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Southwest Florida

Drug DUI Lawyer

A DUI is commonly thought of as the arrest of someone who is driving a car while drunk or intoxicated through alcohol use. This is not the only type of DUI arrest found in Florida. DUI charges for people allegedly driving under the influence of drugs or controlled substances are extremely common in the State of Florida. All of the elements in a DUI for drugs are identical to those for a standard alcohol based DUI. When you are pulled over and blow .00 you may think that the lack of alcohol in your system means you cannot be arrested for DUI. This is not the case, if the officer believes you are intoxicated he can arrest you for DUI drugs.

Under Florida law the officer who suspects the individual to be driving under the influence of drugs is allowed to test for drugs under the implied consent law by taking either a urine or blood sample.  It is much more common in Florida for the officer to test for drugs through a urine sample as the officer may only request blood in special circumstances that do not apply to a request for urine. The test for the presence of drugs in a persons system is more comprehensive than the test for alcohol. The testing protocol for drugs in the State of Florida is called the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (or DEC). Officers are trained through the DEC to become Drug Recognition Experts (or DRE’s). Following your arrest for DUI drugs the DRE who is following the DEC will take you to a controlled environment (almost always the police station or holding room). At that time the DRE will perform the major components of the DEC test:

  • The interview of the arresting officer
  • The preliminary examination
  • The examination of the eyes
  • The divided attention psychological tests
  • The vital signs examination
  • The dark room examinations
  • Examination of Muscle tone
  • Examination for injection sites
  • Suspects statements and other observations
  • The toxicological examination

There are seven categories of drugs that can be identified through the DEC test:

  • Central Nervous System Depressants (or CNS) i.e. alcohol, xanax and valium
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants i.e. cocaine and amphetamines such as crystal meth
  • Hallucinogens i.e. LSD
  • Phencyclidine i.e. PCP
  • Narcotic Analgesics i.e. morphine, oxycontin, roxicet, dilaudid and other opiate based pills
  • Inhalants i.e. glue solvents and nitrous oxide
  • Cannabis i.e. marijuana

Any officer can become a drug recognition expert (or DRE) but in order to do so the officer must meet certain requirements in order to qualify. To become a DRE the officer must partake in testing of the officers familiarity with the seven categories of drugs that can be identified through the DEC program. The officer will also have to successfully complete classroom training as well as certification training. The officer will also have to practice the examinations they will administer during testing of subjects for drug intoxication.

If you have been arrested for DUI drugs and your urine comes back positive for drugs you still have many defenses available to you. Different drugs will remain presence in a persons systems for different periods of time.  If someone takes two xanaxes as a recreational user who rarely takes xanax the drug will likely only stay in their system for approximately 3 days. However someone who has been taking xanax every day for the last two years and suddenly stops taking xanax will likely have the xanax in their system for 1 – 3 weeks following the last time they take it. Regardless, the fact remains that drugs being present for your urine shows that at some point in the last few days or weeks (depending on the drug) you took that drug but it does not show that you took that drug prior to driving on the date of your arrest. Further, many people are prescribed prescription medications and the presence of those pills in their system does not mean they were ever intoxicated by the medication let alone at the precise time they were pulled over and arrested for DUI. The follow is a guide of common drugs and how long they typically stay in a persons system:

  • Alcohol – 1 to 3 days
  • Amphetamines – 1 to 4 days
  • Benzodiazepines – approximately two weeks for irregular use; 3 to 6 weeks for frequent use
  • Cocaine – 3 to 4 days
  • LSD – 1 to 3 days
  • Heroin – 3 to 4 days
  • Marijuana – 7 to 30 days
  • MDMA – 3 to 4 days
  • Methamphetamine – 3 to 6 days
  • Oxycontin, dilaudid, roxicet, percocet and other opiate pills – 3 to 5 days

If you are arrested for DUI drugs for allegedly driving while under the influence of prescription pills, cocaine, marijuana, heroin or any other drug in Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Port Charlotte or Punta Gorda contact a DUI defense lawyer from Viacava & Cantor at 239-672-8934. The lawyers at Viacava & Cantor are experienced in the defense of DUI drug cases and will use their knowledge to fight your DUI for you.

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