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"Drugged Driving" Under Florida Law

The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), or "drugged driving," are similar to those of drunk driving in Florida, but it is important to note the key distinction between them: controlled substances and alcohol are tested or sampled in two completely different ways.

Just like drunk driving, drugged driving is a crime in the state of Florida. Contact our Jacksonville drug DUI lawyers today!

Under Florida Statue 316.193, a person is guilty of DUI if they drive under the influence of alcohol or any chemical substance that can impair normal faculties. This includes the ability to conduct day-to-day physical and mental activities such as walking, speaking, listening, seeing, and making judgments.

Proving a DUID Case in Florida

Due to the nature of how controlled substances affect the body, there are some complications when proving DUID. For example, there is really no accurate way to test the amount of the drug in a person’s system. In addition, Florida does not have a per se limit for DUID – only for alcohol. Therefore, without this specification, it is harder to convict drivers for DUID - whether the drug was legal or illegal.

Driving Under the Influence of Recreational Drugs in Florida

Since the legalization of marijuana, lawmakers are finding new ways to calculate THC levels in the blood. However, marijuana levels build up if you are a regular user; it also does not produce increased levels of THC when the substance is ingested. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to calculate.

Some of the most common recreational drugs include:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ketamine

Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs in Florida

Substances that are prescribed can also cause damage to your physical and mental capabilities. Holding a valid prescription from your doctor does not excuse drugged driving, and you could potentially be arrested for DUID if the substance has impaired your driving abilities.

Some of the most common prescription drugs include:

  • Xanax
  • Oxycodone
  • Adderall
  • Methadone
  • Vicodin

If an officer suspects impairment or witnesses evidence of drug use, you could be arrested for DUID. This is true even when the impairment is caused by a prescription medication.

Why Marijuana DUIDs Are Difficult to Convict

1. No Standard Test for Testing Marijuana Impairment

Police forces across the country have yet to identify a test that can undoubtedly prove someone’s inability to drive while stoned. Research proves that a person’s reflexes are hindered by smoking marijuana, but someone who is high can potentially pass sobriety tests despite being under the influence. Therefore, there is no legal standard for testing someone’s impairment while high.

2. No “Illegal Limit” for Marijuana & Driving

Police will test people’s blood alcohol content (BAC) to prove they were intoxicated while driving. If someone’s BAC is over the legal limit of 0.08%, they will most likely be charged for a DUI. However, there is no “legal limit” for smoking weed and driving.

In certain circumstances, the police can draw blood to show that someone was driving while stoned; however, prosecutors have a hard time connecting THC levels and marijuana DUIDs. Why? Because THC can show up in blood tests days after smoking weed. Therefore, prosecutors can’t prove that the THC in your system meant you were high at the time of your arrest.

3. Impairment is Not Provable

Prosecutors have a hard time proving that people are high when they drive due to the two points mentioned above. If cops don’t have a way to test someone’s level of impairment, and if labs can’t prove impairment using THC counts, what evidence do prosecutors have to prove guilt without a reasonable doubt? The reality: they often can’t!

FLORIDA Drug DUI Penalties

First Offense Drugged Driving

In Florida, a first-time DUID charge is a second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction can result in up to six months in jail, 12 months of probation, a minimum of 50 hours of community service, a drug-abuse evaluation, DUI school, license suspension for up to one year, and up to $1,000 in fines.

Second Offense Drugged Driving

In Florida, a second DUID offense is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction can result in up to nine months in jail (with a 10-day mandatory minimum sentence for offenses within five years of each other), a maximum five-year license suspension, up to $2000 in fines, installation of an ignition interlock device, vehicle impoundment, community service, DUI school, and court fees.

Third Offense Drugged Driving

In Florida, a third DUID offense will generally be charged as a felony. If convicted within 10 years, you will face up to five years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and license revocation for at least 10 years.

Call Monroe & King, P.A. for Help

A DUID conviction can have long-lasting and serious consequences. A Jacksonville drug DUI attorney from Monroe & King, P.A. can help protect your rights and fight for a favorable outcome.

Need a DUID defense that makes a difference? Call (904) 474-3115 now for a free consultation with our Jacksonville drug DUI lawyers.

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