Marijuana DUI Charges in Florida
The majority of the time a DUI is discussed it is assumed that the DUI is for driving under the influence of alcohol. In Florida, a person may be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances. The state’s DUI laws even prohibit driving under the influence of medical marijuana, which has recently been legalized by Amendment 2. At their core, these laws exist to target general impairment behind the wheel.
Under Florida law, a DUI charge may result from using a controlled substance by one who is in “actual physical control” of a vehicle if there is evidence of an illicit drug in his or her body, as defined in Section 316.193 of the 2018 Florida Statutes. There are dozens of substances that can potentially cause impairment behind the wheel besides alcohol, and one can be charged with DUI whether they are suspected of being under the influence of illicit drugs or legally prescribed medications. If you currently face a DUI charge for marijuana use, understand that this is no less severe than an alcohol DUI. Speak with a knowledgeable West Palm Beach DUI lawyer about your charge as soon as you can.
Marijuana: a Schedule I Controlled Substance
Although an increasing number of states are legalizing marijuana for recreational use, it remains classified as a Schedule I drug in Section 893.03(1)(c)(7) of the Florida Statutes and in Title 21 of the United States Code Controlled Substances Act. Substances in Schedule I are considered to have a high potential for abuse and no known medical value, despite evidence to the contrary. Florida’s strict drug laws make any criminal offenses involving drugs particularly sensitive cases.
Probable Cause for a Marijuana DUI Stop
Any traffic violation, whether moving or non-moving, may be grounds for a stop that may give way to a DUI investigation. A West Palm Beach police officer who observes a traffic violation may make a traffic stop. Upon interacting with the driver, the officer might feel the need to conduct sobriety tests to gauge the driver’s mental faculties. Some signs of marijuana impairment are:
- Delayed or decreased reaction time
- Redness in the eyes
- The smell of cannabis
- Marijuana paraphernalia inside the vehicle
- Decreased short-term memory
- Poor hand-eye coordination
- Lack of concentration
West Palm Beach Marijuana DUI Defense
Any person who is suspected of driving under the influence of any substance will likely be required to submit to chemical testing. These tests, whether they test your blood, urine, or breath, all carry a high capacity for error. In the event that you are arrested for a marijuana DUI but did not take a chemical test, whether because you refused or were not subjected to one, it can be more difficult for prosecutors to “prove” your impairment. The blood sample is crucial to showing the presence of active marijuana metabolites like tetrahydrocannabinol. If you are not subjected to a blood test following a marijuana DUI arrest, you could still face hardships associated with separate possession charges.
Marijuana DUI charges in Florida are often accompanied by possession charges, which may even lead to more severe penalties than the DUI. Like any DUI charge, a marijuana DUI can lead to severe penalties, especially if a conviction of possession also ensues. When you face charges, you need a dedicated DUI attorney who understands not only Florida DUI laws, but also the chemistry behind how THC is metabolized by your body. This element is essential to defending cases of driving while high or “stoned” driving.
Penalties for Marijuana DUI
A basic marijuana DUI mirrors a standard DUI for alcohol in that you could face penalties for a second-degree misdemeanor crime. These can still carry a tremendous impact on your future, and they cannot be expunged if convicted. You may face a fine of up to $1,000, court fees, up to a year in a county jail, and you may be required to attend DUI school and community service. All these penalties and more are possible without the aid of a competent marijuana DUI attorney fighting for you.
West Palm Beach Marijuana DUI Attorney
If you are facing charges, do not hesitate to work on a strong defense for your case. You have just a few days after any type of DUI arrest to demand a review hearing and obtain a permit to maintain your driving privileges. A drug DUI case is a special type of DUI for which you need a long time DUI lawyer to truly have a chance at a favorable outcome.
The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has attentively protected the rights of persons charged with DUI throughout South Florida for over 25 years. Attorney Brian Gabriel’s reputation in West Palm Beach is highly respected among judges, prosecutors, and others in the legal network. As a former prosecutor, he knows what to expect from the other side when defending your case. With Mr. Gabriel by your side you can rest assured your marijuana DUI charges are handled as effectively as possible.
Call 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form for a free consultation in West Palm Beach and surrounding areas.