When you’ve been accused of a drug DUI, you can quickly watch your life spiral out of control. Drug DUI charges can lead to jail time, expensive fines, and a charge on your record that will follow you for the rest of your life. Not only that, in some cases, you may lose your driver’s license or have your license suspended.
If you’ve been accused of a drug DUI, seek the legal representation you need to protect your rights as soon as possible. Contact Meldon Law today at 800-373-8000 to schedule a free consultation.
At Meldon Law, we defend clients accused of alcohol and drug DUIs. We aim to protect our clients’ constitutional rights and return to living productive, law-abiding lives, rather than having their freedoms restricted and livelihoods destroyed by the consequences of a DUI. In many cases, we have been able to negotiate reasonable plea bargains for our clients that reduce the penalties they face. In some cases, we have even been able to convince prosecutors and courts to dismiss charges altogether.
Obviously, every case is different, and the unique set of facts and circumstances of your drug DUI charge will contribute to the outcome you can hope to achieve. Regardless of those circumstances, however, it is important for anyone facing a drug DUI charge in Palm Beach County to seek competent criminal legal representation as soon as possible
What Are Drug DUI Charges?
Under Florida law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs. It may seem obvious, but the law against drug DUIs exists to prevent and punish driving at times when drugs cause impaired reasoning, dangerous behavior, and slow reaction times, all of which pose a risk of serious accidents and harm to the public.
The government charges drug DUI cases when a driver is found to be driving, or to have driven, under the influence of drugs, whether illegal or legal. The two most typical scenarios in which our clients face drug DUI charges involve (1) traffic stops, in which law enforcement pulls over a person suspected of drug DUI after observing erratic driving behavior, and (2) traffic accidents in which law enforcement suspects a driver of DUI because of how the driver acts at the accident scene.
In addition to observing a suspect’s behavior, law enforcement determines whether a drug DUI has occurred by conducting a variety of visual and chemical tests. These tests include field sobriety exercises, instant breath tests, and laboratory blood tests.
It is important to understand that drug DUI charges can result not just from taking illegal drugs, like meth or cocaine, but also from taking prescription and non-prescription drugs. If you take a prescription medication with known side effects like drowsiness or impaired thinking, or an over-the-counter medicine with similar qualities (such as “nighttime” cough syrup), you are at risk of facing drug DUI charges if the side effects impact your driving. That is why it’s especially important to consult with a doctor before taking a new medication, to ensure you understand the potential side effects. Once you take to the road, it is your responsibility not to drive under the influence of even totally legal drugs.
To be convicted of a DUI charge, the driver must be in actual physical control of the vehicle—that is, in the driver’s seat—and have everything necessary to operate the vehicle. This includes having the keys, having the vehicle on a road or other location where driving is necessary, and being awake and functioning at the scene. Without having done more, you typically cannot be convicted of a drug DUI for sleeping in a vehicle, even the driver’s seat of a vehicle, while under the influence of drugs or other controlled substances, nor can you be convicted for simply sitting in a parking lot or driveway with no intent to operate the vehicle. You can, however, be convicted of a drug DUI when operating vehicles other than typical passenger vehicles. This may include boats and other conveyances used for entertainment.
What Are the Consequences of Drug DUI?
In the state of Florida, there are several consequences for drug DUI. For a first offense, this includes:
- Up to six months in jail
- $500-$1000 in fines
- Up to 50 hours of community service
- License suspension for six months to a year, depending on the charge and the severity of the incident
The second time you’re found to be driving under the influence of drugs within five years of the first conviction, the consequences include:
- 10 days to 9 months in jail
- $1,000-$2,000 in fines
- License suspension for up to five years
For a third or subsequent drug DUI charge within ten years of the last offense, the penalties increase to:
- 30 days to 5 years in jail
- $2,000-$5,000 in fines
- License suspension for up to 10 years
Whether you’re facing your first drug DUI charge or your third, it’s critical to have experienced criminal representation to protect your constitutional rights and limit the potential consequences of the charge. The penalties you face can vary significantly depending on the circumstances, and an attorney with experience representing clients in drug DUI cases gives you the best shot at developing defenses and demonstrating to a prosecutor and judge why you deserve leniency.
What Will a Drug DUI Lawyer Cost Me?
At Meldon Law, we offer a free consultation for potential clients to meet with a lawyer and discuss how we might be able to help. If we agree to represent a client, we try to work with them to come up with a payment arrangement that is fair and realistic for the circumstances. We understand the financial strain unexpected legal expenses can put on a person and their family, and we do our best to accommodate them. But, we also encourage our clients to consider the costs of not having an experienced drug DUI lawyer on their side. In our experience, the expense of a skilled criminal defense attorney usually pales in comparison to the potential cost of not having one.
Get the Legal Representation You Need Today
At Meldon Law, we’re committed to defending the rights of people who have come under the suspicion of law enforcement for a drug DUI. We do our best to work with our clients and the legal system to limit penalties and find solutions that are fair and just.
If you’ve been charged with a drug DUI, contact Meldon Law as soon as possible online or at 800-373-8000 to schedule an initial consultation. Do not wait, and do not make any further statements to law enforcement until you have spoken a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Founder of the Meldon Law FirmEmail Jeffrey Meldon