Florida's DWI Law Revision Could Lead to Conviction of Sober People

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Warning: Not for use by people who plan to ever drive a car.
​Under proposed revisions to Florida law, drivers could be hit with DWI charges even if they were totally sober while they were driving, according to an interpretation by a Broward County DWI lawyer.

SB 1810 is sitting in several Florida Senate committees and would revise the state's law regarding driving under the influence in several ways: It changes the name of the offense from "driving under the influence" to "driving while impaired" and adds provisions for blood and urine testing, which sound like relatively minor changes when you consider the big change: what authorities are testing for.

What they're testing for is drug metabolites, which means if you smoke a joint on Friday and get pulled over the following Tuesday with evidence of it in your urine, you could get hit with charges of driving while impaired even if you were stone sober on the roads.

The new bill keeps the state's .08 blood alcohol concentration limit but adds a provision that states a person is guilty of DWI if his blood or urine tests positive for controlled substances -- which doesn't sound too unreasonable until you get to the section that adds "or one of its metabolites," which means the tests include the chemicals left behind by the process of absorbing drugs.

"What this means is the State does not have to prove that you were impaired by a drug to convict," wrote Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Dye in a statement. "The State does not have to prove that you had any drug in your system whatsoever."

Dye also criticized a part of the bill that sets blood alcohol limits "at the time of driving or anytime after driving as a result of alcohol consumed before or during driving." Dye said it shouldn't be enough to convict someone for being "drunk after driving," but it seems to me if you down a pint of whiskey during your commute with the hopes that you're home before you're drunk, well, you probably deserve to go to jail because you're a damned maniac.

Either way, though, it certainly sounds as if the bill in its current form resembles drug testing for people with cars.

"I've heard from defense attorneys from different parts of Florida, and all are extremely concerned about this bill," Dye said. "People are going to be prosecuted for driving. It sounds ridiculous, and it is."

Florida Senate Bill SB1810


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23 comments
Checkmoot
Checkmoot

Driving while impaired ? That would certainly include anyone who is driving while texting, or any activity that takes your attention away from the road, particularly if it causes damage or injury.

M Eat Spigot
M Eat Spigot

If they would add "driving while impaired" to include being to old to safely react to your surroundings to the list of things they are testing for then I'd be all for it in Florida!  

Lawyer Directory
Lawyer Directory

Very well written & informative post. You have done a very good job. I really appreciating your efforts. I would definitely read your more posts in this blog.

hostile177
hostile177

The second you introduce private enterprise into public works, they will find outlandish ways to boost profit.  Prisoners aren't human beings, they are resources and jails are profit centers.

1mrmonty
1mrmonty

Another way these scumbag politicians are trying to squeeze every penny they can from the taxpayers.

SmarterSean
SmarterSean

DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE 4TH AMENDMENT!!!

R. D. M.
R. D. M.

gotta fill those private jails somehow!

Terry S
Terry S

Anything to get our money.......They don't have enough jail space.......Stupid poeple with nothing better to do.....They should  secure our borders..thats what they should be doing..no screwing the American People......

Michael Dye
Michael Dye

Actually Bobby, there is a provision later on in the bill which says if you are taking prescription meds at the dosage prescribed and manner directed, that would constitute an affirmative defense.  However, as an affirmative defense is a question of fact for the jury, it does not stop an arrest.  Also, what evidence could the State present as to dosage?   In Florida, the overwhelming majority of cases, other than breath, are urine.  The police can only take blood in rare circumstances.  Since there is no correlation between substances found in the renal system and the circulatory system, it would be impossible for the State to prove it's case.  That doesn't stop a person from getting arrested & it doesn't stop the State from taking a horrible case to trial. 

Also, if this is the Bobby Reiff that I'm thinking of, loved your book.  I got it at the very beginning of my career and still have it.  It is like the Bible of DUI defense.

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” ― George Orwell, 1984

loni
loni

This is fucking nuts!Rich - Give us a sample letter to write senators so this doesn't happen.

Bobby Reiff
Bobby Reiff

One of the main problems with this bill is that if you legally take prescription medication, this law will criminalize your driving of a car, even if the medication had no impairing effect on you. It would apply even if you took that drug days or even weeks before the incident, even if you are not impaired.

What it also means is that if you are involved in a traffic accident and are taken to a hospital for treatment, you may end up being prosecuted for a felony DUI and face prison time even though the medication had nothing to do with the accident.

Mike Linder
Mike Linder

Could this have anything to do with the fact that our Governor has huge ties to the medical supply companies that does drug testing????

FQS9000
FQS9000

Typical liberal 'Lets make a cool rule' asininity.  This expansion of the DUI law is designed to do nothing more than throw more people in jail with less cause.  I am in favor of getting drunks off the road, but this is merely a way to keep shysters and jailers employed while bringing cases that strain at any relationship to the underlying DUI logic.

Any legislator who votes for this crap should have his legs broken.  Any jerk is involved with writing or promoting it should have his hand cut off. 

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

This just sounds VERY unconstitutional.  Your being busted for something when they have no proof of you doing anything at the time your pulled over.  Does this mean they are going to test everyone who gets pulled over?  I do not smoke but my friends do an they usually smoke around me.  So despite not actually smoking anything, I would have this stuff in my system and I would be thrown in jail for a crime I did not commit.This is insane.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

What is the rationale for how the front page of the NewTimes website works now? Half of blog posts never show up there (this one, for example), while posts from last Friday are still on the front page? I am sure there is a reason for this, but I cannot figure it.

Bobby
Bobby

It is and thank you.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

 Well Rick Scott IS privatizing the prison system here in Florida so all his buddies will be making money off them all.Damn I hate that jerk.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

 Funny thing is, it was written by a conservative.I think I prefered it when you posted as Parkland Man.

Eric Barton
Eric Barton

Good question, @770036b2e8d2b06819d448ab2ec72093:disqus . You can probably surmise by looking at our site that our servers are held together by a combination of duct tape and Big League Chew. Sometimes the gum comes loose, releasing the guinea pigs that power the fans. Which explains the condition of our offices.

In addition, our blog software, which I believe is circa 1997, allows us to tag some posts as "featured" items, stuff that we think you should be interested in days from now. Those items appear in the "Top Blog Stories" box at the top of this screen and on the homepage. Or at least, that's how it works in theory, as long as the gum holds up.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

In defense of FQS9000, his comment used complete words and sentences. I don't think Parkland Man has that in him.

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