The crime of driving under the influence (DUI) is frequently associated with alcoholic beverages because police officers have multiple ways to test a suspect’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, motorists in Florida may also face DUI charges if they are suspected of operating motor vehicles while under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.
Several companies across the country are even developing mobile testing devices to measure THC in a person's breath. Thankfully, Florida does not yet have a "per se" version of driving under the influence of marijuana, although the Florida legislature has considered it in the past. Nevertheless, officers in the field can allege that a driver appears to be impaired by recently consumed marijuana. Additionally, THC will sometimes show up in a blood or urine test.
The possible penalties for a conviction for this criminal offense are just as serious as a DUI involving alcohol, but cases involving alleged offenders charged with driving while high are much more complex. In many cases, drivers can be placed under arrest despite the fact that previous marijuana use from days or weeks before they drove in no way impaired their abilities to operate automobiles.
Attorney for DUI Marijuana Cases in Tallahassee, FL
If you were recently arrested in Northern Florida and charged with a cannabis-related DUI offense, it is critical that you seek legal representation as soon as possible. Pumphrey Law aggressively defends clients in Leon County and surrounding areas such as Bay County, Franklin County, Gadsden County, Jefferson County, Liberty County, Wakulla County.
Don Pumphrey, Jr. and his firm have nearly a quarter-century of combined legal experience, and our Tallahassee DUI marijuana attorneys are licensed to practice in all Florida state courts. The attorneys will provide a thorough evaluation of your case when you call (850) 681-7777 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Leon County DUI Marijuana Information Center
- How do people get charged with this type of crime?
- What is a drug recognition expert (DRE)?
- What kinds of punishments does a person face if convicted?
- Does an alleged offender have any defenses against these charges?
Florida Statute § 316.193 states that a person is guilty of DUI if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and is under the influence of any controlled substance when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired. Marijuana is considered a controlled substance under Florida law.
An alleged offender who is suspected of DUI may submit to a breath test in which he or she blows a 0.00 reading, but could still be placed under arrest for a marijuana-related DUI if the police officer believes the individual’s abilities were impaired by marijuana. Law enforcement may attempt to justify these arrests in the following situations:
- Marijuana was found in alleged offender’s motor vehicle
- The odor of marijuana was present in alleged offender’s automobile
- Alleged offender had red eyes or displays other symptoms of marijuana use
In some jurisdictions, police officers may call for the assistance of a drug recognition expert (DRE). A DRE is an officer who has been trained and certified to evaluate suspects and determine whether they are impaired and what type of drug(s) is/are causing the impairment.
A DRE may perform any number of tests on an alleged offender, including:
- Preliminary Physical Evaluation — This determines whether suspect’s alleged impairment is possibly the result of a medical condition, but there are also questions that are intended to elicit incriminating statements.
- Field Sobriety Tests — The DRE may ask the alleged offender to perform (and possible retake if arresting officer already had the suspect perform such tests) eye examinations like Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Vertical Gaze Nystagmus, or lack of ocular convergence tests, as well as divided attention psychophysical tests like the walk and turn or one leg stand tests.
- Additional Physical Examinations — The DRE may measure the pupil sizes of an alleged offender under different lighting conditions.
- Toxicological Examination — The DRE will usually want to obtain some type of urine, blood, or saliva sample from the alleged offender for chemical analysis
A person who has been arrested for a cannabis-related DUI faces very harsh consequences if he or she is convicted of this crime. The possible punishments that accompany a conviction for driving while high increase with repeat offenses, meaning that previous arrests for alcohol-related DUIs will count against alleged offenders in these cases. The maximum penalties include:
- First Conviction — Up to six months in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000
- Second Conviction — Up to nine months in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000
- Third Conviction (Within 10 Years of Second) — Up to five years in prison and/or fine of up to $5,000
- Third Conviction (More Than 10 Years After Second) — Up to 12 months in jail and/or fine of up to $2,500
- Fourth or Subsequent Conviction — Up to five years in prison and/or fine of up to $5,000
It is critical for people to understand that there may be any one of a number of possible defenses that can results in cannabis-related DUI charges being significantly reduced or completely dismissed. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- Chemical tests were illegally obtained
- Illegal search of alleged offender’s automobile
- Improperly administered field sobriety tests
- Positive chemical tests for marijuana do not indicate impairment at time alleged offender was driving
- Unlawful stop of motor vehicle
Find a DUI Marijuana Lawyer in Tallahassee
Are you facing criminal DUI charges for allegedly driving while high? Pumphrey Law can aggressively fight for the most favorable outcome to your case.
Our Tallahassee DUI marijuana attorneys represent clients throughout Leon County as well as many surrounding communities such as Bristol, Callaway, Chattahoochee, Lynn Haven, Monticello, Panama City, Parker, Quincy, Saint Marks, Springfield, and several others.
We can review your case during a free consultation as soon as you call (850) 681-7777 today.
This article was last updated on Monday, September 16, 2016.
Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.