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Criminal Law

DUIs and Marijuana in Florida

DUIs and Marijuana in Florida

driving under influence marijuana

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana can be frustrating. Attitudes about marijuana are changing across the country. But in Florida, cannabis is still illegal for recreational use. Medical marijuana is legal, but you are still not allowed to drive while high. You can get a DUI for weed, even if you have a prescription to use it. 

But don’t assume an arrest equals a conviction. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we’re here to fight for you and your freedom. Whether you or a loved one is facing DUI marijuana charges, give us a call at 407-720-8507 to set up a free, confidential consultation. 

Can You Get a DUI for Being High? 

Yes, you can be convicted of a drug DUI if you are caught driving while high. Florida’s driving under the influence law, Florida Statutes section 316.193, says you can be punished for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any chemical or controlled substance that’s impaired your normal faculties. 

While you may have thought you could only get a DUI for having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, the truth is that you can get a DUI for being intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. 

All a prosecutor has to do is prove: 

  • You were impaired because of a substance, and
  • You were driving or in control of a vehicle. 

Call our Orlando DUI defense attorneys as soon after an arrest as you can. There are ways to defend yourself, but you shouldn’t go down this road alone. 

How Can a Police Officer Detect Marijuana? 

A police officer can pull you over if they have a reasonable suspicion that you’re committing a crime. For example, they might see you commit a traffic violation like rolling through a stop sign or speeding. They might suspect impaired driving if they see you driving erratically, such as randomly slowing down and speeding up, crossing lane lines, or weaving in and out of traffic without using your signals. Another possibility is that the officer witnessed you or a passenger smoke something that looked like a joint or pipe. 

Once the officer’s pulled you over, they’ll observe several things: 

  • Whether they smell cannabis;
  • Your appearance, including whether your eyes are red or bloodshot, and
  • Whether your speech appears delayed or slurred when you answer their questions. 

Call a defense attorney right away if you believe the officer didn’t have any reason to suspect that you were high. 

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent in Florida 

If the officer notices signs of intoxication, they may ask you to blow into a roadside breath test or get out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. You are not legally obligated to do any of these things. 

You can politely decline to take a roadside breath test or perform any field sobriety tests. However, that won’t stop an officer from arresting you. 

If the officer arrests you for a marijuana DUI, they can ask you to submit to a urine or blood test. Under Florida Statutes §316.1932, Florida’s implied consent law, by accepting the terms of your driver’s license you’ve already agreed to submit to chemical testing if the police arrest you for a DUI. 

If you refuse to take a urine or blood test, you can face civil and criminal consequences. A refusal causes a one-year driver’s license suspension, and a second refusal leads to an 18-month suspension. A prosecutor also can charge you with a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail. 

What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana? 

The potential punishment depends on whether you’ve been convicted of one or more DUIs before. It doesn’t matter whether you’re facing a DUI based on alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. 

First DUI (Misdemeanor) Penalties

  • Up to six months in jail;
  • Fines between $500 and $1,000;
  • License suspension between six months and one year;
  • 50 hours of community service (or a buyout option); and
  • 10-day vehicle impoundment.

 Second DUI (Misdemeanor) Penalties

  • Up to nine months in jail;
  • Fines between $1,000 and $2,000;
  • Ignition interlock device;
  • License suspension between 180 days and one year;
  • One year of probation;
  • A psychosocial evaluation;
  • 50 hours of community service (or a buyout option); and
  • 10-day vehicle impoundment. 

Third DUI (Misdemeanor or Felony) Penalties

  • Up to one year in jail (Up to five years for a felony);
  • Fines between $2,000 and $5,000;
  • Ignition interlock device;
  • One-year license suspension (Up to 10 years for a felony);
  • One year of probation; and
  • A psychosocial evaluation;
  • 50 hours of community service (or a buyout option); and
  • 90-day vehicle impoundment. 

Fourth DUI (Felony) Penalties

  • Up to five years in prison;
  • Fines up to $5,000;
  • Permanent license revocation;
  • 50 hours of community service (or a buyout option); and
  • 90-day vehicle impoundment.

Whether this is your first DUI or you’ve had multiple DUI offenses, you should have an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you. You deserve a vigorous defense to pursue a dismissal, acquittal, or lenient sentence. 

Defending Against a Florida Marijuana DUI 

There are several possible DUI defenses, including arguing: 

  • The officer didn’t have a valid reason to perform the traffic stop;
  • The officer conducted an illegal search and seizure;
  • The prosecutor lacks sufficient evidence to prove you were impaired, including chemical test results;
  • You have a valid prescription for medical marijuana use and were not impaired at the time;
  • Despite a chemical test showing trace amounts of THC, the prosecutor lacks evidence of impairment; or
  • The prosecutor can’t prove you were in control of a vehicle at the time. 

We encourage you to call an Orlando DUI defense lawyer to talk about your options. 

Call Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law Today 

If you were recently arrested for a marijuana DUI in Orlando or Orange County, FL, let us handle your DUI case. We bring years of trial experience to the table. And because we believe representation should be accessible to everyone, we charge reasonable rates and offer payment plans. Nothing stands between you and fighting this DUI charge. 

Contact us online or call 407-720-8507 to set up your free consultation. 

Author Photo

Andrew has been practicing criminal law his entire career. After graduating from law school he began working as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting cases in Orange and Osceola Counties. During his time as an Assistant State Attorney, Andrew handled all types of cases ranging from misdemeanors to such serious felonies as drug trafficking and armed robbery. His experience as a prosecutor helped him gain perspective of the criminal justice system and how the government established its cases.

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