Thursday, February 25, 2016

Marijuana Use And Florida Drivers

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence [1]  confirms that marijuana use leads to impaired drivers:

“Since marijuana is the second most commonly used drug associated with drinking and drugged driving after alcohol, it is important to understand why it is particularly dangerous.  THC, the high producing element in marijuana, affects areas of the brain that control body movements, balance, coordination, memory, and judgment.  Evidence from both real and simulated driving studies indicate that marijuana negatively affects a driver’s attentiveness, perception of time and speed, and ability to draw on information obtained from past experiences.
Research also shows that impairment increases significantly when marijuana use is combined with alcohol. Studies have found that many drivers test positive for alcohol and THC, making it clear that drinking and drugged driving are often linked behaviors.”

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that specifically target drugged drivers. Almost one-third of states have adopted the per se standard that forbid any presence of a prohibited substance or drug in the driver's body while in control of the vehicle, without any other evidence of impairment. Others have established specific limits for the presence of intoxicating drugs, while still others follow a zero tolerance rule with regards to the presence of intoxicating drugs in a person's system. In the state of Florida, Title XXIII, Chapter 316 of the Florida Statute [2] speaks to drugged driving and provides that it is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, other drugs, alcohol, or a combination of substances.  Under the influence means that the driver was in physical control of the vehicle while affected by the drug, alcohol, or combination of both, to the extent that the driver’s normal faculties are impaired. The law specifically provides:

Except as provided in paragraph (b), subsection (3), or subsection (4), any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) shall be punished:

1. By a fine of:

a. Not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for a first conviction.
b. Not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for a second conviction; and

2. By imprisonment for:

a. Not more than 6 months for a first conviction.
b. Not more than 9 months for a second conviction.

3. For a second conviction, by mandatory placement for a period of at least 1 year, at the convicted person’s sole expense, of an ignition interlock device approved by the department in accordance with Section
316.1938 upon all vehicles that are individually or jointly leased or owned and routinely operated by the convicted person, when the convicted person qualifies for a permanent or restricted license. The installation of such device may not occur before July 1, 2003.

(b)1. Any person who is convicted of a third violation of this section for an offense that occurs within 10 years after a prior conviction for a violation of this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. In addition, the court shall order the mandatory placement for a period of not less than 2 years, at the convicted person’s sole expense, of an ignition interlock device approved by the department.”

Clearwater Vehicle Accident Lawyers

There is no accepted medical use of marijuana in the state of Florida at the present time which means, under Florida law, it remains illegal to consume marijuana.  In addition to the criminal statutes, which make it illegal for a Clearwater resident to consume marijuana and to drive, there are also safety concerns when an individual attempts to drive while under the influence of marijuana when their attentiveness, balance, and coordination are all affected.  If you are involved in a vehicle accident where the other driver was under the influence of marijuana or other drugs or alcohol, you can best protect your rights and obtain all of the compensation that is due to you, by speaking to a Clearwater automobile accident attorney.  At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled accident attorneys investigate your case and obtain all of the compensation you are owed for your losses. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900