The short answer is yes.
Ohio’s OVI (Operating a Vehicle under the influence) law has two key parts:
The first part is commonly referred to as the impairment charge and this essentially refers to if the officer believes the individual is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. Under this section, there would not be any sort of chemical test like a breath test, urine test, or blood draw.
The second is commonly referred to as the per se charge and this means if an individual has a certain level of alcohol or drug in their system, regardless of impairment, they will be charged with an OVI. (Think .08 for alcohol)
Ohio’s OVI statute does go through the prohibited levels of marijuana deemed to be in someone’s system after a urine test or blood draw and I won’t bore you with those (way too many nanograms to type) but the REALLY important thing to understand about Ohio OVI’s law is that it includes THC and marijuana metabolites.
Here’s a quick primer on marijuana.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and that’s what gives you a high.
The effects of THC wears off fairly quickly- usually 60-120 minutes. As THC breaks down, it becomes metabolites. Some metabolites are active, meaning they may have an impairing effect, and some are inactive, meaning they have absolutely no impairing effect.
Metabolites can stay in an individual’s system for 30-45 days and maybe longer if someone is an active user.
So it’s often surprising for folks to learn that Ohio’s OVI statute just says metabolites, meaning it includes active and inactive metabolites.
To break it down (a little metabolite joke!) under Ohio’s OVI law you can be charged for an OVI if you have inactive non-impairing metabolites in your system from smoking weeks ago.
The Ohio Supreme Court has said this is fair, so at this point, we are left with fighting these cases in the trial court if an individual is charged.
These are cases where you absolutely need a lawyer who has handled these cases. Protect yourself and fight.