If you’re a supporter of medical marijuana or marijuana for recreational use, or both, you’ve probably heard how some states have decriminalized marijuana possession for personal use. Colorado, Nevada, California, and Oregon for example, have made it legal for adults to possess a small amount of marijuana for recreational purposes. Medical marijuana is also widely accepted in these states.
Here in Florida, there is still much debate about marijuana legalization. As of this writing, possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or up to one year behind bars, or by a fine and imprisonment.
Now, if you were to possess one ounce or less of cannabis in Colorado, there would be no penalty because it’s perfectly legal. You don’t face misdemeanor prosecution in Colorado until you possess two to six ounces of marijuana. Only then is the offense punishable by up to 12 months in jail and by a maximum fine of $700. Surely, many Floridians wish that our state would follow in Colorado’s footsteps and loosen our marijuana legislation. So, what are states’ views on driving under the influence of marijuana?
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Even in marijuana-friendly states, such as Colorado and California, driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana is still illegal. In Florida, driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal street drugs, marijuana and lawfully prescribed medications are covered under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes.
Under Sec. 316.193(1)(a), a person is guilty of driving under the influence when he or she is driving or “in actual physical control” of a vehicle and they are under the influence of alcohol, any controlled substance, or any chemical substance, “when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”
In other words, driving under the influence of marijuana is covered under Sec. 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, and it can lead to a DUI. In order to be convicted of a drug-related DUI (for cannabis), the state would have to prove that your “normal faculties” were impaired by marijuana.
If you are found guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana, you would face the same penalties as an alcohol-related DUI, which include:
- Up to a $1,000 fine
- Community service
- DUI probation
- DUI School
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Up to one year license revocation
If you’re facing alcohol or drug-related DUI charges in Miami-Dade County, I urge you to contact my firm for a free case evaluation. To learn why I’m qualified to defend you, check out my Attorney Profile.