Substance laws are different in each state, so it’s natural to want to read up on local law before traveling to Ohio.

You may want to know:

  • Cannabis laws, both medical and recreational
  • Drug testing laws
  • Drug-related criminal law
  • DUI laws
  • Zero Tolerance laws

It’s also good to know the penalties for breaking any of these laws. Those penalties change from state to state, so they could be steeper in Ohio than your home state.

We’ve done the research for you on drug and alcohol laws in Ohio. Here’s what you should know:

Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in Ohio

The penalties for each drug offense vary depending on the specific law. We’ll look at penalties for DUI, Zero Tolerance, and other laws in Ohio.

DUI Laws in Ohio

A DUI in Ohio is defined as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

If you’re under 21, then the limit is 0.02 instead. The idea is that any amount of alcohol is too much to drive if you’re underage.

The penalty for driving under the influence in Ohio includes:

  • First-time offenders: Up to 6 months of jail time, $1,000 in fines, and 3 years of license suspension
  • Repeat offenders: Up to a year in jail, possible loss of vehicle, mandated alcohol treatment, $10,000 in fines, and a felony conviction

Drug Testing Laws in Ohio

Ohio has a drug-free workplace program that encourages employers to drug test their employees.

An employer can drug test any new hire as a condition of being hired. They can test existing employees if there is:

  • Reasonable suspicion of drug abuse on the job, or
  • A workplace accident

If you get a positive drug test in Ohio, then your employer can test you again when you return to work after suspension.

Zero Tolerance Laws for Ohio

Zero Tolerance laws make it illegal to get behind the wheel after even a single drink in Ohio if you’re a minor.

The penalty for Zero Tolerance in Ohio is:

  • A 60-day driving suspension
  • Limited driving privileges
  • Mandatory driver’s test re-take
  • Regularly providing proof of insurance

Is Marijuana Legal in Ohio?

Cannabis is illegal in Ohio. However, it is legal for medical use as of 2019. Medical cannabis use is allowed in specific forms, such as:

  • Edibles
  • Oils
  • Vapors
  • Patches
  • Tinctures
  • Plant matter

There are specific medical conditions that you must have to get a medical card in Ohio. They include traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and more.

If you possess up to 100 grams of cannabis without a medical card, you could get a fine of $150.

Possessing 100 to 200 grams of cannabis leads to misdemeanor charges and up to a month of jail time.

Some cities in Ohio have decriminalized small amounts of cannabis. These cities include Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. Check with your locality before assuming that your city is decriminalized!

No cities have decriminalized large amounts of cannabis. You can face steep charges for possessing more than 200 grams.

Drug and Alcohol-Related Crimes

In Ohio, drug trafficking is any activity selling, offering to sell, shipping, transporting, or delivering illicit or controlled drugs.

There needs to be the reasonable cause that the person in question meant to sell the items to another person.

You could be hit with aggravated drug trafficking charges if caught trafficking Schedule I or II drugs. These include heroin, cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamine, and opioids.

The penalty varies from case to case depending on:

  • The drug in question
  • The amount

You may get a penalty that’s more severe if your offense takes place near a school.

For drug trafficking that isn’t aggravated, the penalties can include:

  • Up to $20,000 in fines
  • Up to 10 years in prison
  • A felony record

In aggravated cases, the penalties include:

  • Up to $20,000 in fines
  • Up to 10 years in prison
  • A felony record

Get Help for Drug or Alcohol Abuse

The best way to avoid drug or alcohol charges in Ohio is to get help with your problem today.

An effective treatment center can provide you with the therapy and care that you need to recover. You can expect a full schedule with recreation and treatments tailored just for you.

That might include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps you learn new coping mechanisms for substance use disorder 
  • Group therapy, including 12 Steps
  • Medication, known as medication-assisted treatment

Give Rehab Adviser a call today and start taking your life back! 

This content does not constitute medical advice. Consult with an attorney before making decisions that can lead to drug charges. 


  1. Drug testing laws in Ohio. (2012, September 29)
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Treatment approaches for drug addiction
  3. Ohio DUI laws. (n.d.)

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