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Drugged driving charges in Florida: What to know

If a police officer pulls you over and you've been drinking, a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer test or simply smelling your breath may be enough for the officer to suspect that you're intoxicated.

With drugs, however, you might not exhibit easily detectable signs of inebriation, and different drugs affect the body in different ways. With that said, you can still be charged with drugged driving in Florida, and police have become more savvy about recognizing the effects of drugs on drivers.

The burden of proof falls on police and prosecutors.

For you to be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), the prosecution must show that your normal faculties were impaired. To do this, the prosecution may point to the results of a field sobriety test.

Law enforcement may also utilize blood testing and urine testing to determine the presence of drugs in a person's system. However, prosecutors often encounter difficulty trying to prove that the detected substance in question had actively impaired the driver at the time of testing.

If your DUID case goes to trial, the prosecution may call upon a toxicology expert to testify with regard to the presence of prescription or illegal drugs and their alleged contribution to your impairment. However, even police and prosecutors will admit that it's difficult to prove drugged driving cases, even when drugs are detected in the driver's system.

If prosecutors combine evidence of drug possession with evidence of unusual behavior, then the risk of a conviction increases.

Note: even if you have a prescription for the drug in question, you can still be charged with drugged driving.

A charge does not automatically lead to a conviction.

The arrest is only part of the legal process. You have a right to defend against the charge. Many DUI and DUID charges are based on unlawful traffic stops, and their may be questions to answer with regard to illegal search and seizure.

If you have been arrested for drug possession or DUID, talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your full range of options for minimizing the negative consequences.

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