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Marijuana DUI

Most driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in Florida involve individuals being intoxicated by alcoholic beverages. It is important to keep in mind that Florida not only prohibits DUI of alcohol but also controlled substances—crimes more commonly referred to as driving under the influence of drugs (DUID or simply “drugged driving”) offenses.

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, pot, or weed, is undoubtedly one of the most common drugs involved in alleged DUID crimes, but it also has one of the longest detection times of any controlled substance.

As a result of cannabis metabolites being identifiable for longer periods of time, it is not uncommon for a person to test positive for marijuana and arrested for DUI even though he or she was not actively under the influence of cannabis.

Lawyer for Marijuana DUI Arrests in Melbourne, FL

Were you recently arrested for a marijuana-related DUI offense anywhere in Central or Eastern Florida? You will want to contact The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy immediately.

Melbourne criminal defense attorney Bryan McCarthy defends clients arrested for drunk or drugged driving in communities all over Brevard County, Indian River County, Orange County, Osceola County, Seminole County, and Volusia County.

Call (321) 248-7742 right now to have our lawyer provides a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

Overview of Marijuana DUI Crimes in Brevard County

  • Under what circumstances is marijuana DUI charged?
  • How might a person be punished if convicted of a marijuana DUI offense?
  • Where can I find more information about marijuana DUI in Brevard County?

Marijuana DUI Charges in Florida

Under Florida Statute § 316.193, a person commits driving under the influence (DUI) if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within Florida and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance.

Cannabis is considered a Schedule I controlled substance under the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.

Florida Statute § 316.193(1)(A) specifically prohibits a person from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle when the person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance “when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”

Florida Statute § 316.1934(1) establishes that normal faculties include, but are not limited to, “the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies, and, in general, normally perform the many mental and physical acts of daily life.”

Unlike alcohol-related DUI offenses in which police officers can quickly obtain blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measurements through portable breath tests, possible drug impairments usually need to be measured through alternate testing methods, such as blood draws or urinalysis. In many cases, law enforcement officers will summon drug recognition experts (DREs).

A DRE is a police officer trained to determine whether an alleged offender is under the influence of a controlled substance as well as the type of controlled substance that the alleged offender might have used. A DRE will typically perform the following 12-step battery of tests on an alleged offender suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance:

  • Breath Alcohol Test;
  • Interview of the Arresting Officer;
  • Preliminary Examination;
  • Examination of the Eyes;
  • Divided Attention Psychophysical Tests;
  • Examination of Vital Signs;
  • Dark Room Examinations;
  • Examination of Muscle Tone;
  • Examination for Injection Sites;
  • Subject’s Statements and Other Observations;
  • Opinions of the Evaluator; and
  • The Toxicological Examination.

The DRE process is inherently flawed for a couple of reasons. First, the interview of an arresting officer being the second step in the process can lead to all ensuing tests being impacted by possible confirmation bias.

Perhaps more importantly, failed drug tests—and even some signs of alleged impairment—are not necessarily evidence of a person’s guilt. As the Mayo Clinic has noted, even a single use of cannabis can remain detectable for up to three days, and marijuana has an even longer detection period (up to 30 days) for people who use the substance more frequently.

Brevard County Marijuana DUI Penalties

While a DUI involving an alleged offender being under the influence of cannabis is based on a different kind of drug than alcohol-related DUI offenses, the possible punishments are largely the same. In other words, a person’s possible sentence will be impacted by the number of times he or she was previously convicted of DUI:

  • First Offense — Second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000;
  • Second Offense in More Than Five Years — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000;
  • Second Offense Within Five Years — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by a minimum of 10 days up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000;
  • Third Offense in More Than 10 Years — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000;
  • Third Offense Within 10 Years — Third-degree felony punishable by minimum of 30 days up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000; or
  • Fourth or Subsequent Offense — Third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of at least $2,000.

Marijuana DUI charges may be enhanced if the alleged offender was accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18 years. A first conviction is punishable by up to nine months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 while a second conviction is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Florida Marijuana DUI Resources

AAA Finds No Basis for Equating THC Blood Levels With Driver Impairment | — The American Automobile Association (AAA, but commonly referred to as “Triple A”) is a non-profit member service organization providing roadside assistance and other services, and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety identifies itself as “a not-for-profit, publicly supported charitable research and education organization dedicated to saving lives by preventing traffic crashes and reducing injuries when crashes occur.” View a May 10, 2016, article published on the website of the libertarian magazine Reason that examines numerous AAA studies of the effects of marijuana on driving. The article notes that one report found that the percentage of drivers in fatal collisions who tested positive for THC doubled in Washington after that state legalized marijuana, but another report published by AAA on the same day “cast doubt on the significance of that finding, underlining the perils of equating THC in the blood with impairment.”

Florida Drugged Driving | National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) — NORML is a nonprofit public-interest advocacy group with the mission “to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high-quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.” On this section of the NORML website, you can learn more about implied consent, sobriety checkpoints, and penalties as they relate to drugged driving offenses in Florida. You can also read about relevant case law.

Find a Marijuana DUI Defense Attorney in Melbourne, FL

If you were arrested for a cannabis-related DUI in Eastern or Central Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible.

The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy represents individuals in Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Merritt Island, Palm Bay, Rockledge, Satellite Beach, Titusville, Viera, West Melbourne, and several other nearby areas of Brevard County.

Bryan McCarthy is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Melbourne who can fight to help you achieve the most favorable resolution to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences.

You can have our attorney review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call or submit an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.