Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in Florida. The offense is proved by impairment of “normal faculties” by drugs or alcohol and/or by an unlawful breath or blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above. Impairment of normal faculties by alcohol can be determined by testing blood, breath or urine. But it is much more difficult to determine impairment of normal faculties by marijuana or other drugs.
Currently in Florida, there is no definitive way, like a blood or breath test, to determine marijuana intoxication. Rather, the only way to determine whether someone’s normal faculties are impaired by marijuana is to assess whether they possess their normal faculties. Normal faculties includes the ability to perform the many mental and physical activities of daily life, such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, driving and making judgments. Normal faculties are normally assessed in Florida DUI cases via the administration of roadside tests known as field sobriety exercises (FSEs).
In addition to administering FSEs, officers commonly note certain physical observations such as blood shot, watery eyes, pupil dilation, facial flushing, and speech slurring to bolster their conclusion someone’s normal faculties are impaired. And, in some marijuana-based DUI cases, officers across the United States are alleging that people who’ve recently smoked marijuana have green tongues. In fact, law enforcement officers are instructed to look for a “possible green coating” in one world-wide specialized training program. Continue reading