Mark Roman | February 13, 2023 | Car Accidents
Florida marijuana laws are very clear. Marijuana for recreational use is against the law. However, individuals with a valid Medical Marijuana Use Registry identification card can use marijuana for approved medical purposes. If a buzzed or high driver injures you, it can help to understand Florida marijuana laws and how they apply to a personal injury claim.
Possession and Sale of Marijuana Is Illegal in Florida
Some states have legalized recreational marijuana. However, Florida has not legalized marijuana for recreational use. Marijuana continues to be an illegal substance under federal and Florida law.
Common marijuana offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Possession of marijuana
- Possession of marijuana with the intent to sell
- Trafficking of marijuana
- Cultivation of cannabis
Possession of marijuana offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the amount of marijuana in your possession. Trafficking and cultivating marijuana are generally felonies.
The penalties for marijuana misdemeanor offenses include up to 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Felony convictions result in harsher penalties. Depending on the charge, a person can face up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $50,000.
Medical Marijuana Use in Florida
A person must have a valid Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) identification card to use medical marijuana legally in Florida. Medical marijuana is only approved for specific medical conditions. Conditions include:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic nonmalignant pain
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Positive statutes for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician
Even though a person has an MMUR card, they are prohibited from possessing more than a 35-day supply of smokable cannabis or a 70-day supply of other medical marijuana products. Additionally, it still is illegal to cultivate marijuana for personal use.
Is Driving Under the Influence of Medical Marijuana Legal in Florida?
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Florida, including medical marijuana. If a person is convicted of a first-offense DUID (driving under the influence of drugs), they can face up to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, and driver’s license suspension for up to one year. Repeat offenders can face years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and other criminal penalties.
In addition to criminal penalties for DUID, if a person causes a traffic accident while driving under the influence of marijuana, they face civil penalties. An injured victim can file a lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries and damages.
Proving Fault in a Marijuana DUI Accident in Tampa, FL
Proving that a driver was driving under the influence of marijuana is not proof of fault for a DUI accident. You must prove that the driver did something to cause the collision.
For example, the driver failed to stop at a red light or drove in the wrong lane. The driver’s conduct must be a direct and proximate cause of the accident.
However, in marijuana DUI accident cases, an injured victim can use negligence per se to prove their case. Negligence per se creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence. It shifts the burden of proof to the defendant.
The victim must prove that the person was violating a law when they caused the injury to use negligence per se. The at-fault party can defend themselves by offering evidence that refutes the injured party’s claim of negligence.
What Damages Can a Victim Receive for a Marijuana DUI Accident?
The damages a person receives for a DUI accident case depends on the facts of the case, their injuries, and financial losses. Typically, a victim can recover economic damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Rehabilitative therapies
- Diminished earning capacity
Accident victims can also recover compensation for their non-economic damages or “pain and suffering” damages, including:
- Physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Mental anguish
- Disabilities and impairments
- A decrease in quality of life
- Emotional distress
Allegations of contributory fault can impact how much you receive for a marijuana DUI accident claim. If the defense proves that you were partially to blame for the cause of the car accident, your compensation is reduced by your level of fault.
Contact an Experienced Florida DUI Accident Lawyer for Legal Help
Even though the driver might have been high at the time of the crash, their liability insurance company might be liable for your damages. The insurance company will likely fight the claim to avoid liability. Therefore, you might want to seek legal advice from a DUI accident lawyer in Florida to ensure you understand your options and legal rights.
If you need help with your injury case or you want to learn more information, please call the DUI law firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500 or visit the nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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