What if You’re Caught Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana?
Driving while under the influence of marijuana is grounds for arrest in the state of Florida. In fact, it may bring about some fairly serious penalties, including fines, suspension of your driver’s license and jail time.
Many people think that because there is no established breath test, officers have no way to determine when a driver is under the influence of marijuana. But this is untrue in Florida, where all drivers are held to a standard of implied consent. This means that law enforcement officers automatically have permission to test drivers for intoxicants. These tests may take the form of breath tests, blood tests and/or urine sampling.
Drivers have the right to refuse to submit to these tests, but if they do they may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which can result in a one-year suspension of driving privileges and up to one year in jail. Additionally, drivers involved in accidents that cause serious bodily harm or death to another person are automatically subject to blood testing for drugs, even if officers have to restrain them to collect a sample.
Penalties for being convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana include the following:
- As a first offense, fines between $500 and $1,000, license suspension for up to one year, up to six months in jail and 50 hours of community service
- Subsequent convictions are met with escalating fees, suspensions and periods of incarceration
- A third conviction is considered a felony in Florida if it is committed within 10 years of the second conviction
- Fourth convictions can land offenders in jail for up to five years
Considering the severity of the penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Orange County and throughout Florida, it’s critical to seek support from a criminal defense attorney who can use strategies to reduce or even eliminate the charges you face.