Marijuana & DUI: What You Need to Know

When you think of the term “DUI,” you probably think of alcohol. Under Florida Law, a person is guilty of driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical substances when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.  A person’s 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. But how does marijuana fit into this equation?

Getting Behind the Wheel

Any person who accepts the privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Florida is deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test. Furthermore, if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle driven by or in the actual physical control of a person under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substances, or any controlled substances has caused the death or serious bodily injury of a human being, the law enforcement officer shall require the person driving or in actual physical control of the motor vehicle to submit to a blood test.

Driving Under the Influence

If a person’s blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level is 0.08 or higher, then that is prima facie evidence (assumed correct until proven otherwise) that the person was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired. Florida, like most states, does not have a set standard for presumed marijuana impairment, and there are no definitive studies to determine at what level a driver using marijuana is considered impaired. A chronic user of marijuana can test positive for the drug weeks after last consuming it and long after its effects have worn off.

An Ongoing Battle

Dr. Rick Yost, a University of Florida researcher is working a developing a marijuana breath test which could more accurately test for marijuana during its impairment time frame. Unfortunately, this has been hindered by the fact that the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug (most dangerous), which is a roadblock to researching the drug. This, of course, is in stark contrast to how many states are treating marijuana by starting to legalize marijuana use either for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any other drug is a serious public safety issue in Florida. These substances have contributed to countless automobile accidents and life changing injuries. If you have been injured as the result of someone driving under the influence, contact The Ruth Law Team at 1-888-Steve-Ruth (1-888-783-8378). We can help you recover financial compensation for your injuries, and as always, there is no fee unless we win your case.