Florida DUI Not Confined to Alcohol

/, juvenile defense law/Florida DUI Not Confined to Alcohol

Florida DUI Not Confined to Alcohol

By |2018-08-01T18:51:04+00:00August 1st, 2018|criminal defense law, juvenile defense law|Comments Off on Florida DUI Not Confined to Alcohol

According to a recently released police report regarding a horrible tragedy in Delray Beach on April 28 in which four tourists from Mexico and Argentina were killed by a 21-year-old driver, the driver was under the influence of a mind-altering substance at the time of the crash.  The accident occurred when the driver crashed his pickup into a minivan carrying the four family members, who were visiting South Florida for a family reunion, at a speed in excess of 100 mph.  The driver had hit speeds as high as 107 mph before the crash occurred, and witnesses interviewed by police told them that the driver’s pickup truck was going so fast before impact that it briefly went airborne.  The ultimate collision occurred with such force that the pickup completely smashed in the minivan’s rear passenger compartment.  The two vehicles, wedged together in a crumpled heap, slid along for nearly 250 feet before finally coming to rest after the collision.  The four tourists were killed on impact.

The 21-year-old driver’s attorney had previously insisted that this acceleration was unintended and could be a result of a defect with his vehicle. However, the police report disclosed that a blood test taken at the scene revealed that the driver had an ingredient in his blood system that is commonly present in the systems of those who have been huffing aerosol products in an attempt to get high.  The police also found two receipts inside the driver’s Chevy Silverado pickup truck for the purchase of two cans of an aerosol used to clean computers, which is known to be used by those seeking to get a high by huffing, purchased four hours prior to the accident.  The pickup’s driver is facing 11 criminal charges in total stemming from the accident, including four counts each of vehicular manslaughter and four counts of DUI manslaughter.

Driving under the Influence in Florida: Not Just Alcohol, but Drugs and Mind-Altering Substances as Well

Although a common misconception, a motorist cannot be simply arrested for driving drunk in Florida.  Driving under the influence under Florida law is not confined simply to alcohol.  Drivers, like the driver in the April 28th Delray Beach accident that killed four tourists, who are under the influence of drugs or other mind-altering chemicals or substances can also be arrested and charged with the same crime in the Sunshine State as those driving a car after drinking.

Pursuant to Section 316.193, Florida Statutes, a motorist can be convicted of what is more commonly known as a “drug DUI” if he or she is driving or is in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while under the influence of certain “harmful chemicals” or “controlled substances” when the driver’s “normal faculties are impaired.”  The list of harmful chemicals includes a whole host of substances including many of the ingredients commonly found in the aerosol products commonly used for huffing or similar substances that “induce a condition of intoxication or which distorts or disturbs the auditory, visual, or mental processes.”  The list of controlled substances includes, among other things, opiates, stimulants, hallucinogens, and painkillers like Vicodin.  The potential criminal penalties for a drug DUI are the same as for a “regular” alcohol-related DUI and for a first offense include a fine of between $500 and $1,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment.

What is Difference between a Drug DUI Versus a Regular DUI and How Police May Treat the Two Differently?

 When an officer suspects a motorist may have been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or other mind-altering substances, police officers will often request that the driver undergo a blood or urine test that can reveal whether such a substance is in the driver’s bloodstream.  This contrasts with most traffic stops where an officer suspects a suspect has been drinking, in which the officer will have a driver perform a breathalyzer or a field sobriety test to measure whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol.  This is not to say that an officer will not do so in the instance of a driver the officer suspects of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or mind-altering substances, but the biggest difference in the latter scenario is the increased use of blood and urine tests by police officers.

Contact Experienced West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Bryan Raymond if You Have Been Arrested or Are Facing Drug DUI Charges in Palm Beach County

 If you were arrested for a DUI in Palm Beach County, contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Bryan M. Raymond of the Law Office of Bryan Raymond.  Bryan is an experienced defense attorney who represents both adults and juveniles who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and other prohibited substances in Palm Beach County.  Bryan is experienced in challenging all aspects of the prosecution’s case against you, from the constitutionality and propriety of any field sobriety, blood or urine tests police officers administered to any statements which police may have taken from you.  Therefore, if you have been arrested for or are charged with a DUI offense in Palm Beach County, Florida, no matter whether you are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or another prohibited substance and need a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney who will stop at nothing in defending you, immediately contact experienced criminal defense attorney Bryan Raymond today at (561) 682-1115 or bryan@raymondlaw.net.