A mistake many drivers make in Florida is associating the offense of driving under the influence, or DUI, only with alcohol. Florida DUI law, however, is driven by the concept of impairment. Since many drugs, prescription or illegal, can have the effect of impairing your ability to drive to some degree, Florida has made the offense of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), or drugged driving, a valid DUI crime with the same severe penalties. There are many factors that go into a conviction for DUID in Alachua County; contact a Gainesville DUI defense lawyer to begin fighting them immediately.

Gainesville DUID Defense Lawyer

When it comes to drugged driving in Florida, there are an abundance of variables involved that could either work for or against your case. The qualified DUI defense lawyers of Galigani Law Firm in Gainesville have roughly 50 years of combined legal experience and know what it takes to expose the weak variables in the prosecution’s case to your advantage.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs in Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Gilchrist County, Columbia County, Baker County, Bradford County, or Union County, put the years of experience and criminal defense specialization of the Galigani Law Firm behind your case. Your first consultation concerning your Gainesville DUID case with Galigani Law Firm is free, so call (352) 375-0812 today to schedule yours.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Florida Defined

Unlike alcohol, which has a “per se” limit of a blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) level of .08, there is no related limit under Fla. Stat. § 316.193 for controlled substances. The statute merely states that a person is guilty of DUI drugs if he or she is in actual physical control of a vehicle in Florida and is under the influence of an illegal drug, prescription drug, or other controlled substance to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired. Note that actual physical control can mean inside or outside of the vehicle with the ability to operate it, as well as driving.

Normal faculties under this statute include the ability to see, here, walk, talk, judge distances, make judgments, and perform any other everyday act of life. Since there is no specific number indicating impairment for drugs, a law enforcement officer may request field sobriety tests or a submission to drug testing of your blood or urine if he or she suspects DUID in Alachua County.

An officer may suspect impairment by illegal drugs or even over-the-counter or prescription drugs if there are factors indicating you have drugs in your possession – such as a strong odor of drug smoke, the presence of prescription bottles, or symptoms like blood-shot eyes that may indicate drug use. Having a prescription for a controlled substance in your possession is not a valid defense to DUID in Florida. It is, however, a valid defense strategy to contact an experienced Gainesville DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest for DUID in Alachua County.

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Drugs Common to Gainesville DUID

Since DUI drugs in Florida requires only actual physical control and impairment, with no specifications for per se DUID, it is really possible to be arrested for drugged DUI after consuming any drug – whether it is over the counter or prescription, listed as a controlled substance or not. Some of the common illegal drugs found in Gainesville area DUID cases include:

  • Marijuana, including Gainesville Green
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine

The presence of marijuana in a vehicle is fairly easy to detect and could cause both a marijuana possession charge and a marijuana DUI charge. Prescription drugs can also cause impairment behind the wheel, and having a prescription for the substance does not excuse your drugged driving. The prescription drugs commonly found in Alachua County drugged DUI cases include Oxycodone, Xanax, methadone, Ritalin, and Adderall. Once an officer suspects impairment and sees evidence of any drug use, such as symptoms or containers, you could be arrested for DUID. This is true even without the presence of alcohol. An experienced criminal lawyer specializing in Gainesville DUI defense can help protect your rights and fight for a favorable outcome from the beginning.

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Penalties for Drugged Driving in Alachua County

Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious offense in Florida, with penalties to match. Despite being classified as a misdemeanor offense, a DUID conviction is not something to take lightly as extra penalties are added by statute to what a misdemeanor is normally punished by. A first conviction for DUID in Alachua County and elsewhere in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor, with up to six months of prison, 12 months of probation, and a $500-$1,000 fine in addition to court costs.

A first DUID also comes with 50 hours of community service, a drug abuse evaluation and any treatment, the completion of DUI school, a driver’s license suspension for 6 months to one year, and a vehicle impoundment or immobilization requirement of 10 days. A second drugged driving offense in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor, and comes with the following penalties:

  • Up to 9 months in prison, with a 10-day mandatory minimum sentence for offenses within 5 years of each other – 48 hours which must be served consecutively
  • $1,000 – $2,000 fine, in addition to all court costs and fees
  • Up to 5 years of suspension for your Florida driver’s license
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device, which you must fund yourself
  • Vehicle impoundment or immobilization requirement of 30 days if offense is within 5 years of first offense
  • More community service hours, DUI school, substance abuse counseling, and a psychosocial evaluation

The penalties for DUI can severely restrict your ability to hold employment and perform the other duties of daily life. To fight against your DUID charges in Gainesville from becoming a conviction, contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Alachua County to begin constructing your defense.

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Galigani Law Firm | DUI Defense Lawyer for Alachua County Drugged Driving

If you have been arrested for DUID in Gainesville or the surrounding areas, including Alachua County, Ocala in Marion County, and Lake City in Columbia County, contact the experienced DUID defense lawyers of Galigani Law Firm. They will do whatever it takes to fight for a favorable outcome in your Gainesville drugged driving case. To schedule your free initial DUI case consultation with Galigani Law Firm, call (352) 375-0812 today.