Penalties associated with medical marijuana and driving in Florida
Have you felt like recently everywhere you go there is a distinct hint of marijuana odor in the air? You may be right! It’s almost scary to think that as you walk through the parking lot of a Walmart or other establishment that you catch a whiff of marijuana. You probably question, is it legal to be smoking marijuana for medical purposes and getting behind the wheel of a car all at the same time? That’s a great question!
Smoking or consuming marijuana will impair motor skills and under Florida law, marijuana is still a controlled substance, which means using it and getting behind the wheel can result in a Driving Under the Influence arrest and charges. Further, the penalties associated with driving while under the influence of marijuana have been increased in Florida. Click here to learn more about the implications of driving while using medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana has become legal in Florida for patients suffering from debilitating diseases, but just like with alcohol and other cognitively impairing drugs, the penalties associated with DUI vary based on your number of prior offenses. However, unlike alcohol, there is no designated impairment limit, and marijuana may stay in your system longer than alcohol.
As outlined in the “Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Drive Baked, Get Busted” campaign, driving high is driving impaired and can injure yourself or others.
Penalties for DUIs can include monetary fines, loss of your driver’s license and possible jail time. In addition, if you are convicted, that will stay on your record for 75 years.
First Conviction: You can receive up to six months in jail and fines not less than $500 or more than $1,000. If blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000. Your license may be suspended for 180 days up to one year and you may be assigned up to 50 hours of community service. Additionally, your vehicle may be impounded for up to 10 days.
Second Conviction: You may receive up to nine months of jail time and fines not less than $1,000.00 or more than $2,000. If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $2,000 or more than $4,000. Your car may be equipped with a mandatory ignition interlock device and you may receive a license suspension for one to five years with an additional year of probation and a psychosocial compulsory evaluation. The community service hours and car impoundment are the same for a second offense as the first offense.
Third Conviction (within 10 years from the second offense): This is where you encounter possible felony charges that come with up to a year in jail and a monetary fine not less than $2,000.00 or more than $5,000. If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $4,000. Your license may be suspended for two to 10 years with an additional probationary year and mandatory psychosocial evaluation. A third offense can also include installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, 50 hours of community service and your vehicle will be impounded for 90 days.
Third Conviction (more than 10 years from the second offence): Possible felony charges that come with up to a year in jail and a monetary fine not less than $2,000.00 or more than $5,000. If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $4,000.
Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Your fourth offense is a felony charge and not less than $2,000.00, plus up to 5 years in prison. If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $4,000. At a fourth offense, your license is permanently revoked, and you will still receive 50 hours of community service and your vehicle will be impounded for 90 days.
There are serious consequences if you are caught driving while using medical marijuana. Just because you have a valid medical marijuana card does not mean you can legally have marijuana in your system and operate a vehicle.
If you are facing charges of driving under the influence or possession of marijuana and need a bail bond agency, please give us a call at 407-841-3646. We have been serving Central Florida since 1979. You can rely on us to guide you through the ins and outs of the bail bond process. We are here to help. A bail bond agent is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year. If you need a bail bond agency, please contact us at 407-841-3646.