fbpx

Marijuana DUI in Florida: Building a Strong Defense




Understanding Marijuana DUI Laws in Florida

Marijuana DUI laws in Florida are stringent and can have severe consequences. Understanding these laws is crucial for building a strong defense. Florida law prohibits driving under the influence of marijuana, and the penalties can include fines, license suspension, and even jail time.

Under Florida Statute 316.193, driving under the influence of any controlled substance, including marijuana, is illegal. The statute defines DUI as operating a vehicle while your normal faculties are impaired due to the influence of drugs or alcohol. This means that even if you have a medical marijuana card, you can still be charged with a DUI if law enforcement believes you are impaired while driving.

The consequences of a marijuana DUI conviction in Florida can be severe and may include:

  • Fines: Monetary penalties that can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the severity of the offense and prior convictions.
  • License Suspension: Your driver’s license can be suspended for a period ranging from six months to several years, depending on the circumstances of your case.
  • Jail Time: Incarceration periods can vary, with first-time offenders potentially facing up to six months in jail, while repeat offenders may face longer sentences.
  • Probation: You may be placed on probation, which can include mandatory drug testing, community service, and attendance at DUI education programs.

Unlike alcohol, there is no specific legal limit for marijuana impairment in Florida. This makes it challenging to determine impairment levels, and law enforcement often relies on field sobriety tests and officer observations to make an arrest.

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a common tool used by law enforcement to assess impairment. These tests include:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): Observing the eyes for involuntary jerking as they follow a moving object.
  • Walk-and-Turn (WAT): Asking the driver to walk in a straight line, turn, and walk back while maintaining balance.
  • One-Leg Stand (OLS): Instructing the driver to stand on one leg while counting aloud.

However, these tests are not foolproof and can be influenced by factors such as medical conditions, fatigue, or even anxiety. Additionally, officer observations can be subjective and may not accurately reflect impairment due to marijuana use.

What is the legal limit for marijuana impairment in Florida? Unlike alcohol, there is no specific legal limit for marijuana impairment in Florida, making it challenging to determine impairment levels.

Given the complexities involved in determining marijuana impairment, it is essential to have a skilled attorney who can challenge the evidence and build a strong defense. For more information on how field sobriety tests are used in DUI drug cases, visit our article on challenging field sobriety tests in drug DUIs.


Common Defenses Against Marijuana DUI Charges

There are several defenses that can be employed to challenge marijuana DUI charges. These defenses can range from questioning the legality of the traffic stop to disputing the accuracy of drug tests.

Challenging the Traffic Stop

One of the most effective defenses is to challenge the legality of the traffic stop. If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, any evidence obtained during the stop could be deemed inadmissible in court.

Flashing Police Light

For a traffic stop to be lawful, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation or crime has occurred. This could be something as minor as a broken taillight or as significant as erratic driving. However, if the stop was based on an officer’s hunch without any concrete evidence, it could be considered unlawful.

What constitutes a legal traffic stop in Florida? A legal traffic stop requires reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation or crime has occurred.

When challenging the traffic stop, your attorney will scrutinize the details of the stop, including the officer’s observations and the reasons provided for the stop. If it can be demonstrated that the stop was not based on reasonable suspicion, the evidence obtained during the stop, such as the results of field sobriety tests or drug tests, may be excluded from the case.

In some cases, the officer may have relied on faulty observations or misinterpreted the situation. For example, an officer might mistake a driver’s medical condition for signs of impairment. If you believe that the traffic stop was unjustified, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney who can challenge the officer’s reasoning and potentially have the evidence dismissed.

Scrutinizing Officer Observations and Procedures

Another common defense is to scrutinize the officer’s observations and procedures during the traffic stop and subsequent arrest. Law enforcement officers are trained to look for specific signs of impairment, such as bloodshot eyes, the smell of marijuana, or slurred speech. However, these signs can be caused by factors other than drug use.

For instance, bloodshot eyes can result from allergies, fatigue, or exposure to smoke, while slurred speech could be due to a medical condition or nervousness. Your attorney can cross-examine the officer and present alternative explanations for these signs, casting doubt on the prosecution’s claims of impairment.

Additionally, officers must follow strict protocols when conducting field sobriety tests and drug evaluations. Any deviation from these protocols can be used to challenge the validity of the evidence. For example, if the officer did not properly administer the field sobriety tests or failed to follow the correct procedures for collecting and handling evidence, your attorney can argue that the evidence is unreliable.

Disputing the Accuracy of Drug Tests

The accuracy of drug tests used to detect marijuana can be questioned. Factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error can lead to inaccurate results. An experienced attorney can scrutinize these aspects to challenge the validity of the test results.

Drug tests commonly used in DUI cases include blood tests, urine tests, and saliva tests. Each type of test has its own set of protocols and potential pitfalls. For example, blood tests must be conducted in a sterile environment to avoid contamination.

How reliable are drug tests in DUI cases? Drug tests can be unreliable due to factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error.

Another issue with drug tests is that they can detect the presence of marijuana long after its effects have worn off. Unlike alcohol, which is metabolized relatively quickly, marijuana can remain in the bloodstream for days or even weeks. This means that a positive test result does not necessarily indicate impairment at the time of driving.

For more information on how drug tests are used in DUI cases and the potential issues with their accuracy, visit our article on drug testing in DUI cases.

Given the complexities involved in marijuana DUI cases, it is essential to have a skilled attorney who can challenge the evidence and build a strong defense. By questioning the legality of the traffic stop, scrutinizing officer observations and procedures, and disputing the accuracy of drug tests, your attorney can help to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.


Questioning Drug Test Accuracy

The accuracy of drug tests used to detect marijuana can be questioned. Factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error can lead to inaccurate results. An experienced attorney can scrutinize these aspects to challenge the validity of the test results.

Types of Drug Tests

Drug tests commonly used in DUI cases include blood tests, urine tests, and saliva tests. Each type of test has its own set of protocols and potential pitfalls. For example, blood tests must be conducted in a sterile environment to avoid contamination.

Understanding the different types of drug tests and their potential weaknesses is crucial for building a strong defense. Here are the most common types of drug tests used in DUI cases:

  • Blood Tests: These tests are considered highly accurate but can be compromised by improper handling and storage. Blood tests measure the active presence of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. However, THC levels can vary significantly based on individual metabolism and the time elapsed since consumption.
  • Urine Tests: Urine tests are less invasive but less reliable. They detect metabolites, which are byproducts of THC, rather than the active drug itself. This means a urine test can show positive results long after the effects of marijuana have worn off. For more insights into the implications of urine tests, check out our detailed article on urine tests in DUI arrests.
  • Saliva Tests: These tests are gaining popularity due to their non-invasive nature and quick results. However, saliva tests can be affected by recent use of mouthwash, food, and even the time of day. Their accuracy is still under scrutiny, making them a point of contention in many DUI cases.

How reliable are drug tests in DUI cases? Drug tests can be unreliable due to factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error.

Challenging Calibration and Maintenance

Drug testing equipment must be properly calibrated and maintained to ensure accurate results. Any deviation from the manufacturer’s guidelines can lead to false positives or inaccurate readings. For instance, a blood test machine that hasn’t been calibrated correctly might show higher levels of THC than are actually present in the blood.

Calibration records and maintenance logs are often critical pieces of evidence in challenging drug test accuracy. Your attorney can request these records to determine if the testing equipment was functioning correctly at the time of your test. If there are any discrepancies, this can be used to question the reliability of the test results.

Additionally, the chain of custody for the blood sample must be meticulously documented. Any breaks in the chain of custody can lead to questions about the integrity of the sample. For more information on how calibration and maintenance affect DUI cases, visit our page on calibration and maintenance issues.

Operator Error and Procedural Mistakes

Operator error is another critical factor that can affect the accuracy of drug tests. Even the most sophisticated equipment can yield unreliable results if not operated correctly. Law enforcement officers must follow strict protocols when administering drug tests, and any deviation from these protocols can compromise the results.

For example, if a blood sample is not stored at the correct temperature or is exposed to contaminants, the results can be skewed. Similarly, if the officer administering a saliva test does not follow the proper procedures, the test results may not be valid. Your attorney can examine the procedures followed during your test to identify any potential errors.

Procedural mistakes are not uncommon in DUI cases. Officers may rush through the process or fail to adhere to the required guidelines, leading to inaccurate test results. By scrutinizing the procedures followed during your test, your attorney can build a strong case to challenge the validity of the evidence against you.

Presenting Alternative Explanations

Another effective strategy is to present alternative explanations for the test results. For instance, if you tested positive for marijuana, your attorney could argue that the positive result was due to secondhand smoke exposure or the consumption of a legal CBD product. These explanations can create reasonable doubt about the prosecution’s claims of impairment.

Medical conditions can also play a role in explaining positive test results. Certain medications and medical conditions can produce false positives in drug tests. By presenting medical evidence, your attorney can challenge the prosecution’s case and demonstrate that the test results do not accurately reflect impairment.

For more information on how medical evidence can be used in your defense, visit our page on the importance of expert witnesses in DUI drug cases. Expert testimony can be invaluable in explaining the nuances of drug metabolism and the potential for false positives.

What are the potential pitfalls of drug tests? Drug tests can be affected by factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, operator error, and external contaminants.

Given the complexities involved in questioning drug test accuracy, it is essential to have a skilled attorney who can navigate these challenges. By scrutinizing the calibration and maintenance of testing equipment, identifying operator errors, and presenting alternative explanations, your attorney can build a robust defense to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.



Using Medical Evidence in Your Defense

Medical evidence can play a pivotal role in defending against marijuana DUI charges. If you have a valid medical marijuana card, your attorney can present this as evidence that you were using marijuana legally. This is especially important in Florida, where medical marijuana is legal under state law but can still lead to DUI charges if law enforcement believes you were impaired while driving.

Expert Testimony

A medical expert can testify about the effects of marijuana and how it affects individuals differently. This testimony can help to counter the prosecution’s claims that you were impaired while driving. For instance, an expert might explain that THC levels in the blood do not necessarily correlate with impairment, as marijuana can remain in the bloodstream long after its effects have worn off.

Expert testimony can be particularly effective in challenging the prosecution’s reliance on drug tests. As discussed in our section on challenging drug test results, these tests are not infallible and can produce false positives. An expert witness can explain the limitations of these tests and provide alternative explanations for the results.

What is the role of expert testimony in a marijuana DUI case? Expert testimony can provide insights into how marijuana affects individuals differently and challenge the prosecution’s claims of impairment.

Medical Conditions and Prescription Medications

Another critical aspect of using medical evidence in your defense is demonstrating how medical conditions and prescription medications can affect drug test results. For example, certain medications can produce false positives for THC. By presenting medical records and expert testimony, your attorney can argue that the positive test result was due to a legitimate medical condition or prescription medication.

Medical conditions can also explain symptoms that law enforcement might interpret as signs of impairment. For instance, fatigue, anxiety, and other symptoms can mimic the effects of marijuana use. By providing medical evidence, your attorney can challenge the officer’s observations and argue that your behavior was due to a medical condition rather than impairment.

For more information on how medical conditions can impact DUI cases, visit our page on how officers often mistake medical issues for signs of impairment. Understanding these nuances can be crucial for building a strong defense.

In Florida, medical marijuana is legal for individuals with qualifying conditions. If you have a valid medical marijuana card, it is essential to document your legal use of marijuana. This documentation can include your medical marijuana card, prescription records, and any other relevant medical records.

Your attorney can present this documentation as evidence that you were using marijuana legally and under the supervision of a healthcare provider. This can help to counter the prosecution’s claims that you were using marijuana illegally or irresponsibly. Additionally, documenting your legal marijuana use can demonstrate that you were following the guidelines set by your healthcare provider and the state of Florida.

For more details on defending against marijuana DUI charges, check out our guide on effective defense tactics for Florida marijuana DUIs. These strategies can be instrumental in building a robust defense.

Can a medical marijuana card help in a DUI case? Yes, a valid medical marijuana card can be used as evidence that you were using marijuana legally under state law.

Challenging Officer Observations

Officer observations are often a key component of the prosecution’s case in a marijuana DUI. However, these observations can be subjective and influenced by various factors. For example, an officer might interpret nervousness or fatigue as signs of impairment, even if they are due to a medical condition or other non-impairing factors.

An experienced attorney can challenge these observations by presenting medical evidence and expert testimony. For instance, if you have a medical condition that causes symptoms similar to impairment, your attorney can argue that the officer misinterpreted these symptoms. Additionally, by questioning the officer’s training and experience in identifying marijuana impairment, your attorney can cast doubt on the reliability of their observations.

For more insights into how officer observations can be challenged, visit our page on challenging police testimony in DUI drug cases. This can be a crucial aspect of your defense strategy.

The Importance of a Comprehensive Defense

Building a strong defense against marijuana DUI charges requires a comprehensive approach that includes challenging the prosecution’s evidence, presenting medical evidence, and questioning officer observations. By working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure that every aspect of your case is thoroughly examined and that your rights are protected.

At Leppard Law, we understand the complexities of marijuana DUI cases and are committed to providing personalized and effective legal representation. Our team has the expertise and resources to build a robust defense and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. If you are facing marijuana DUI charges in Florida, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a consultation.

For more information on defending against DUI charges, visit our main page on DUI Drug Defense. Our comprehensive guide provides valuable insights and strategies for building a strong defense.

Why is a comprehensive defense important in a marijuana DUI case? A comprehensive defense ensures that every aspect of the case is thoroughly examined, from challenging evidence to presenting medical documentation, to protect your rights and achieve the best outcome.

By leveraging medical evidence, expert testimony, and a thorough understanding of Florida’s marijuana DUI laws, you can build a strong defense and protect your future. If you have any questions or need legal assistance, contact Leppard Law at 407-476-4111 or visit our contact page to schedule a consultation.


Infographic depicting the words Marijuana DUI in Florida: Building a Strong Defense


What happens if you get a DUI for marijuana in Florida?

If you get a DUI for marijuana in Florida, you can face severe penalties including fines, license suspension, and possible jail time. The specific consequences depend on various factors, such as prior offenses and the circumstances of the arrest. It’s crucial to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately to explore your defense options.

Can you be charged with a DUI for medical marijuana in Florida?

Yes, you can be charged with a DUI for medical marijuana in Florida. Even if you have a valid medical marijuana card, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. However, medical evidence and expert testimony can be used in your defense to show that you were not impaired at the time of driving.

How can I challenge a marijuana DUI charge in Florida?

To challenge a marijuana DUI charge in Florida, you can question the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of drug tests, and the officer’s observations. An experienced DUI attorney can scrutinize these aspects and present medical evidence or expert testimony to build a strong defense. For more detailed strategies, visit our guide on effective defense tactics for Florida marijuana DUIs.

What types of drug tests are used in marijuana DUI cases?

In marijuana DUI cases, law enforcement commonly uses blood tests, urine tests, and saliva tests to detect the presence of THC. Each type of test has its protocols and potential pitfalls. For instance, blood tests must be conducted in a sterile environment to avoid contamination. Learn more about the role of urine tests in Florida DUI arrests.


Explore additional practice areas and related pages that we serve:

Florida DUI Drug Defense Guide Urine Tests in DUI Arrests
DREs in Drug DUIs Expert Witnesses in DUI Drug Cases
Defending Adderall DUIs Marijuana DUI Defense Tactics
Excluding Drug Evidence in DUIs Challenging Police Testimony
FSTs in DUI Drug Cases DRE Evaluations in DUI Prosecutions
Drug Testing in DUI Cases Prescription Drugs and DUIs
Challenging Drug Test Results Drugs and DUI Consequences
DUI Drug Cases vs Alcohol DUIs Defending Ketamine DUIs

Top-Rated DUI Lawyers Serving Florida

Looking for the best DUI lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your DUI charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in Florida combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every DUI case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At the forefront of our DUI practice is a deep-seated commitment to client satisfaction. Each case is handled with utmost care, as echoed in the appreciative feedback from those we represent. Stellar reviews are what make us one consistently one of Central Florida’s top-rated DUI law firms. This are just a portion of of our hundreds of 5 star reviews on Facebook, Google Thumbtack Yelp and more. You can read more 5 star reviews here: https://leppardlaw.com/reviews/








Take the First Step Towards Your Defense

At Leppard Law, we understand the stress and uncertainty that come with a Marijuana DUI charge. Our team is dedicated to treating you like family, always putting your best interests first, and fighting for the best possible outcome. We have been recognized for our commitment to excellence and client satisfaction, which is why we have been named among the best in various legal categories.

Don’t just take our word for it:

  • Highlighted among the “Top Personal Injury Attorneys near Sanford, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Listed among the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Sanford” from 2016-2023 by Expertise
  • Named as one of “Top Personal Injury Lawyers in Orlando, FL” 2023 (Expertise)
  • Ranked among the “Top 10 Best DUI Law Near Orlando, Florida” by Yelp
  • Selected as “Top 10 Traffic Attorneys near Winter Garden, FL” by Thumbtack

But awards and recognition only tell part of the story. The real difference is in how we treat our clients. We believe in personal relationships, clear communication, and a dedicated approach to every case. Our team, led by experienced attorneys like Joel Leppard, leverages insider knowledge and cutting-edge technology to provide a robust defense.

Experience it for yourself:

If you or a loved one have been charged with a Marijuana DUI or any other criminal offense, don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. One call to our top-rated criminal defense attorneys can make all the difference. Let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.

Call Leppard Law: DUI Lawyers at 407-476-4111

Your defense starts here. We’re ready to fight for you.

Trusted Content


Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Experienced Florida DUI Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your DUI case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton