How Do Prosecutors Prove Drugged Driving In Florida?
Intoxicated driving is unlawful in Florida. Under state law (Florida Statutes § 316.193), a person can be deemed “guilty of the offense of driving under the influence” if they are impaired by alcohol or “any substance controlled under chapter 893.” In other words, a motorist can be convicted of a DUI on the grounds of drugged driving.
Of course, a breathalyzer test does not detect drugs. This raises an important question: How do police and prosecutors prove drugged driving in a DUI case? The answer is that the state can present a number of different types of evidence. Here, our Orlando DUI defense attorney provides a comprehensive guide to drugged driving charges in Florida.
An Overview of Evidence Police and Prosecutors Use in Florida Drugged Driving Cases
In Florida, every person arrested for and charged with drugged driving is presumed innocent until proven guilty. A criminal charge is an allegation—a defendant has the right to raise a zealous legal defense. The burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the prosecution. A number of different types of evidence can be presented as part of a drugged driving case in Central Florida, including:
- Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs): These are standardized tests that police administer on the roadside to assess a driver’s physical and cognitive impairment. Examples include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. Notably, drivers in Florida are not required to take a field sobriety test.
- Blood and Urine Tests: If an officer suspects drug use, the driver may be taken to a medical facility for blood or urine tests. These can detect the presence and concentration of various controlled substances. The amount of a substance in blood or urine could be used as evidence of impairment.
- Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Evaluation: A DRE is a law enforcement officer trained to recognize impairment caused by different categories of drugs. Their evaluations can provide insight into the type of drug a driver might have consumed.
- Police Officer Observations of Impairment: The behavior of a driver, as noted by the arresting officer, can be used as evidence. Along with other things, this includes slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, erratic driving, and any other signs of impairment.
- Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia in the Vehicle: Discovering drugs or related items in a car can strengthen the case that the driver was under their influence. Of course, drugs or drug paraphernalia is not proof of impaired driving—though it could be used as evidence and it could lead to even more serious criminal charges.
Contact Our Orlando, FL Drugged Driving Defense Lawyer Today
At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando drugged driving defense attorney is an experienced and effective advocate for clients. If you or your family member was arrested and charged with drugged driving, we are here to help. Contact our criminal defense firm today to set up your confidential case evaluation. From our Orlando office, we defend drugged driving charges throughout Central Florida.