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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Driving While High In Florida

Driving While High In Florida


The overwhelming majority of people know that driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime in Florida, punishable by jail time, fines, and a host of other consequences. However, as the position of marijuana and certain other drugs evolve in our society, sometimes people forget that just because something is legal does not necessarily mean it is safe. Accidents that occur due to drivers operating vehicles under the influence of drugs are on the rise, and if you are involved in one, you may face not only a distracted driving charge, but charges for any drugs you may have on your person or in your vehicle.

Different Attitudes

Statistics from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) show that in 2016, almost half of fatally injured drivers (who had known toxicology results) tested positive for some form of drugs – the most commonly seen being marijuana, different types of opiates, or a mix of both. In the preceding decade, the percentage of fatally injured drivers with known results who tested for drugs rose 16 percent.

Part of this may have to do with the lack of long-term messaging around drugged driving versus the continued push against driving drunk. In general, the attitude around some drugs is much more lax than it perhaps should be – for example, marijuana has medical uses and has been shown to pose less of a health threat than was previously thought in decades past, but this should not be taken as a reason to not treat it with the caution it requires. If you take the risk of driving high, the fallout can be just as dangerous as driving when you have had too much to drink, and it will be punished accordingly if you are convicted.

Additional Drug Charges

If you are involved in an accident while under the influence of drugs, you may obviously be charged with drugged driving if you are believed to have caused the accident. However, what many do not understand is that if you are found with any evidence of drugs in your vehicle or on your person, you will almost certainly be charged with drug possession or trafficking as well (depending on the type of drug, the amount in question, and the specific circumstances of your case). Due to its past history as a cartel battleground, and as a haven for “pill mills,” Florida takes drug offenses very seriously, and the sentences are often severe.

Drug possession charges tend to revolve around whether or not you had control of the substance in question, and for better or worse, being found on your person or in your vehicle are two of the easiest ways that a prosecutor can argue you had control. Comparatively, the crime of drug trafficking does not actually require any intent to traffick – rather, if you are stopped with enough of a certain substance, intent will be presumed because (at least in theory) no reasonable person would keep such a large amount of a drug solely for their own personal use.

Call A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney

Florida prosecutors take drug crimes very seriously, and driving under the influence is seen as a particularly serious crime in its own right because of how easily it can be avoided. If you have been charged with drugged driving or any other drug offense, calling a West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney at the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can be the first step toward getting those charges resolved. Contact our offices today to speak to an attorney.



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