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Florida Drug Defense Attorney > Blog > Drug Crime Defense > Criminal Cases For Driving Under The Influence Of Cannabis Are As Subjective As You Think They Are

Criminal Cases For Driving Under The Influence Of Cannabis Are As Subjective As You Think They Are


Under Florida laws in their current form, the penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis are the same as the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol.  As far as the law is concerned, DUI is DUI, whether the substance of which you are under the influence is marijuana, alcohol, a prescription drug that a doctor has prescribed to you, a prescription drug you bought illegally from a friend of a friend, or heroin.  If you drive in any condition other than sobriety, you can face criminal penalties including driver’s license suspension, monetary fines, court-ordered substance abuse treatment, probation, and even a jail sentence.  The difference is that it is much easier to measure the concentration of alcohol that is currently influencing the driver’s ability to drive safely; therefore, blood alcohol content (BAC) affects the grading of DUI charges and the penalties for a conviction.  Telling how recently someone smoked weed and how much they smoked is not easy, at least not from the perspective of currently available forensic tests.  A breathalyzer for cannabis is currently in the works, but for the time being, it is still your word against the prosecution’s whether you were too stoned to drive safely.  A Florida drug offense attorney can help you argue your case convincingly.

A Marijuana Breathalyzer Could Make Cannabis DUI Cases Less Unfair

The currently available forensic tests can measure BAC accurately; the results of breath tests from hand-held breathalyzer devices are admissible in court, and defendants have an uphill battle in proving that the breath test at their traffic stop was inaccurate, although some defendants in DUI cases have successfully used this defense.  The body metabolizes alcohol quickly, and if you got drunk last week but have avoided alcohol since then, breath tests and blood tests cannot tell this.

Cannabis tests, by contrast, are much more incriminating and much less useful for traffic stops.  The urine tests typically used for workplace drug testing and in probation cases can tell whether you have used cannabis in the past week, but they don’t know if it was yesterday or six days ago.  The hair tests are even less accurate; they can only tell that you smoked weed sometime in the past six weeks, and the thicker your hair is, the longer the cannabis residue remains detectable.

Scientists at the University of California are developing a cannabis breathalyzer.  It works similarly to an alcohol breathalyzer, by dissolving particles in the breath and measuring the concentration of cannabis metabolites.  The main obstacle to using the device in field sobriety tests is its size; it is currently a machine the size of a refrigerator.  If computers are any example, cannabis breathalyzers will get smaller over time.  In the 1960s, one computer used to take up an entire room, but you have probably accessed the Internet today from a computer small enough to fit in your pants pocket.  Therefore, it is likely that, in the future, marijuana breathalyzers will be small enough to use at DUI traffic stops.

Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Charges for Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis

A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid driver’s license suspension and other criminal penalties if you are being accused of driving under the influence of cannabis.  Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.




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