While most people typically associate driving under the influence (DUI) with alcohol, it is equally illegal to drive while high on drugs. Controlled substances can have a major effect on a person’s ability to drive, which is why law enforcement take these charges so seriously. Still, these charges are often levied against defendants who should not be accused of this offense. Driving under the influence of drugs may result in serious penalties and requires a strong defense to protect your rights.
If you are charged with this crime, let a qualified Ft. Lauderdale drug DUI lawyer represent you. Your freedoms and privilege to drive are at risk without a proper defense attorney.
Types of Illegal Narcotics and Prescription Drugs Seen in DUI Charges
When a person ingests an illegal drug, they can face DUI charges if they also get behind the wheel. Coupled with potential controlled substance charges, a drug DUI can carry very stiff penalties. Illegal substances which commonly lead to DUI drug charges may include, but are not limited to:
- Cocaine or crack
- Heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil
Prescription drugs could also potentially lead to a DUI charge. Although they are legal, driving while intoxicated by their effects is still illegal. This is true whether the drug is taken as prescribed by a doctor or if a person is abusing them. Prescription drugs such as OxyContin or Vicodin may have an intoxicating effect, and typically prohibit a user from driving. A lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale could help someone charged with a drug DUI prepare a defense depending on the type of controlled substance they were accused of using.
Testing for Drugs in DUI Cases
When a person is under the influence of an intoxicating substance, and they operate a motor vehicle, their normal faculties may be impaired. Florida Statute §316.193 defines these normal faculties as the person’s ability to see, hear, talk, walk, judge distances, and make judgments. It can also affect their ability to perform mental or physical tasks.
While a breath test is a commonly utilized tool to check a person’s blood alcohol concentration, a breath test is not useful to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system. Instead, officers will first rely on their observations and the use of field sobriety tests, such as:
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test
- The walk and turn test
- The one leg stand test
These tests may help the officer look for clues to whether a defendant is under the influence of an intoxicating drug.
After using these field sobriety tests, an officer may take a urine or blood sample to help determine if the defendant is under the influence of drugs. These kinds of tests can still be inaccurate and may be challenged in court. A Ft. Lauderdale attorney could help someone facing a drug DUI challenge the results of these tests.
Contact a Ft. Lauderdale Drug DUI Attorney
DUI drug charges are extremely serious and must be adequately defended. Penalties for these offenses can be detrimental to your life, your ability to drive, and your freedoms. To defend your rights, speak to an experienced Ft. Lauderdale drug DUI lawyer right away. Our team is ready to assist in you throughout your case.