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Medical marijuana and driving

Florida is a state that recognizes medical marijuana is a necessity for some patients. However, it still criminalizes driving while under the influence of marijuana in some instances. According to the law, a person is guilty of a DUI in Florida when he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair his or her abilities. For example, if a person's sight, hearing, speech or ability to make judgments are impaired, then he or she may be accused of a DUI.

Medical marijuana can place you in a difficult situation when it comes to driving, particularly if you must drive for work, school or other activities. It's up to you to make sure you're no longer influenced by the intoxicating effects of marijuana before you get behind the wheel.

What happens if you're accused of impairment when you're not impaired by medical marijuana?

There are sure to be cases where drivers face accusations of driving while impaired despite showing few outward signs of impairment. Making mistakes, like running a red light or stop sign, swerving in lane or even falling asleep behind the wheel are all serious but not necessarily a sign of impairment through the use of medical marijuana. It's essential that the prosecution and court considers all possibilities before accusing you of a drug crime. If you use medical marijuana regularly, having a history of safe driving may help you show that it was another factor that caused the appearance of impairment.

What penalties do you face for drugged driving?

Drugged driving may lead to fines of up to $1,000 and jail for up to six months on a first offense. You may have your license suspended for up to a year and must perform community service or buy out the house. It's also normal to have a vehicle impounded for at least 10 days. That's all for a first offense, and the penalties get more significant from there.

Take, for example, a third offense. With fines of up to $5,000 and a jail term of up to a year, a conviction could significantly alter your life. You would face mandatory probation for a year, a license suspension for up to a year and vehicle impoundment. Mandatory ignition interlock devices are also part of a sentence when it's a second or subsequent violation.

These are a few things to keep in mind about driving while using medical marijuana. Stay safe and avoid driving while impaired.

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