Even with the rise of Uber and other ride sharing services, driving under the influence is still one of the most common criminal charges in the state of Florida. Unfortunately, our State’s public transportation system is nearly non-existent, and driving is such a ubiquitous part of our lives. This combination of factors unfortunately makes DUI and other traffic criminal offenses some of the more common charges that people face. DUI is also a crime that does not discriminate. People from all backgrounds and professions face DUI charges each year, and every once in a while, you may even catch a news story about a judge who is arrested for DUI. If you find yourself facing DUI charges, do not hesitate to contact an experienced St. Petersburg DUI defense lawyer immediately.
When most people think of DUI, they immediately associate it with alcohol or drunken driving. The actual criminal charge is a bit more nuanced than that. DUI in Florida is defined as driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or a chemical or controlled substance to the point your normal faculties are impaired. Often overlooked is the fact that you can be charged and convicted of DUI even if you did not have a drop of alcohol in your system.Elements of Drug DUIs
We often see clients who come to our office charged with a DUI protesting that they did not have anything to drink prior to their arrest. Many times, our client’s claims turn out to be true, but that does not necessarily mean that a DUI arrest was not warranted. While alcohol is an obviously impairing substance, the lawmakers in Florida have also made sure to outlaw driving under other impairing substances.
After conducting a DUI investigation and making an arrest, officers are permitted to ask you to provide a sample of either your breath or urine. If they believe that you are under the influence of alcohol based on the evidence they collect, they will request a breath sample. If they believe you are under the influence of a controlled substance, they will request a urine sample instead. For example, if an officer smells the odor of cannabis and notices that the driver of a vehicle appears to be under the influence of marijuana, they may ask for a urine sample to determine whether the driver is actually under the influence of the controlled substance.
You can be charged with a drug DUI even if the substance in your system is not an illegal drug. Doctors often prescribe medications that can have even more serious impairing effects than alcohol. Because the pharmaceutical industry has aggressively pushed opioids, many people have fallen victim to addiction to drugs like oxycodone and xanax. Those types of drugs can have a serious effect on one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, because these drugs are legal, people often don’t realize that they can end up arrested for DUI after driving under the influence of such substances. If you find yourself faced with such a DUI charge, you should contact a dedicated St. Petersburg DUI defense lawyer immediately.
Luckily there are several defenses available to those who are charged with drug related DUIs. With alcohol related DUIs, there is an almost strict liability. If you have a breath or blood alcohol level of .08 or above, you are presumed guilty of DUI and your case becomes extremely difficult to fight. With drug related DUIs, even if you provide a blood or urine sample that is positive for a controlled substance, it can be difficult for the state to prove whether that substance was actually causing you to be impaired. The observations of impairment made by officers such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and difficulty performing field sobriety exercises can often be defended with non-criminal explanations.Speak to a Skilled DUI Lawyer Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law have defended a myriad of DUI cases from arrest all the way to trial. We know how to best handle your case. Call us today at 727.897.5413