Pensacola Defense Lawyers

Some Prescription Drugs & Driving Don’t Mix

Posted on Monday, December 23rd, 2019 at 12:48 pm    

A large number of Americans are taking at least one, if not several medications at any given time. The number of citizens taking prescription drugs has grown so much that it has caused a serious concern over drugged driving. What a lot of people don’t realize is that drugged driving, even if it’s associated with lawfully prescribed medications, can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

“Drugged driving is driving a vehicle while impaired due to the intoxicating effects of recent drug use. It can make driving a car unsafe—just like driving after drinking alcohol. Drugged driving puts the driver, passengers, and others who share the road at serious risk,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Why Drugged Driving Is Dangerous

Certain drugs directly affect driving skills because of how they act in the brain. Some drugs, such as marijuana, impair a person’s judgment and slow reaction time. They can also decrease the driver’s coordination. Then there are other medications that cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea, aggression, and reckless driving.

According to the NIDA, prescription drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines impair thinking and judgment and can cause drowsiness and dizziness. With some medications, even the smallest amount can have a measurable effect, which is why a person can face driving under the influence (DUI) charges if there is “any amount” of a drug in a driver’s blood or urine.

While not all drugs affect driving ability, some definitely do. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the types of medications that make it dangerous to drive include the following:

  • Anxiety medications
  • Some antidepressants
  • Medicines that contain codeine
  • Some cold and allergy medications
  • Sleeping pills
  • Pain relievers
  • Tranquilizers
  • Medications with stimulants, such as pseudoephedrine

To learn more about drugged driving from the FDA, click here.

In Florida, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit drugs. You can face the same DUI penalties for driving under the influence of a prescription drug as you would for drunk driving. The penalties for a first prescription drug DUI in Florida include up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Next: Common Drugs That Cause DUI

Facing prescription DUI charges? Contact The Morris Firm 24/7 for a case evaluation.


Can I Get a DUI for Marijuana in Florida?

Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2019 at 12:46 pm    

Even though marijuana legalization and decriminalization is taking effect in various states across the country, it is still very much illegal in Florida. While some states, such as California, Nevada, and Colorado have loosened up their marijuana possession laws significantly, in all 50 states it’s against the law to drive under the influence of marijuana and Florida is no exception.

If you drive under the influence of marijuana, what are the penalties? Are they different than they are for an alcohol-related DUI? Like other states, the penalties for a marijuana DUI in Florida are the same as they are for driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the penalties for DUI are the same, regardless if the driver is impaired by alcohol, marijuana, another illegal drug, prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medications.

Does Marijuana Affect Driving?

Studies have found that marijuana affects driving, which is why it’s illegal to drive while you’re under the influence of the drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.”

The NIDA continues, “Marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood of drivers who have been involved in vehicle crashes, including fatal ones.”

Florida’s DUI Law

Florida’s DUI law is covered under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. In Florida, you break the state’s DUI law if you are under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or controlled substance under Chapter 893 and your normal faculties are impaired.

There doesn’t have to be a “specific amount” of marijuana in your bloodstream to face marijuana DUI charges, all that matters is that the drug has impaired your normal faculties. The penalties for DUI, whether it’s due to alcohol, marijuana, or another drug or controlled substance are as follows for a first offense:

  • A fine ranging between $500 and $1,000
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • If the blood alcohol level (BAL) was .15% or higher, up to 9 months in jail

If you or someone you love is facing DUI charges for marijuana, please contact The Morris Firm at (850) 427-6514 to schedule an initial case evaluation.

Next: Don’t Get a DUI This Holiday Season!