It has been a couple of years since Florida’s constitution was amended to allow Florida citizens to use medical cannabis if they get doctor approval. The world did not come to an end. The state workforce did not turn into an army of hungry, red-eyed zombies. All-in-all, nothing much has changed. But a question a get a lot is, “can I get a marijuana DUI if I have a medical prescription.” The answer is, yes.
What’s Florida Law say about Marijuana DUI?
Florida’s DUI statute has always made it illegal to drive while you are impaired by: (1) alcohol, (2) a controlled substance, or (3) a chemical substance. Everybody knows about drinking and driving – one beer to many, your over a .08, off to jail you go. What surprises many people is that you go to jail for simply taking your own prescriptions. If you suffer from anxiety and your doctor prescribes you Xanax, you are expected to take your pills on a regular basis, as the doctor instructs you to. Well, guess what? You are driving around town with a controlled substance in your blood stream. If something happens and you get arrested for DUI, the officer may well request that you submit to a urine test. That urine test will be positive for Alprazolam, a controlled substance under Florida law. To be clear – driving after taking your medications is only illegal if your “normal faculties” are impaired by the medication, much the same way as how it is not illegal to drink and drive so long as your normal faculties are not impaired (or over a .08). The point is, that if you are involved in a car accident, for example, and the officer has you pee into a cup, you may well find yourself in a tough place. You may well be looking for a DUI attorney to help fight a criminal case!
Medical cannabis, or marijuana, is much like the Xanax that your doctor prescribed you in the sense that it is not illegal for you to take it, it is not illegal for you to drive with a certain level of it in your system, but it is illegal to drive if it is impairing your normal faculties. Some officers are trained to detect impairment by cannabis, but the normal field sobriety exercises to not offer the same insight cannabis impairment as they do alcohol impairment. In fact, many of the “clues” for alcohol impairment are simply not “clues” that someone is impaired by cannabis. Don’t take my work for it, there are studies that support this. So how do you avoid becoming a DUI suspect for a cannabis/marijuana DUI? For starters, you shouldn’t drive while impaired by cannabis. It is dangerous and overall a bad idea. Assuming you are not impaired, still be careful. Just like the Xanax example above, if they ask for a urine sample odds are it will come back positive for THC. Now you have a charge and need a lawyer. Some useful tips? Do not smoke cannabis in your car. A sure fire way to become the suspect in a cannabis DUI investigation is to have your car smell like weed. Do not keep your cannabis in the passenger compartment of your car – just throw it in the trunk. Again, try not to have your car smell like weed.
Prescriptions are not Permissions to Drive
Just because you have a cannabis prescription does not mean that you have the right to smoke and drive no matter what. Just like alcohol, there is a point where your level of impairment turns your prescription and driving into a crime. If you find yourself accused of a DUI related to cannabis you will need an experience DUI drug attorney to set the record straight and help you navigate the court process.
Call us today for a free consultation at (850) 378-3001