According to the Vehicle Code 23152, it is illegal not only to operate a vehicle after drinking alcohol, but it is illegal to operate a vehicle after taking drugs. Similar to alcohol, drugs can effect a person's judgment, ability to make decisions, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. This does not only refer to controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, but to legal medications as well. Some over-the-counter medication can cause drowsiness as can prescription drugs.
What makes these cases harder to prove relates to testing. For alcohol, there are standardized field sobriety tests, breath tests, and blood tests. There is also a legal limit set at 0.08% of alcohol in the bloodstream. For drugs, however, there is no set limit and it is more difficult to prove.
Did you know that all U.S. states have some type of "per se" DUID laws? This means that if a driver is pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, the driver will be presumed to be impaired if any quantity of controlled substance is detected in their body. Unfortunately for many drivers, it is possible for trace amounts of drugs to stay in a person's system (showing up in places like blood samples) for days or even weeks in some cases. Examining blood samples next to saliva samples may be a good way to prove definitely whether or not the driver was driving under the influence of drugs, however, saliva tests are not commonly used in the state of Florida when testing for intoxication.
Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that as much as 16 percent of nighttime weekend drivers were driving under the influence of some type of drug, making drugged driving a priority for law enforcement officers in Tampa and throughout the rest of Florida. Offenses of DUI with drugs are punished just as severely as driving under the influence of alcohol. You may also be facing additional charges if you were arrested for DUID such as drug possession or possession of drugs without the proper prescription. A conviction is serious, therefore, you need an aggressive advocate in your corner.
If you did not realize that your medication caused drowsiness or lack or alertness, or know you have made a mistake, talk to the legal team at Taracks & Associates. A Tampa DUI attorney from our top-rated firm could review every aspect of your case while ensuring that your best interests are protected throughout the entire legal process. To learn more, contact a Tampa DUID lawyer from our team of professionals for a free consultation.