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New Legislation Could Impact DUI's in Florida

February 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 148

In Florida, Senator Stephen Wise filed a bill (SB 1810) that would amend the current DUI law in that State. The law would require a .08 blood alcohol level or any level of a schedule 1-4 (or controlled) drug to be in the blood or urine. Although it is commendable that Senator Wise is so determined to find a unique and more stringent way of combating driving under the influence, this law becomes disquieting upon further read as the suspect does not actually have to be driving a car at the time he or she is arrested, only to have driven the car after consuming the alcohol (with no specified way of determining the pre-consumption). Moreover, the controlled substance does not have to be found on the person, it can be determined by testing the level in the blood or urine, which brings up further question upon the legal rights of a suspect to have their urine or blood extracted.

The resulting consequences of this bill are even more troublesome as some schedule 3 and 4 drugs are prescribed regularly, such as Ritalin(R), Tylenol(R) with Codeine and Vicodin(R). Moreover, some of these drugs (like marijuana) can stay in the blood stream for up to two weeks. This could be a problem for receivers of second hand marijuana smoke inhalation as they could have the drug in their system without their knowledge.

The vagueness of the bill on what is required for a judge to pass sentence leaves too much leeway to the courts. This could result in convictions, with little fuel for the criminal defense lawyer, due to criminal profiling, character judgments and other unethical means of judgment. Another more disturbing result could be flagrant bribery of the judge or attorney to enable a prominent citizen to avoid conviction altogether. The Florida legislature is on the right path, but they need to find a better way to combat drunk driving.

Though the intentions are there for cracking down on DUIs, and establishing that inhibited driving isn't just caused by alcohol and could include a slew of many other drugs, the bill does not do justice to those that are simply victims of circumstance. Drugs present in the bloodstream do not justify the supposed inability to drive at a later date. It is unlikely that the bill will pass into law, but the fact that people within our government are taking this subject so seriously means that we may see different variants and modifications to this bill in years to come.

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Source: EzineArticles
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