What Does Your Tongue Say About You in a Florida Drugged Driving Case?
While drunk driving may get more attention in the news headlines, it’s important to remember that you could be arrested for drugged driving under Florida’s statute on driving under the influence. The law prohibits operating a vehicle while your faculties are impaired by a controlled substance, a definition which includes marijuana. However, you probably realize that the strategies police use to detect whether you’re high aren’t the same as for drunk driving. There’s no breathalyzer for marijuana, so the encounter will officers at the scene of the roadside stop are very different if you’ve consumed marijuana.
One strategy police have used in the past is asking to see your tongue, since the presence of a green coating is arguably an indication of smoking pot or eating cannabis edibles. Remember: All officers need is probable cause to arrest you – at which point they can take you into custody to conduct thorough chemical testing. You should always trust a Florida drugged driving defense attorney to assist with the legal process, but you might find some details about what your tongue says if you’re pulled over.
To Police, A Green Tongue = Recent Marijuana Use: Officers are under enormous pressure to keep Florida streets safe from the risks posed by intoxicated drivers. They’re motivated to employ all means necessary to make arrests – even if they obtain evidence illegally, which means it cannot be used in court and is in violation of your civil rights. Checking your tongue for green residue may be one of their methods to charge you with drugged driving, or to justify additional searching of you and your vehicle.
Concrete Evidence of Drugged Driving: During a roadside stop, many officers realize that they’re on precarious legal ground by arresting you on the basis of your green tongue alone. As such, they’ll try to collect other evidence that you’re high while driving a car. Some of this information IS admissible in court as proof of impairment, which is why you’ll need an experienced attorney to represent you as early on in the criminal process as possible.
Police may be observing or looking for:
- The distinctive odor of smoking pot, which may emanate from your vehicle when you unroll the window;
- Nystagmus of the eyes, the term for an uncontrolled movement or shaking of your eyes when you’re ordered to focus on an object;
- Dilated or constricted pupils, or other unusual behavior with eye pupils – especially when officers shine a light; and,
- Difficulty with coordination, stumbling, or slurring your words.
Contact a Florida Drugged Driving Defense Lawyer About Your Case
When you’re stressed by being pulled over for DUI, it can be difficult to make sense of what evidence you may be giving police – which can be used against you in court. There are legal and procedural questions involved when you have a green tongue indicating recent marijuana use, so you should count on knowledgeable legal counsel for help. To learn more, please contact Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule a confidential consultation at our office.