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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Andreoni

DUI’s and Cannabis: What to Know

Updated: Feb 8

Have you ever heard of a DUI charge? If not, it stands for Driving Under the Influence. Many people assume that this charge only stands to affect drunk drivers; however, this is false. Anyone driving under any substance (including marijuana) is subject to a DUI charge if pulled over while under the influence. This article will be a guide to why you shouldn't operate any machinery, be it a car or forklift, and what to do if you absolutely must drive.

Many Floridians aren't aware that driving under the influence is a crime, much less do they know the penalties for doing so. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) website, "In a statewide survey conducted in early 2018, more than one in three (36.5%) respondents said that they are “not at all knowledgeable” about legal issues related to marijuana use and driving in Florida. Overall, about two in three (65.7%) respondents correctly said it is true that driving under the influence of marijuana is always illegal in Florida. Nearly one in four (23.2%) respondents were unsure of whether driving under the influence of marijuana is always illegal in Florida."

That said, why don't we take a look at what these penalties are:

  • For the first DUI offense — Up to 6 months of jail time; fines between $500 and $1,000; license suspension between 6 months and a year; 50 hours of community service or a $500 “buyout” option; 10 day vehicle impoundment.

  • For the second DUI offense — Up to 9 months in jail; fines between $1,000 and $2,000; mandatory ignition interlock device; license suspended for 1 to 5 years; 1 year of probation with a psychosocial evaluation; 50 hours of community service or a $500 buyout; 10 day vehicle impoundment.

  • For the third DUI offense — Possible felony with up to 1 year in jail; a fine between $2,000 and $4,000, 2 to 10 year license suspension, 1 year of mandatory probation along with a psychosocial evaluation; installation of an ignition interlock device; 50 hours of community service or a $500 buyout; 90 day vehicle impoundment.

  • For the fourth offense — Felony involving up to $5,000 in fines; up to 5 years in prison; lifetime license revocation; 50 hours of community service or $500 buyout option; 90 day vehicle impoundment.

Drug-related DUI's are tried with the same prejudice as an Alcohol-related DUI case. For more information on Cannabis laws and good-practice, visit our blog.

Now, you may be thinking, "Well, the police can't test for Cannabis in my system the same way that they do for alcohol." To which you would be wrong. According to Florida Statutes 316.1932 (1) (a) "the state assumes that anyone operating a vehicle within the territory of Florida has given consent to submit to such a test [urine analysis or blood]. While you have the right to refuse a urine or blood test, doing so may result in misdemeanor charges carrying a possible 1-year jail sentence and a mandatory license revocation of 1 year."

So, what should you do if you have to drive? If you haven't already smoked THC, then consider taking CBD which offers the same calming effects without the "high". If you're already under the influence of THC and find yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to drive, then try waiting for at least 30-minutes to an hour for the effects to wear off. If your situation is time-sensitive and you cannot wait for the effects to subside, then try drinking coffee or taking a stimulant like pre-workout. The best thing for yourself to do is not drive at all. Take an Uber or other ride-sharing app, ask a friend or relative for a ride, if it's in close enough proximity - then walk. Safety should be your highest concern at all times when consuming Cannabis.

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Dr. Andreoni (305) 893-3989 Instagram: @CannaDocsFL

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