In Florida, driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs is a criminal offense subject to the same harsh penalties as alcohol-related DUI offenses. Many people do not realize that taking some legally prescribed medications could result in a DUI arrest if their driving is impaired by the effects of the drug. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville DUI attorneys are available to defend drivers against drug DUI and other criminal charges. We understand that a well-prepared defense can help mitigate the consequences of a drug DUI arrest, and we work tirelessly to obtain a favorable outcome for our clients.Florida Drug DUI
A Florida drug DUI is committed when a person drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance that has affected them to the extent that their normal faculties are impaired. Driving while high on methamphetamines, cocaine, or another illegal substance certainly may lead to a drug DUI arrest. In addition, there are hundreds of other controlled substances listed under Florida law that may be the basis for a drug DUI, including medical marijuana and a number of commonly prescribed medications. Although many controlled substances may be taken lawfully, you could nevertheless be arrested for a DUI if the drug allegedly affected your ability to drive safely. Note that the drug or medication must be classified as a controlled substance in order to form the basis for a drug DUI. If you are convicted of a drug DUI, you are subject to the same penalties as a conviction for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
As in any DUI case, a police officer may pull over a driver on suspicion of drugged driving. Unlike most alcohol-related DUI offenses, however, there is generally no “legal limit” for a drug DUI. Further, the breath test administered by police during a DUI stop is capable only of determining the presence of alcohol, and cannot be used to detect controlled substances. In many drug DUI cases, the arresting officer relies on field sobriety tests to determine the extent of a driver’s impairment. The officer may consider the results of the field sobriety tests, along with other evidence, and exercise their best judgment in determining a whether a driver is impaired. For this reason, the basis for a drug DUI arrest is usually subjective. After a driver has been arrested for a drug DUI offense, the officer may request a urine or blood sample to test for any controlled substances in their system. It is important to note that if the driver does not agree to a chemical test, they may face additional consequences for a DUI refusal under Florida’s implied consent law. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help you learn more about the repercussions of refusing a chemical test in your drug DUI case.Fighting a Drug DUI Charge
For all criminal offenses, the prosecution has the burden to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Drug DUI cases tend to be more difficult to prove than alcohol-related offenses due to the nature of the evidence. As in drunk driving cases, chemical testing may not be completely accurate when used detect the presence or amount of a controlled substance in the defendant’s system. Moreover, the results of a urine or blood test alone generally cannot prove that the defendant was driving under the influence of drugs at the time of the arrest. This is because many controlled substances may be detected by a chemical test days or weeks after usage.Retain a Jacksonville Drug DUI Attorney to Defend Against Conviction
Avoiding conviction starts with defending against the criminal charges. If you have been arrested for a drug DUI, the Jacksonville defense lawyers at Ellis and Bryant can potentially help. We are available to represent people in drugged driving and other DUI cases in locations throughout Clay and Duval Counties, including Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and Middleburg. Call our office at (904) 551-4120 or submit the contact form on our website to request a free initial consultation.