Cannabis laws are changing all over the U.S., but nowhere is it legal to drive while stoned (DWS). If your driving is erratic, you could be stopped by a law enforcement officer and asked questions about your driving and in particular if you have been drinking or taking drugs. You could be asked to perform a sobriety test and submit to a breath test on a mobile breathalyzer. If the officer has reason to suspect that you have broken the law, i.e. because you were driving while under the influence of a drug, then you could be arrested and removed to a police station for further questions and tests. At this point it is advisable not to answer any questions apart from giving your name and address. You have the right to remain silent and ask for an attorney to be present during any further questioning.
If you have not been drinking, it will be unlikely that any test for alcohol will show that you were over the legal limit. There are a small number of cases in which a medication or medical condition could imitate the presence of alcohol in your breath, but this should not be present in a blood sample.
Testing for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Florida involves taking a urine sample and testing it for the presence of the substance, which is the active ingredient in cannabis. Test results take longer than those for alcohol, possibly up to a month or two. Unlike blood alcohol concentration tests these urine tests basically only show that THC was present, but without the ability to measure the amount and when it entered the body. In other words, if you were in the presence of other people who were actively exhaling smoke containing cannabis residue, it is theoretically possible for an amount to be inhaled and show up in a THC test. Note that much more precise tests for THC concentration are available to other state jurisdictions and it is feasible that these tests may be introduced in Florida in the future
Proving that you were driving under the influence of cannabis is not easy
It is generally more difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a driver was stoned, i.e. affected by the drug in cannabis, when driving. Subjective measures are commonly used to backup allegations of DWS. Officers may relate observations about you that they made, such as slurred speech, blood shot eyes and dilated pupils as well as record negative observations made during a sobriety test if you consented to this (it is not compulsory).
An experienced criminal defense attorney has plenty of ammunition available if you are charged with DWS as sobriety tests, subjective observations and an ineffectual TCH urine test can be successfully challenged. This isn’t carte blanche to smoke a joint or drive while high. Driving while stoned is illegal because it is dangerous to you, any passengers you have in your vehicle and other road users. However, you have the right to be aggressively defended if you have been charged for an offense which you have not committed or when the evidence is insufficient to prove youwere breaking the law. If arrested for DWS in or around Miami, contact the Law Firm of Albert Quirantes Esq. at 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.