On Driving While High, With or Without a Medical Cannabis Card
Cannabis laws in Florida are changing rapidly, so fast that case law has yet to sort out all the implications of the fact that possessing and consuming cannabis is now sometimes legal or somewhat legal or sometimes somewhat legal. It’s safe to say that the current state of marijuana laws is as hazy as a room where erstwhile hippies have gathered to listen to Electric Ladyland in its entirety in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s entry into the 27 Club. Nowhere are the implications of the law less clear than when it comes to medical cannabis. If you have a medical cannabis card, you can use cannabis, but exactly what can you do with it and what is still illegal? It’s no secret that some criminal cases are bogus, so if you think that you have been arrested or charged because of some loophole or technicality that exists only in the imagination of the police or the prosecution, contact a Florida drug crimes defense lawyer.
Impaired Driving or Just the Cops Picking on a Legal Cannabis User?
At about 10:00 p.m. on November 25, Anthony Nagle was driving on Sanibel Island when police pulled him over at the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Donax Street. The ostensible reason for the stop was that Nagle’s license plate was expired and that Nagle had been swerving. Once Nagle stopped, the officer noticed a marijuana smell coming from the car and two marijuana cigarettes on the floor. Nagle failed his field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI and using marijuana in public.
There are two things wrong with this picture. First, the evidence that Nagle was too impaired to drive is flimsy at best. Field sobriety tests, such as asking a person to recite the alphabet backwards or walk on an imaginary balance beam, are notoriously unreliable. Plenty of sober people fail them; only people who have excellent balance or who are very good at being articulate in high-pressure situations can pass them. Furthermore, there is no legally established level of cannabis consumption at which a person is too high to drive nor any medical tests to detect this level. Second, the arresting officer did not see Nagle smoking marijuana in public. He might have smoked the two joints in his car while it was parked in his garage on two different days, neither of which was November 25.
All of this means that, if Nagle pleads not guilty, he has a good choice of being acquitted or having the charges against him dropped. Unfortunately, though, too many defendants are not aware of their rights or else get bullied into pleading guilty by prosecutors or overworked public defenders. This truly is a case where a criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference.
Let Us Help You Today
Knowing your rights is the key to avoid being bullied by a 420-unfriendly court system. Contact a Florida drug offense attorney at the FL Drug Defense Group to discuss your case.