3 Key Points of Marijuana DUI’s in Florida
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While you may be aware of such drug crimes as marijuana possession and trafficking, you might not know that there are also laws against drugged driving in Florida.
Legally, marijuana DUI is analogous to driving while drunk and carries comparable penalties. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
1. Marijuana DUI Is Similar To Drunk Driving
Just as alcohol can impair your ability to properly operate a vehicle, controlled substances – including pot – affect your driving. As such, the Florida legislature designates drugged driving as a crime, often termed “marijuana DUI.”
While officers cannot detect levels of a drug in the same way as alcohol through sobriety testing, you are considered under the influence of marijuana if your faculties are impaired by its usage.
For example, if you’re having trouble seeing or talking clearly, or stumble when you walk, you might be charged with a DUI for marijuana.
2. The Penalties For Marijuana DUI Are Severe
The consequences for drugged driving depend on how many times, if any, you’ve violated the law in the past.
First Offense: Fine up to $1,000, jail time up to six months, and license suspension of 6-12 months.
Second Offense: Fine up to $2,000, jail time up to 9 months, and license suspension of 5 years. Your second marijuana DUI sentence may also include criminal probation and psychological evaluation.
Third Offense: Fine up to $2,000, imprisonment up to one year; criminal probation and psychological evaluation may apply.
All marijuana DUI convictions also include 50 hours of community service, 10 day or more vehicle impoundment. Plus, after your first offense, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device that prevents your car from starting if you blow a BAC over a certain amount.
Beyond your third offense, or separate convictions within 10 years, may lead to even more serious penalties. In fact, a fourth offense for marijuana DUI constitutes a third degree felony. You may be sentenced to five years in prison in addition to third offense penalties.
3. You May Also Be Charged With Marijuana Possession
Marijuana DUI might be similar to drunk driving in some respects, but the violation is more severe due to the fact that pot is a controlled substance. It’s not illegal to be in possession of alcohol, but carrying marijuana is illegal.
Depending on the amount you’re holding when you’re apprehended, you may be subject to additional criminal charges. There are fines and potential jail time for possession of a controlled substance and for possession with intent to sell, otherwise known as drug trafficking.
Contact A South Florida Drug Crimes Attorney
The consequences for a marijuana DUI are quite severe, especially if you are also charged with possession of the drug. Still, there are certain defenses that can result in dismissal of the case or reduced penalties. Gabriela Novo, an experienced Marijuana DUI Attorney serving Ft. Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Hollywood, and all of Broward County, has an extensive background in Florida Law and will help you fight for your rights. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, call the Law Office of Gabriela C. Novo at (954) 866-8132 for a free, confidential legal consultation.