When someone hears the term driving under the influence, they are likely to assume that means drinking and driving. Alcohol is not the only drug, however. Florida’s DUI law actually refers to driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances.
If you drive under the influence of marijuana, for example, you can also be charged with DUI. Additionally, driving while under the influence of certain prescription drugs whose use is regulated (called “controlled substances”) can lead to a DUI charge. This is the case
Even if you had a valid prescription
Even if you were taking the medication according to the directions
If you do not have a prescription, you may be facing additional charges such as possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. And if you do have a prescription, you may be facing consequences identical to a “normal” DUI. These can include, but are not limited to:
Suspension of your driver’s license
Mandatory community service
Given that the consequences are so significant, it is important to have an experienced controlled substances DUI defense attorney representing you. We understand the impact these charges can have on your life and will defend you vigorously.
Although the penalties are the same, the defense for a controlled substance DUI is different. This is because law enforcement cannot base their charges on the results of a breathalyzer test. Instead, they may be relying on the arresting officers’ observations of aspects of your behavior or appearance, such as:
Performance on field sobriety tests
They may also use chemical tests to prove intoxication, such as blood or urine tests. However, because blood and urine tests are not generally conducted until after your arrest, they may not be representative of your intoxication level at the time you were pulled over. And if the arresting officer was not a drug recognition expert, he or she may not have been able to ascertain whether your behavior or appearance were the result of the use of controlled substances.
What this means for you is that your stop and arrest need to be examined carefully. Sometimes we find that an individual should not have been charged to begin with. If that is the case, we will work to have charges dismissed. However, time is of the essence in controlled substance DUI cases. If you are facing these charges, contact our firm for a free consultation as soon as possible.