In November 2016, a landmark decision was made when 72 percent of Floridians voted to approve the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative. This initiative legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal use for people who have been diagnosed with certain diseases or who are experiencing debilitating side effects as a result of an illness.
The passage of this initiative allows anyone who has a valid recommendation issued by a state-licensed physician to buy and use marijuana. However, while using marijuana for medicinal reasons is legal, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana—even if the marijuana is medically recommended —is not legal. You can be charged, arrested, and convicted for driving under the influence (DUI).
Understanding Medicinal Marijuana and DUI
Since the passage of the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, marijuana dispensaries have opened up throughout the city of Miami. While you can purchase marijuana from those dispensaries legally (as long as you have a card), you are not permitted to operate a vehicle if being under the influence of the drug impairs your normal faculties; for example, being unable to walk a straight line, speak clearly, or exhibit proper judgment. If you do drive under the influence of marijuana and you are pulled over, you will be charged with, and arrested for DUI.
While marijuana may be approved for medicinal use in Florida, it is still considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Therefore, it is essential that if you are granted a recommendation for medicinal marijuana by a state-licensed physician, that you use the drug responsibly.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Medical Marijuana
The penalties for a first offense of driving under the influence of medical marijuana include a fine of up to $1,000, a jail term of up to 6 months, or both. Your driver’s license may also be suspended for up to a period of 1 year, and you will have to complete 50 hours of community service. Lastly, your vehicle will be impounded for up to 10 days.
After a first offense, the penalties for driving under the influence of medical marijuana will increase. Not only will you face the above-mentioned penalties, but you will also face enhanced penalties. If you are charged with driving under the influence of medical marijuana three times within a 10-year period, the charges are upgraded to a felony offense.
Contact a Miami DUI Lawyer
If you are pulled over on suspicion that you are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of medical marijuana, then it is important that you know your rights. You will be asked to perform a field sobriety test. While these tests can accurately gauge whether a person is under the influence of alcohol, they cannot accurately determine if you are under the influence of marijuana. In many cases, law enforcement officials will determine that a driver is under the influence when in fact they are not.
If you have been charged with a medical marijuana DUI in Miami, contacting a Miami criminal defense attorney is in your best interest. The Stroleny Law, P.A. DUI lawyer in Miami will help you to navigate the legal proceedings and will represent you fully with the goal of having your charges reduced or completely dismissed.
The Stroleny Law, P.A Miami DUI law firm has already helped countless people who have been charged with driving under the influence. Contact the firm today to find out how they can assist you through this difficult time and help you get the best results possible for your case.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.