Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

It Is Illegal To Drive Under The Influence Of Cannabis, But How Do You Prove It?


State laws about cannabis interact with each other in ways that make it possible to face charges for cannabis crimes even when your mere possession of the marijuana or edibles is not a violation of the law.  For example, you can get charges for DUI if you drive under the influence of cannabis, even if you bought or grew the cannabis legally, and even if you did not consume alcohol before driving.  If you are facing criminal charges for driving under the influence of cannabis, contact a West Palm Beach drug offenses lawyer.

Florida DUI Laws and the Legal Ambiguities of Cannabis

To the greatest extent possible, Florida law treats driving under the influence of cannabis in the same way as driving under the influence of alcohol.  If you drive after consuming alcohol or cannabis, you can be charged with DUI, and the penalties for a conviction can include fines, driver’s license suspension, probation, jail time, or some combination thereof.  The severity of the penalties depends on whether you have any previous DUI convictions and, if so, how many.  Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal even if you have a medical cannabis card or the traffic stop occurs in one of the cities or counties that have decriminalized cannabis possession.

Toward a Marijuana Breathalyzer

One key difference between DUI cases involving cannabis and those involving alcohol is the role of blood alcohol concentration (BAC).  The penalties for DUI are more severe if your BAC is more than double the legal limit, compared to when it is just a little bit higher than the legal limit.  Although defendants in alcohol-related DUI cases sometimes dispute the results of breathalyzer tests and blood tests measuring their BAC, these tests are usually accurate.

As of October 2022, no commercially available test exists to measure the concentration of cannabis in a driver’s bloodstream.  Testing of urine and hair can only tell whether the person has used cannabis within the past few weeks; these tests do not show whether you are currently under the influence.  Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles are currently working on a breathalyzer test for cannabis, but currently it requires a large machine.  Therefore, it is impractical for field testing.  They hope to develop it to where it can be used in hand-held breathalyzer devices and ignition interlock devices.  Currently, your best hope if you are accused of driving under the influence of marijuana is to hire a criminal defense lawyer.

Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Attorney William Wallshein has more than 38 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County.  Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.




Facebook Twitter LinkedIn