Woman Facing Charges For DUI Crash That Paralyzed Child
An Orlando woman is facing DUI charges months after an accident in which she veered into oncoming traffic with two children in her vehicle. One, aged four, did not have his booster seat fastened in, according to police, and suffered severe injuries, including paralysis from the accident. The delay in filing charges was likely related to the woman’s tox screen. After the accident, she had blood drawn at the hospital which showed evidence of marijuana, MDMA, amphetamines, and more. However, the blood evidence may not be enough for a DUI conviction. In this article, we’ll discuss why.
Blood draws and tox screens
It’s hard to say how long MDMA lasts in the blood, but amphetamines are detectable for up to 48 hours. Marijuana is detectable for up to two days. That means that the police have a window of about two days for the intoxication to have begun. It means that when she was taken to the hospital, the drugs would have still been detectable even if they had worn off by the time she was driving. So, the evidence indicates only that drugs were taken within the last two days—not that the woman was under the influence of drugs while she was operating her vehicle.
Nonetheless, the police have used this evidence to file DUI charges against the woman.
Per se DUI cases
When it comes to alcohol, we have an established standard for determining intoxication. If your BAC is above .08, then you are automatically guilty of DUI per se. There is no DUI per se for drugs. While the presence of drugs in your system has long been used to prove intoxication, the presence of drugs in your system does not prove intoxication at the time you were operating your vehicle.
In cases where the prosecution cannot “prove” the individual was intoxicated while they were operating the vehicle, they often use circumstantial evidence from the accident itself to prove their case. Here, the fact that the driver veered into oncoming traffic with two of her children in the vehicle is strong evidence that she wasn’t fit to operate the vehicle at the time of the accident. The police can use other evidence, such as drug paraphernalia found in the vehicle or the driver’s own conduct at the time of the arrest. In these cases, the police officer’s testimony serves as an automatic finding of guilt based on scientific standards. A jury or judge then determines whether or not the prosecution proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon, these issues will be at the forefront of future legislation related to DUI.
Talk to an Orlando, FL DUI Attorney Today
FL DUI Group represents the interests of defendants in DUI-related prosecutions. Without strong representation, you may be overcharged based on the evidence. Do not accept a plea until a Florida DUI defense attorney has had a chance to look at the evidence against you.