Fort Myers, FL – The term DUI stands for driving under the influence. This does not necessarily mean the influence of alcohol, but it does mean that the driver’s normal senses and abilities are impaired by some kind of substance to the point that their driving is affected. Operating a vehicle while impaired by any combination of alcohol or drugs is technically illegal in Florida. When someone is charged with a DUI related to drug use, they should get legal help and contact an attorney who has experience handling these specific types of cases.
Looking for indicators of drug use at the scene
Police officers in Florida are allowed to test for various drugs and controlled substances through a drug recognition examination or DRE. They will also usually ask for a chemical sample of urine rather than a breath test at the station if they believe drug use has impaired a driver rather than alcohol. An officer who is certified to perform the DRE test may need to be called to the scene, as this requires special experience and training, and there are some different steps compared to observing drivers who they believe to be only under the influence of alcohol. The DRE test has approximately twelve steps that check for various indicators of altered vital signs, along with other evidence of impairment. The officer may take the suspect’s blood pressure and observe the pupils of their eyes.
The suspect’s car may also be searched for drug paraphernalia if they are arrested and charged.
The presence of substances
The chemical test of urine for the presence of drugs is somewhat different than testing for alcohol. As a general rule, the test will only show that someone has the presence of the drug in their body, rather than presence at the time of the traffic stop and arrest. In other words, someone who smoked marijuana several days before their arrest may show the presence of the drug in their test results, even if they had not been using the drug immediately before the arrest. This is an important point for criminal defense attorneys to indicate, as it is possible that a suspect was sober at the time of the arrest but tests positive because of drug use days or weeks earlier. The presence of prescription drugs may also have an innocent explanation if there is a legitimate doctor’s order.
Fighting a DUI charge in Florida
Anyone who has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the Fort Myers area has the right to retain an attorney and present a defense. Michael M. Raheb assists local clients with defending against the state’s charges.
Firm contact info:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901