Driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense. Prosecutors at the attorney general’s office are more likely to push for significant penalties if they think you might be a danger to society. That’s part of the reason those penalties include community service and drug treatment programs. They want to make sure you will not make the same mistake twice. We all know how DUI works with alcohol — but what happens when you get pulled over and charged with a marijuana-related DUI?
The most basic fact is that marijuana-related DUI charges work exactly like alcohol-related DUI charges. The arresting officer must have reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of the drug when behind the wheel to make an arrest. At the station you will likely be asked to take a blood test. This test will show the authorities exactly how much THC was in your system when you were driving.
If a driver is found to be over the state’s legal limit, then the driver will be considered “impaired” in the eyes of the law — even if the marijuana did not affect the driver’s ability to perform that function. This is called a “per se” marijuana DUI. Saying you weren’t really encumbered by smoking a little weed is not a valid defense.
States also define the word “impairment” in different ways. Impairment marijuana DUIs work a little differently for that reason. The prosecutor must sometimes prove that the driver was significantly affected by the marijuana to prove impairment.
Visit our website to learn how prosecutors might make mistakes in your marijuana-related DUI case in Florida. There are a number of defense strategies an attorney might use. If the arresting officer did not follow protocol (you’d be surprised how often it happens), then you might find safety.
Part of the reason that these DUI cases sometimes fail to be prosecuted correctly stems from the fact that field sobriety tests are less accurate in determining a person’s ability to drive than they are when alcohol is a factor. There is no breathalyzer for marijuana — not yet, anyway.
The good news is this: marijuana laws and related offenses are changing due to the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. Sometimes this gives defense attorneys a good opportunity to poke holes in current regulations. Regardless of how you think the law applies to your case, it is always a good idea to contact a criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can always help lay out the facts better than anyone else.