If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), you probably have a lot of questions for your Palm Coast, Florida criminal defense lawyers about the laws regarding DUI.
Knowing your rights can help you mitigate the life-changing consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction. Your lawyer can help.
DUI for Being Under the Influence of Drugs
DUIs for drugs, or “drugged driving,” carry similar penalties to driving under the influence of alcohol. You could be convicted of DUI in Florida if you’re deemed to be in physical control of the vehicle, even if you’re not actually operating it.
You’re considered to be under the influence of drugs if you’re driving with your normal faculties impaired, which means that the drugs have impacted your physical or mental capabilities and made it unsafe for you to operate the vehicle. Drugs that could impair your faculties include the following:
- Legal marijuana
- Controlled substances
- Illegal drugs
- Prescription or over-the-counter drugs like allergy or cold medications
To be convicted of a DUI for alcohol in Florida, your BAC must be greater than 0.08%. However, unlike alcohol, there is no “legal limit” of drugs to establish a DUI charge. This means that you may be charged with a DUI even if you have a small amount of drugs in your body. You could also be charged if you’re deemed to be impaired or if a blood or urine test detects harmful chemicals or controlled substances.
What Are Controlled Substances and Harmful Chemicals?
The Florida statute covering drugged driving mentions both “harmful chemicals” and “controlled substances.” Harmful chemicals include the following:
- Nitrous oxide
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Other chemicals that recreational drug users inhale to get high
Controlled substances include:
- Opioids, like Oxycontin
- Opiates, such as Vicodin
- Stimulants, such as methamphetamine
- Hallucinogens, like LSD or molly
- Cannabinoids, including marijuana
Illegally having any of these in your system could lead to severe consequences.
What Are the Penalties for Driving While Impaired by Drugs in Florida?
Florida drugged driving penalties are like those of a DUI and can significantly impact the rest of your life. The laws can be confusing, and it’s best not to navigate them alone. A Volusia County criminal defense attorney with experience handling DUI cases can help mitigate your punishment. The consequences of drugged driving are:
For a first offense, penalties include fines of between $500 and $1,000, 50 or more hours of community service, up to 6 months in jail, and a suspended license for 6–12 months.
For a second offense, offenders could face a jail sentence of between 20 days and 9 months, a revoked license for 5 years, and fines of between $1,000 and $2,000.
After a third offense, you could face fines of between $2,000 and $5,000, jail time between 30 days and 5 years, and a license revoked for at least 10 years.
How Can Palm Coast, Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend My DUI?
Your DUI attorney can help you navigate the court system, from your initial arraignment to negotiating a plea bargain to reduce your sentence.
An attorney may also be able to challenge the circumstances of your arrest, including whether you were under the influence of drugs, if the test you were given was valid, or even if you were able to consent to the test. Each case is different, so speak with a professional attorney about yours to achieve the best possible outcome.