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Problems posed by setting a BAC level for marijuana

The introduction into evidence of the results of a breath test or blood test proving that a driver’s blood alcohol content level was .08 percent or higher can make a prosecutor’s job much easier. Florida law provides that a BAC level of .08 percent is proof of intoxication. A legislator now wants to have an equivalent standard for those who driver under the influence of marijuana.

Blood alcohol content level evidence plays a key role in Hillsborough County because there is a standard for driving while intoxicated. No such standard exists in the state for other intoxicants. Under the proposed legislation, Florida would join other states that have set five nanograms per milliliter as the standard for driving under the influence.

The proposed law would allow police to request that a driver suspected of operating under the influence submit to a blood test to measure the marijuana level in the blood. The law would not give police the right to force a driver to submit except in cases involving an accident and serious injuries or death.

The idea of having a standard for driving under the influence of marijuana in the same way that a standard exists for driving while intoxicated seems, at first blush, to make sense. First impressions can, when it comes to drunk driving charges, be deceiving.

Opponents of the proposed law point to conflicts in the results of studies that looked into the amount of marijuana necessary to impair a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. At least one study casts doubt on five Nano grams per milliliter as a proper standard to use.

The consequences and penalties associated with DUI charges are severe and can affect your life. Whether the charges involve drugs or alcohol, if you have been charged with operating under the influence, a Tampa criminal defense attorney may be able to help.

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