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Drugged driving is illegal in Florida, even on legal drugs

When people think about impaired driving, they usually think about alcohol as the impairing substance. This isn't the only substance that can lead to a driver being too intoxicated to drive. Drugs, including marijuana, prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs, can also lead to a person being unable to operate a motor vehicle.

Florida laws stand firm on the topic of impaired driving, regardless of the cause. You can face a criminal charge for driving under the influence of these drugs. This means you are facing a driver's license suspension, time in jail and fines.

What drugs can lead to a DUI?

Any drug that changes the way the brain functions can lead to a DUI. This can be over-the-counter medications like diphenhydramine, prescription drugs like narcotics or illegal substances like marijuana. Medications will usually have a warning label on them that notes that operating heavy machinery isn't advisable when taking the drug.

In some cases, the warning includes the facts that the medication might make the user dizzy or drowsy. Typically, drivers shouldn't operate a vehicle when they first take a medication, and then any medications that make them dizzy or drowsy, as well as those that slow the reaction time, should be avoided.

How do officers spot suspected drugged drivers?

The signs of drugged driving are largely the same as those for drunk driving. A police officer only needs reasonable suspicion to pull a vehicle over for suspicion of drugged driving. They will look for things like weaving in and out of traffic lanes, driving erratically, traveling too fast or slow for current conditions and failing to turn on the headlights at night. When they see these signs, they can pull the vehicle over to find out what's going on. If it is determined that the driver is intoxicated, they will be arrested.

If you are arrested for a drugged driving charge, you must remember your rights. You do have the right to have an attorney present when you are questioned, and you have the right to remain silent. These should be provided when you're read your Miranda rights upon arrest.

Take the time to let your attorney know everything that happened when you were arrested so any applicable point can be included in your defense strategy. Starting to work on this as soon as you find out about the charge can help you to avoid rushing to develop the strategy.

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