Everyone who has a license in Florida already knows that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. After all, impaired driving is an important section and every driver's education course. While driving lessons about impaired driving also talked about prescription drugs and illegal use of street drugs, people are less likely to remember those details.
Over the years, a driver may begin to focus on alcohol as the primary source of impairment for drivers. After all, law enforcement does not have the ability to perform a chemical test on the side of the road for any other drugs.
However, that does not mean that it is legal to drive with any other compound in your system if it impairs you. Florida law makes it clear that driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance is a crime. Driving after taking street drugs, prescription medication or even popular over-the-counter medication could mean criminal charges.
Florida DUI laws include street drugs and prescriptions
Driving under the influence (DUI) offenses do not just relate to alcohol. Law enforcement can charge someone with a DUI if that person is believed to be under the influence of street drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine or methamphetamine. Similarly, law enforcement can arrest and charge somebody for a DUI because they admit to taking prescription pills or even over-the-counter medication.
Any drug that causes mental or physical impairment and negatively affects your ability to drive could be grounds for a DUI charge. Just because you have a prescription doesn't mean that the drug in question can't impact your driving. Even cold medication or cough syrups can leave someone with slower response times or difficulty focusing on the road. That could lead to an accident or a traffic stop and arrest.
Public safety is the main consideration for DUI enforcement
Florida does not have a law against driving after drinking or taking drugs to ruin your good time. These laws are in place because impaired driving affects more than just you. If you only endangered yourself by getting behind the wheel while chemically impaired, the law would probably not be as strict.
However, you endanger every single person that you pass in your vehicle, whether they are driving or a pedestrian. In order to reduce the risk on the road to the public, state lawmakers have passed laws that penalize those whose actions endanger others in public spaces.
If you or someone you love is facing a DUI charge related to street drugs or prescription medication, take those charges seriously. The potential for a criminal record, imprisonment, steep fines and loss of your driver's license could have a long-lasting effect on the life of anyone convicted of a drug-related DUI.