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Written by: Berlin R.
Date Published: July 13, 2015
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More and more people are being arrested and charged for DUI for controlled substances. Even if you pass a breath test, you'll likely be asked to take a urine test. A positive result for any controlled substance in the urine test will likely result in a full prosecution for DUI. This doesn't mean the state can prove the charges. Hire an experienced DUI lawyer.
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DUI for Drugs / Marijuana in Florida? Florida Statute 316.193, states:
(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection
(2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:
(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or
any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent
that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;
(b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol
per 100 milliliters of blood; or
(c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol
per 210 liters of breath.”
So once a person takes a breath test and blows above 0.08, they are presumed guilty based on that evidence alone.
However, there is no similar presumption for drugs. Especially when a person agrees to take a breath test and blows under 0.08, a DUI based on impairment of drugs can be very difficult to prove and these cases present unique challenges for prosecutors.
Everyone knows what someone impaired by alcohol acts like: Virtually no one sitting on a jury will unfamiliar with the signs of alcohol impairment. Slurred speech, the odor of the impurities of alcohol, lack of balance, enhanced emotions; all the well known effects of alcohol. What about impairment from Oxycodone? Hydrocodone? Marijuana? Not quite as common, and if the jury doesn’t have first hand experience, it may be difficult to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.
Law Enforcement aren’t trained to investigate impairment by drugs: Well, not like they are for alcohol anyway. DUI cops and prosecutors go to schools, where they drink and perform tests on each other and other test subjects. The cops can then testify in court about this real practical application of their classes along with other real life experiences. They don’t do the came thing with cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs.
No Experts to Testify: Most police agencies and specialized cops who are able to testify about certain subjects related to alcohol and impairment that others cannot, because of their specialized training and experienced. Most departments haven’t yet established specialized schools and special field sobriety exercises designed around testing for impairment specifically for drugs, not alcohol. That’s not to say they don’t exists, but they aren’t common.
As the trend to de-criminalize certain drugs grows, I would expect to see a greater awareness of these problems within the law enforcement community. They will likely develop special field sobriety exercises for specific drugs and start designing more schools for officers and prosecutors aimed at prosecuting DUI based on drug impairment. This in turn will benefit experienced criminal defense attorneys who are able to take advantage in the growing number of these DUI cases and are able to effectively defend them.
- by Joshua E. Adams,
Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer