DUI for Drugs Other than Alcohol
Alcohol consumption negatively impacts your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is common knowledge. When an individual is pulled over on the suspicion that he or she is driving drunk, he or she can face a DUI (driving under the influence) charge and the penalties that accompany a DUI conviction, such as fines and the loss of driving privileges. The term DUI is often used interchangeably with DWI, driving while intoxicated.
It is also possible to be charged with DUI for allegedly driving under the influence of a drug other than alcohol. This is also known as a DUID charge, driving under the influence of drugs. The penalties for a DUI charge in Florida are the same regardless of the substance in question.
Determining Whether a Driver is Under the Influence
Determining whether a driver is beyond the legal blood alcohol content limit of .08 percent can be done fairly simply with a Breathalyzer, which is an electronic device that uses a sample of the driver’s breath to measure the percentage of alcohol in his or her blood. Determining whether he or she is impaired by another drug can be more complicated. Other types of drug can have wildly varied effects on individuals and traces of certain drugs, such as marijuana, can be found in an individual’s blood stream long after the effects of the drug have worn off. Generally, drugs are detected in drivers’ bodies through urine or blood sampling.
In some municipalities, specially-trained officers known as drug recognition experts (DREs) are employed to evaluate individuals who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs. These officers evaluate drivers’ eye and body movements and behaviors to determine whether they are under the influence of drugs and if so, which types. A DRE’s opinion is not the sole deciding factor that determine whether the driver is convicted, but it is used as part of his or her investigation.
DUI from a Legally-Prescribed Drug
It is possible to be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of a prescribed drug, such as a sleep aid or an antidepressant. This is why patients are cautioned to determine how their medications affect them before driving or operating heavy machinery. When you are prescribed a new medicine, talk to your doctor about how it could affect your ability to drive and do not drive until you have determined how the drug affects your alertness, judgment, and reaction time.
Work with an Experienced Miami DUI Defense Lawyer
It does not matter whether you were pulled over under the suspicion of driving drunk, driving under the influence of an illegal drug like heroin or a hallucinogenic drug, or for driving under the influence of a legally-prescribed substance. If you have been charged with DUI, it is important that you work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer to fight the charge and help you avoid a conviction. To get started with a member of our Miami criminal defense law firm, contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today to set up your free initial consultation in our office.