What Are The Laws In Florida That Address Drivers With A BAC Below The Legal Limit?
The politicians in Tallahassee have made it so that if someone under the drinking age blows into the Breathalyzer, even though their blood alcohol level is much lower than the legal limit they can be charged with a DUI. Commercial vehicle driver’s license holders have additional restrictions as well. It is very easy to lose a commercial driver’s license with DUI related cases.
Additionally, although it makes a case much harder to prove, a BAC result below 0.08 does not automatically means someone wins. If the breath test reading is between 0.05 and below 0.08, then there is no legal presumption of impairment.
How Often Are Illegal Or Prescription Drug DUI Cases Seen Versus Alcohol? Which Case Seems To Be Harder To Defend?
DUI cases with prescription and illegal drugs are on the rise. There is definitely an increase seen in more marijuana related DUIs as well. The problem with marijuana related DUI or any drug related DUI is that there is not a specific standard that constitutes impairment. Here’s how that plays out in someone’s case:
Someone is breath tested at the jail after a DUI arrest and it comes up zero. The next thing that happens is that the officer will ask for a urine test to screen for drugs. The results won’t come back for weeks, but you are locked up and have to stay overnight. When you see a judge in the morning, you have been charged with a DUI because the police are convinced prescription drugs or illegal drugs are going to come back in the blood work. Frankly, I think that there should be a warrant requirement and the person should be released pending the results of the drug screen.
Some drugs digest in the body quickly, while others, such as marijuana do not. It can be detected for extremely long periods of time and if somebody has taken a hair sample, it can stay even longer. However, if someone smoked a joint three weeks ago, it’s not going to have any possible impact on their driving. But when it shows up as a positive drug test for the presence of an illegal drug, the state is going to try and ride that horse to the finish line arguing the person was high. Yet none of their experts can says how much of what drug in that person would cause impairment.
Some states like Colorado are looking into setting standards for how much of drug A constitutes an unlawful level for driving purposes and how much of drug B, drug C, etc., which is long overdue. Defending drug based DUIs is, as a general principle easier in some respects but more difficult in others. If you’re taking a case in an area where 80% of the voters are in favor of legalizing marijuana, then you have a much more favorable jury pool than you do in an area where 80% of the voters think marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead to stabbings at any moment. There is still a lot of reefer madness in this country, particularly in the smaller counties in Florida. So, it’s always a judgment call; each case is different.
The saddest thing I’m seeing with more frequency is a rise in cases where senior citizens with no criminal history at all are being charged with DUI with property damage. I’m convinced that the vast majority of these accidents are not due to drugs, they are due to advancing age. Expecting a 72 year old grandmother in poor health to stand on one leg and count to ten is ridiculous – they can’t do it, period. It doesn’t indicate impairment due to alcohol or drugs so much as it indicates this person can’t perform field sobriety tests or exercises designed for athletes. But politicians don’t care, they get sentenced to jail without their medications when they show up unrepresented, and I will do everything within my power to stop this abusive treatment of our most vulnerable citizens.
If you need information regarding Factors That Can Impact a DUI Case in Florida, call the criminal defense office of Stephen G. Cobb for a FREE Initial Consultation at (850) 669-5882 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.