By now, most drivers are aware (or should be aware) that driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law and carries stiff penalties, especially for repeat offenders. However, law enforcement has a useful set of tools at their disposal for identifying drivers under the influence of alcohol: time-tested field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, and blood-alcohol tests. Most of us also know the common blood-alcohol limit is .08% and that two drinks per hour can get you into serious trouble when driving.
However, driving under the influence of cannabis brings an entirely new set of rules, many of which are still being sorted out. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or cannabis, let the Bradenton DUI attorneys at the Fowler Law Group help. We understand the law and can help you minimize your punishments and seek incarceration alternatives.
Florida Law Regarding Cannabis Use
Medical cannabis patients can legally buy and use cannabis for therapeutic purposes, and you may have medical cannabis in your vehicle, but you can’t use cannabis in your vehicle or operate your vehicle while under the influence of cannabis. This applies to all products with THC, such as leaf, vaped, tincture, or edibles. Non-psychoactive CBD products are safe to take, provided that they contain 0.3% THC or less.
The psychoactive effects of THC can impair your judgment and impair your ability to focus, and driving while high is essentially the same as driving while drunk. So even if you only use a small amount and don’t feel that it affects your driving, you could still face serious consequences if you’re caught or, more seriously, if you get into an accident and injure yourself or others.
The main problem faced by law enforcement officers is the detection of an amount of cannabis that affects your driving. There is no gauge or mechanical device that provides a bright-line result, as with on-scene breathalyzers for alcohol. The only way for officers to gauge your impairment is with old-fashioned behavioral tests, such as lifting one leg, walking toe-to-toe, or touching your nose with your eyes closed.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis
Driving while under the influence of cannabis in Florida falls under Drugged Driving. That means that if you’re caught driving high in Florida, you’ll face the same penalties as someone driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances.
The penalties for a first offense of drugged driving are a fine of $500 to $1,000 and six months in jail. Your driver’s license could be suspended for up to one year, you’ll be required to perform 50 hours of community service, and your vehicle will be impounded for ten days.
Your second offense is punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and up to nine months in jail. Your third offense is considered a felony and may be punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail.
Contact the Bradenton DUI Attorneys for Help With Your Impaired Driving Charges
Driving under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or other banned substances can lead to very serious charges. Your first call should be to Bradenton DUI attorneys. We’ll defend against your charges and divert you into treatment options if possible. Contact us for your free consultation.