Driving While High In Florida
What happens if you drive while high in Florida.
IntroductionWith the passing and implementation of Amendment 2 in the State of Florida, the use of medical marijuana has become a controversial topic. Uncertainty over how exactly the use of medical marijuana will be regulated, and how obtaining a medical card will impact aspects of the patient’s life, is the subject of much debate. A major concern for both patients and those opposed to the legalization of medical marijuana is how exactly to determine when to appropriately arrest someone who is for driving while under the influence of marijuana, or “driving while high.”
What happens?Determining if someone is driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is often a fairly straightforward process. If the officer has reasonable suspicion that a motorist is driving while intoxicated, he or she will conduct a traffic stop and administer a field sobriety test and/or a breathalyzer test. If the operator of the vehicle fails the sobriety test, or blows above the legal limit of .08, the officer can then arrest the person and they will be charged with a DUI.
Currently, there is no legal standard to determine if someone is driving while high on cannabis. In Florida, it is simply stated that a medical marijuana patient shall not be permitted to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. There is currently no limit for drug impairment, as there is with alcohol. Due to the nature of how THC is stored in fat cells and metabolized, blood samples and urine samples can test positive for THC despite the vehicle operator having not recently used marijuana. This is especially relevant for habitual marijuana users. Because of the inability to determine if the person is presently high based off of a blood or urine sample, officers have had to rely on field sobriety tests which raises questions of reliability. In a 2012 study, it was determined that field sobriety tests (like the standard heel-toe walk) only catch about 30% of high drivers. As recently reported, law enforcement throughout the State of Florida has employed drug recognition experts that are working to determine how best to test someone during a traffic stop for impairment due to marijuana use.
As always, it is imperative that you refrain from operating a vehicle when under the influence of marijuana. In the event that you or a loved one has recently been charged with a DUI for marijuana, our dedicated legal team is here to assist you in your defense. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI for marijuana, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today!!