Drugged Driving Defense in Brevard County, FL
In Florida, it is unlawful to drive under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. In layman's terms, a "controlled substance" refers to prescription medications or illegal drugs. According to F.S. § 316.193 a person commits DUI when he / she is in actual physical control of a vehicle under any the following circumstances:
- The driver's blood alcohol level is .08%
- The driver's breath alcohol level is .08%
- The driver "under the influence" of drugs
What this means for drivers arrested for drugged driving:
Drugged driving involves many of the same laws and statutes as DUIs involving alcohol. However, these cases are complex because law enforcement cannot use the same testing methods to determine whether a driver is actually "under the influence" as it can with alcohol.
Types of Drugged Driving Offenses
DUI and Prescription Drugs
Many people assume that "drugged driving" strictly refers to illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, or marijuana. In reality, you can face a DUI if law enforcement believes that you drove under the influence of a prescription medication too. Common prescription medication cases involve antidepressants like Xanax or sleep medications like Ambien.
Marijuana DUIs are one of the most common forms of drugged driving because the active ingredient in marijuana (THC) can stay in the user's bloodstream for several weeks after its influence dissipates. Although this is not sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction, even a simple driving mistake combined with this evidence can lead to a conviction.
Felony Drugged Driving
Like DUI with alcohol, DUI involving drugs is typically a misdemeanor. If the prosecutor believes that you caused a severe accident or serious bodily harm to another person, you could face a felony charge. Additionally, prior DUI convictions (even if they did not involve drugs) could lead to an automatic felony drugged driving charge.
What are the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs in Florida?
First Offense - Punishable by up to $1,000 in fines (no less than $500), up to one year of license suspension (no less than 180 days), up to six months in jail, and vehicle impoundment.
Second Offense – Punishable by up to $2,000 in fines (no less than $1,000), ignition interlock device, up to one year of license suspension, 1 year of probation, community service, psychological evaluation, and more.
Third Offense – Punishable by a $5,000 fine, one year in jail, ignition interlock device, license suspension, probation, psychological evaluation, 50 hours of community service, and more.
Fourth Offense – A 3rd degree felony, punishable by a $5,000 fine, ignition interlock device, vehicle impoundment, community service, psychological evaluation, and five years in prison.
Your third offense within ten years of the second is subject to stricter penalties. These include a 10 years of license suspension, the 50 hours of community service, and five years in jail.
Arrested for drugged driving? Contact us today.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, a Brevard County drugged driving defense lawyer from our firm can help you avoid a conviction. After an arrest, you need the skilled guidance of a DUI lawyer on your side, so call our office today to learn more about your legal options with us.
We've practiced law for more than 40 years and are ready to put this experience to work for you. As DUI defense attorneys, we are dedicated to helping others. That's why our firm offers free initial case evaluations. Simply call our office today to schedule yours. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can start working on your case.