Category: DUI, Drugs & Driving

Drugged Driving Defense Requires Experience

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driving under the influence of drugsDriving under the influence of drugs is the next generation of OVI (operating a vehicle impaired) enforcement in Ohio. It has become a priority of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.  Here are some studies suggesting why they are focusing on this issue.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 10.3 million people aged 12 or older (or 3.9 percent of adolescents and adults) reported driving under the influence of drugs during the year prior to being surveyed. This was higher than the rate in 2011 (3.7percent) and lower than the rate in 2002 (4.7 percent). By comparison, in 2012, an estimated 29.1 million persons (11.2 percent) reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year. (This percentage has dropped since 2002, when it was 14.2 percent.) According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2007 National Roadside Survey, more than 16 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs. More than 11 percent tested positive for illicit drugs.  According to NSDUH data, men are more likely than women to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And young adults aged 18 to 25 are more likely to drive after taking drugs than other age groups.  One NHTSA study found that in 2009, 18 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter drug (an increase from 13 percent in 2005).

Law enforcement from across Ohio has received specialized training via the state’s Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) course. Officers participate in an intensive three-week course. The first two phases of the course are held locally, and the third phase takes place at the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona. This facility processes an average of 900 inmates per day and will provide officers the opportunity to conduct hands-on drug evaluations for all seven drug categories. “I am pleased this training is being offered to our law enforcement partners,” said Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) Executive Director Karhlton Moore. “This will be an invaluable resource in our fight to curb impaired driving, as well as focus on emerging issues such as the prescription drug epidemic currently affecting so many communities across Ohio.”

I have been critical of this approach because it reinforces the mistaken belief by many in the law enforcement community that you can arrest your way out of a drug epidemic.  It funnels resources away from programs designed to help people and into programs to lock people away.  It should be no surprise to anyone that law enforcement likes this new tool.  As the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer; every problem is a nail. Law enforcement officers will use this tool to do what they are designed to do and that is make arrests.  It is up to us to question whether society is benefited by making more criminals than more recovered addicts.

I have taken courses in the Drug Recognition Expert Protocol and have studied the material relied on by DREs in making arrest decisions.  I am one of the only DUI attorneys in Ohio that has received this training and I am in a great position to help you if you are charged with a drugged driving charge. Call me at (937) 318-1384 or 888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).

Ohio House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

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For years, I have dedicated myself to ending the mistaken “War on Drugs” and treating addiction like a medical condition and not a crime. Today was a day I thought I would never see. The Ohio House of Representative passed a medical marijuana bill with support from both parties. This will give Ohio families much needed access to a medicine that has proven effective in other states.

Central Nervous System Depressants

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bail bondsThe category of CNS Depressants includes some of the most commonly abused drugs. Alcohol – the most familiar drug of all – is abused by an estimated 40-50 million Americans.

  • Slightly more than half of Americans age 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in 2014 (52.7% of the population). This translates to an estimated 139 million people. Source: Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, September 2015)
  • Depressant drugs consistently rank among the most widely used and abused drugs in the U.S. and Canada. Over the past decade, an estimated 60 million prescriptions were processed for minor tranquilizers in U.S. pharmacies. Source: Downers: A New Look at Depressant DrugsDepressants slow down the operation of the central nervous system (i.e., the brain, brain stem and spinal cord).
    • Cause the user to react more slowly.
    • Cause the user to process information more slowly.
    • Relieve anxiety and tension.
    • Induce sedation, drowsiness and sleep.
    • In high enough doses, CNS Depressants will produce general anesthesia, i.e. depress the brain’s ability to sense pain, and in very high doses, they can induce coma and death.

If you need an OVI attorney, please contact me at (937) 318-1384 or 888-ROWLAND. If you need help after hours, call (937) 776-2671. Email me at CharlesRowland@CharlesRowland.com. Letter? 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. Smoke signals and airplane messages can be hung anywhere over the Miami Valley and I will get them. If you wish to float a message, the Beaver Creek runs directly behind my office and I can see it from my desk.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

Heroin Addicts Are Treated Like Human Beings In Ohio

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heroin addiction in ohioOhio has been hit hard by the heroin epidemic.  A new University of Cincinnati study says one in five Ohio residents knows someone who is struggling with heroin. One sheriff told us that up to 80 percent of the prisoners in his county jail have drugs in their system, largely heroin.  60 Minutes took note of the ways Ohio is innovating in its judicial system to give heroin addicts a chance to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction and access treatment.  In the interview, Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine states the obvious, “We cannot arrest our way out of this problem.”  In the episode you see how Ohio has established “DRUG COURTS.”  The intervention works. If a person stays drug free and follows the rules, they can walk away without a record.

The story also shows how local prosecutors have an incredible amount of discretion in choosing how to charge individuals. We hear the horror story of a person charged with 23 felonies for being an addict.  The Hardin County Prosecutor is shown as the example of a drug warrior who has no compassion or understanding for the addiction. He states, “We don’t give anybody a free pass.”

I have been involved as a Board Member of TCN-BHS, Greene County’s alcohol and drug treatment provider for the past two decades.  I have also given multiple speeches across the country about the dangers of fighting a War on Drugs.  For so long I lost hope, but stories such as this demonstrate that we can do better.  Locally, we even have drug courts that have adopted the “treatment” approach instead of continuing the “lock them up and throw away the key” mentality of the last generation. We also see around us the devastation wrought by our failed approaches.  This new awareness is leading to legislation to decriminalize and/or legalize the use of marijuana.

If you or a loved on is struggling with addiction, give me a call and we can talk about resources available in the area. If you are accused of a drug crime or a drugged driving charge, give me a call to provide you with the best possible defense.  (937) 318-1384 or 888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).

 

 

Dude, I’m Injured Not Stoned

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When a law enforcement officer comes upon a crash scene he or she may suspect illicit drug use, but their training, the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration manual and common sense dictate that no suspicion of drug use be  assumed without evidence. When a case involves medical problems, a drug investigation (DRE, drug recognition expert evaluation) should not be performed, per NHTSA, so as to avoid confusing possible drug use with the observations really being medical issues. Where the NHTSA manual states in a situation like this, your primary purpose at this time is to look for any evidence of a medical complication that would warrant terminating the examination and summoning medical assistance since there is always the possibility that a person suspected of drug impairment is actually suffering from an illness or injury requiring medical attention.

Ohio OVI attorneyAs this blog has warned for the past years, the next phase of the government’s WAR ON DRUGS is the DRE protocol allowing roadside police to determine if a person is impaired by prescription or illicit drugs.  While it may make no sense that a police officer is turned into a roving drug scientist, the government is allowing this approach. If you are accused of driving while impaired by drugs, trust Charles M. Rowland II, the attorney who has studied the Drug Recognition Protocol training and is educated in the defenses available to a drugged driving case. Call me at (937) 318-1DUI or visit www.DaytonDUI.com.