Is Spiking a Drink with Drugs Illegal?

Suppose you're at a party, and you (or someone you know), decides it'd be fun to slip drugs into some of the guests' drinks. You're not trying to hurt or take advantage of any one; you want to add more life to the party. However, regardless of your intentions, in Ohio, spiking someone else's drink with drugs is illegal. It's considered such a serious crime that it's categorized as a felony. Depending on the nature of the offense, it can range from a fourth-degree to a first-degree felony.

Corrupting Another with Drugs

The example above is hypothetical, but providing another with drugs by adding them to their drinks does happen at parties. In a 2016 study, researchers found that nearly 8% of 6,064 university students surveyed said their drinks had been spiked. Also, 1.4% said they've been the one spiking drinks or knew someone who did so.

But drink spiking isn't the only way a person can be charged with a crime.

In Ohio, O.R.C. 2925.02 – corrupting another with drugs – provides that it's unlawful to knowingly furnish another with a controlled substance. Only one division of the law states that force, threat, or deception must be used for conduct to be considered an offense, and that is when the offender administers, induces, or causes someone to use drugs. Thus, if you or another person deceive guests at a party to add a controlled substance to their drink, you are violating the law.

However, depending on your intent and who the alleged victim is, the prosecutor would not have to prove that you used force, threat, or deception to make someone else ingest or obtain a drug.

Under the law, you may be criminally charged if you, by any means, furnish a controlled substance to someone else and:

  • You intended to cause serious physical harm;
  • You actually caused serious physical harm;
  • The alleged victim was a minor who is two years younger than you; or
  • The alleged victim was a pregnant woman

Felony Charges for Spiking Someone Else's Drink

As mentioned earlier, spiking another's drink, or administering or furnishing drugs to them in any way, is a felony. The degree you can be charged with depends on the type of substance and where the offense occurred. For instance, it's a fourth-degree felony to give or make someone use marijuana unless the alleged victim is a pregnant woman, in which case, the offense is a third-degree felony. The conduct may be charged as a first-degree felony if the drug involved is a Schedule I or II substance and the crime took place near a school.

In Ohio, the punishments for a conviction are steep and include years in prison and high fines. In some circumstances, corrupting another with drugs comes with mandatory prison terms. Additionally, the court may impose a 5-year driver's license suspension on anyone found guilty of the crime. If the defendant is a professional license holder, the court will also send the conviction information to the regulatory agency or licensing board of the individual's profession.

If you've been charged with a drug crime in Cleveland, call Patituce & Associates at (440) 709-8088 or contact us online. Our defense attorneys fight to win and will seek an optimal result in your case.