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When prescription drugs lead to drugged driving charges

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is now training the state's police force to recognize and handle drivers who are under the influence of drugs.

A sergeant with the Highway Patrol's Brook Park post, who is training his colleagues to detect the signs of drugged driving, said heroin and marijuana are two of the most common drugs that drivers are found to be impaired by.

He said that marijuana, especially, has become a common impairment since the drug has become more socially acceptable and is now legal in several states, but not Ohio.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also said there are now more drugged drivers on the road than drunk drivers, Cleveland's WEWS News reported.

However, drugged driving arrests are a major source of controversy throughout the United States because it can be difficult to prove whether or not a driver is actually impaired by drugs.

With drunk driving, the law states that a driver cannot have a blood-alcohol content level of .08 or higher. But with drugged driving, it is possible for a blood test to detect traces of a drug that has been in the body for weeks.

Additionally, there are times in which an Ohio driver is accused of drugged driving even though the drug is a prescription ordered by a doctor. When this is the case, the driver likely has a valid defense if he or she was using the drug appropriately.

That's because under Ohio law, it is an affirmative defense when a person obtained the drug pursuant to a prescription that was issued by a licensed health professional who had authorization to prescribe drug, and the drug was being used under the health professional's direction.

Ultimately, drugged driving is a complicated area of law that that can land Ohio drivers in major trouble if the situation is not handled appropriately, which is why it is so important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away -- no matter the allegations involve illegal or prescription drugs. 

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