Drugged driving refers to driving while under the influence of drugs, not alcohol. Florida's DUI statute does not limit prosecution to instances in which drivers are suspected of operating their cars under the influence of alcohol.
The State of Florida can prove a person guilty of DUI by showing beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol to the point that their normal faculties were affected.
A breath-alcohol reading of .08 is only presumptive proof that somebody was impaired by alcohol. However, urine and blood tests that show drugs in a driver's system will be used as evidence against that person in a DUI prosecution.
Police officers are trained to detect signs of impairment. While signs of impairment for alcohol may include slurred speech and an odor of alcohol coming from a person's breath, signs of impairment from drugs may be different.
In order to detect drug impairment, many departments have Drug Recognition Experts, or DREs. These DREs are police officers who have been trained in drug-impairment detection. They may look at your eyes and examine your reflexes to determine what substances, if any, they believe that you are on.
Drugged drivers can be under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, or prescriptions such as oxycodone (OxyContin), alprazolam (Xanax), or prescription sleep aids such as Ambien.
DREs are not perfect. They are not trained medical professionals. They are cops, who likely learned their methods of detection by other cops.
Regardless, a DUI is a DUI. The penalties for DUI in Florida are some of the harshest nationwide. Penalties for DUI are also set by statute, which means that they are mandatory.
Click here to learn the mandatory penalties for a first DUI.
Whether under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of a narcotic, police and prosecutors vigorously go after suspected DUI offenders.
I am a criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged with DUI in Miami-Dade and Broward.
Also - did you know that a DUI arrest alone is enough to suspend your license? You don't have to be convicted in order to lose your driving privilege.
That's because the DHSMV considers driving to be just that - a privilege. If you are arrested for a DUI and you blow a .08 or higher, you will lose your license for 6 months. If you refuse, you will lose your license for 1 year. If you have previously had your driver's license suspended due to a refusal to submit to a breath test, you can be charged with a crime.
Your attorney can set a DUI administrative hearing with the DHSMV in an effort to help you retain your driving privilege. As the process is taking place, your attorney can assist you in getting a temporary work permit which will allow you to drive to and from work and/or school for up to 42 days. These permits can also be re-issued if the hearing is postponed.
Call me today to discuss your DUI case.