DUI and Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America, that can be administered orally, intranasally, intravenously, or by inhalation. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance under the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which means it has a high potential for abuse and has a currently accepted but severely restricted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Cocaine possession offenses in Florida are aggressively prosecuted, and people can also face criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) of cocaine. It is important to understand that cocaine can remain detectable in urine samples for days after it was originally consumed, meaning a person could be arrested for a cocaine-related DUI despite the fact that the effects of the drug wore off long before the person got behind the wheel.

Lawyer for DUI and Cocaine Defense in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Were you arrested for DUI after allegedly being under the influence of cocaine in Palm Beach County? You should exercise your right to remain silent until you can contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A..

Our criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale defend clients accused of drunk and drugged driving crimes in communities all over Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Broward County. Call (561) 557-8686 right now to have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions in a free, confidential consultation.

Overview of DUI and Cocaine in Palm Beach County

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DUI and Cocaine Charges in Florida

While many alcohol-related DUI offenses involve violations of the legal limit of 0.08 for blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC), drugged driving crimes such as cocaine are based on Florida Statute § 316.193(1)(a) The statute provides that a person can be arrested for DUI if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired. Cocaine is a controlled substance and drivers may be arrested following the administration of blood or urine tests.

In many drugged driving cases, a police officer will summon for the assistance of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). A DRE is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs.

DREs will typically use a standardized 12-step DRE protocol to determine whether an alleged offender is impaired, whether any impairment relates to drugs or a medical condition, and what category or combination of categories of drugs are the likely cause of the impairment. The major problem with the DRE protocol is that the second step of the process involves an interview with the arresting officer, so many DRE tests effectively act as a sort of confirmation bias.

Positive drug tests for cocaine do not necessarily reflect that a person was under the influence of a drug while he or she was driving, as drugs such as cocaine can still be detectable for days after original use. As a result, it is also more difficult for a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was impaired by cocaine while operating a motor vehicle because the state does not have the clearly defined numerical limit that is established in alcohol-related cases.

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Cocaine DUI Penalties in Florida

A DUI based on an allegation of cocaine use is treated the same as an alcohol-related DUI. In other words, prior drunk driving convictions can be counted against a person in the prosecution of the cocaine-related DUI case.

Cocaine DUI convictions carry the following possible sentences, depending on the number of prior convictions an alleged offender has:

  • First Conviction — Minimum fine of $500 up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail (fine of at least $1,000 up to $2,000 and up to nine months in jail if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense) and driver’s license suspension of one year.
  • Second Conviction Within Five Years of Prior Conviction — Minimum fine of $1,000 up to $2,000 and up to nine months in jail (minimum fine of $2,000 up to $4,000 and up to 12 months in jail if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense) and driver’s license suspension of five years.
  • Second Conviction More Than Five Years After Prior Conviction — Minimum fine of $1,000 up to $2,000 and up to nine months in jail (minimum fine of $2,000 up to $4,000 and up to 12 months in jail if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense) and driver’s license suspension of one year.
  • Third Conviction Within 10 Years of First Conviction — Third-degree felony punishable by minimum fine of $2,000 up to $5,000 and minimum of 30 days up to five years in prison (minimum fine of $4,000 up to $5,000 if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense) and driver’s license suspension of 10 years.
  • Third Conviction More Than 10 Years After First Conviction — Minimum fine of $2,000 up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail (minimum fine of $4,000 up to $5,000 if a minor was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense) and driver’s license suspension of one year.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Conviction — Third-degree felony punishable by fine of at least $2,000 up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, and lifetime revocation of driver’s license.

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Palm Beach County DUI and Cocaine Resources

DrugFacts: Cocaine | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — NIDA is the federal research institute with the mission “to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.” Visit this section of the NIDA website to learn more about cocaine, including information about how cocaine affects the brain, other short-term health effects, and how overdoses are treated. According to the drugged driving section of the NIDA website, 10 percent of drivers who tested positive for drugs in a 2010 nationwide study had used cocaine.

Cocaine Anonymous World Services Florida Area Convention — Cocaine Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from their addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances. Visit this section of the Cocaine Anonymous website to learn more about the Sunlight of the Spirit 2018 Florida area convention being held on Sanibel Island September 21, 2018-September 23, 2018.

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Find a Cocaine DUI Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you were arrested for a cocaine-related DUI in South Florida, you will want to quickly retain legal counsel. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents individuals in Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, and many other surrounding areas of Palm Beach County.

Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers can investigate how your test was administered and fight to possibly get the criminal charges dismissed. You can have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (561) 557-8686 or complete an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.

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