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Does failing a drug test mean you're guilty of a Florida DUI?

The rise of the police procedural show has impacted the way people think about crimes and criminal justice. They may confuse what they see on television shows for real life.

When it comes to the criminal justice system, people tend to put an inordinate amount of faith in chemical testing. There seems to be a general belief among the public that roadside sobriety testing and chemical breath tests are infallible, for example.

People seem to have a similar attitude toward drug tests. Unless an individual can demonstrate that they had a different substance in their system that caused a false positive or can prove some kind of contamination occurred, people tend to believe that drug tests are infallible. That could cause many issues for those facing allegations of drugged driving in Florida.

Driving under the influence doesn't just refer to drinking

Driving under the influence in Florida includes impairment by any controlled substance. Law enforcement can perform chemical testing for drugs as well as alcohol after a traffic-related arrest.

Therefore, many people might immediately assume that if you fail a drug test after a DUI arrest, you must be guilty of drugged driving. However, the truth is far less black and white.

Certain drugs stay in the system longer than others

The body processes different chemical compounds in different ways. Certain drugs are water soluble and leave the human body in a matter of hours or a few days. Other drugs are fat soluble and they remain present in the human body for weeks or even months after use.

Many hard drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, will generally be out of a user's system within a day or two. Even then, it could be possible to fail a drug test and not be actively under the influence of the compound anymore.

Marijuana users face particularly high risks for inaccurate testing results. Heavy and regular users, such as medical marijuana patients, could test positive for 90 days or more after the last time they used marijuana. In other words, simply because someone failed the drug test doesn't mean that they were under the influence of drugs at the time that they drove.

You can defend against drugged driving charges

Florida laws take driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs quite seriously. Law enforcement is quick to arrest those who seem impaired. The courts will hand out serious criminal consequences even for first-time offenders. The good news is that those accused of impaired driving related to drugs may be able to mount a successful defense.

The first step toward fighting drug-related DUI charges in Florida is to sit down with an attorney who is familiar with criminal law. Once you have reviewed your situation with the lawyer, you can make a more informed decision about what to do next.

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