common prescriptions associated with DUI cases.

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

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Summary of 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

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Admissible Defenses for Prescription Drug DUI in Ohio

Thankfully, the Ohio Revised Code does offer admissible defenses that can be used in court to prove your innocence. Under Ohio Revised Code section 4511.19, OVI charges do not apply to a person if the substance they are “under the influence of” if both of the following apply: 

  • The substance was prescribed by a licensed health professional who is authorized to prescribe drugs; and
  • You injected, ingested or inhaled the prescription medication in accordance to the licensed health professional’s instructions

If a valid prescription is present, it can be very difficult for prosecutors to present concrete evidence that the medication impaired your ability to drive. Another valid defense for an OVI case is lack of evidence. If the officer didn’t have any test result of your intoxication, then the judge may throw out your case because of insufficient evidence. 

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Additional Resources 

Narcotics Anonymous – Visit the official website for Narcotics Anonymous, a global community that offers recovery services and therapy through group-based discussions. Visit their site to find a meeting in your area, resources for victims of addictions and survivor stories.   

Ohio’s OVI Laws – Visit the official website for the Ohio Revised Code to learn more about Ohio’s penalties for people driving drunk. Access their statutes to learn more about operating a vehicle while intoxicated as well as other related traffic offenses in Ohio.

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Defense Lawyer for Prescription DUI in Hamilton County, OH

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a prescription-related drugs, then it’s important you contact an experienced attorney with Joslyn Law Firm. Our firm with equipped with the experience and resources you need to tackle your case. Contact us today to hire a knowledgeable attorney who doesn’t just represents you but is also your legal partner. 

Call us today to schedule your first free consultation. We can set up your first appointment free on us and discuss your charges. Joslyn Law Firm represents people throughout the greater Hamilton County area including Cincinnati, Harrison, Blue Ash, Norwood and Cleves.

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This article was last updated on July 31, 2019.