- posted: Sep. 30, 2023
- Criminal Defense
The offense of driving while intoxicated is not restricted to the consumption of alcohol. Florida law allows for a charge of DUI to be brought for driving under the influence of other drugs, including marijuana. A DUI for marijuana carries the same punishments and fines as a DUI for alcohol. If you have been charged with a marijuana DUI, there are ways for you to refute the state’s evidence of your alleged impairment or to dispute the legality of your stop.
If you are pulled over and the officer believes that your driving may have been impaired by use of marijuana, the officer has the right to ask you to submit to a blood or urine test. However, testing for marijuana is far less reliable than alcohol testing. This is because marijuana stays in your system much longer than alcohol does and can be found present in a test even if it has been weeks or even months since the marijuana was ingested. This means that you may be able to fight back against the results of any drug test you are subjected to and possibly keep such evidence out of your case at trial.
Because blood and urine tests are not always accurate, a police officer may attempt to show that you had other indicators of marijuana consumption, including bloodshot eyes, the smell of marijuana on your hair or clothing or unsteadiness on your feet. But there may be reasons for these physical indicators that have nothing to do with your consumption of marijuana. For example, your eyes may be bloodshot because you just finished a long shift at work, or you may smell like marijuana because you were attending a party with friends but did not smoke yourself.
As with a DUI based on alcohol, you are required to submit to blood or urine testing for marijuana and refusal to do so can be charged as a separate offense, leading to an automatic license suspension. However, this can be preferable to the penalties for being found impaired by marijuana, which for a first offense can include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 and 50 hours of community service, in addition to a license suspension. If you are stopped on suspicion of marijuana DUI, you have the right to contact a Florida drug defense attorney, who can advise you on the best course of action. Your attorney can also develop a strategy for disputing the state’s evidence against you and for working out a satisfactory resolution of the charges.
At the Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.C. in Orlando, Florida, I have defending people against charges of marijuana DUI and other drug offenses. If you have questions or need representation, please call my office at 407-608-7777 or contact me online to arrange a free initial consultation.