Personal Injury Blog


Why Tiger Woods was arrested on DUI Charges with no Alcohol in his System

Professional golfer Tiger Woods was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) on May 29, 2017 in Jupiter, FL, just a few miles from his home. Woods was found asleep in his car. During his arrest Woods told officers that he had taken Xanax, as well as other prescription medications.

Drugged driving is on the rise all over the country, and is surpassing the number of drunk driving convictions at an alarming rate. Driving under the influence of drugs is against the law in Florida. If you are facing DUI charges, it’s a good idea to get yourself up to speed on how Florida law defines drugged driving and the potential consequences of drug-related DUI charges.

Drugged Driving

The penalties for drug-related DUI charges are typically the same as those for drunk driving offenses. You can face drug-related DUI charges for not only driving under the influence of drugs, but also for being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of particular harmful chemicals or controlled substances.

What is Actual Physical Control?

Being in actual physical control of a vehicle means the driver is in or on the vehicle and has the capability to operate it. Even if you are just sitting in the car and it is not moving, if you’re under the influence you can be convicted of a DUI.

Under the Influence

Under Florida law, a driver is considered under the influence when, as the result of ingesting drugs, the person is affected to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired. In 2001, one Florida court defined impaired as a “worsening or diminishment in some material respect.” In simpler terms, the drugs must have impacted the person’s mental or physical abilities in a serious manner.

Harmful Chemicals

Substances that qualify as harmful chemicals are typically substances that recreational drug users "huff" or inhale to get high, including:

  • Nitrous oxide
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Chemicals found in solvents, such as acetone and toluene

Controlled Substances

Controlled substances are defined as any medication or drug whose manufacture, processing, distribution or possession is regulated by law. In the United States, many illegal drugs are also controlled substances. However, not all controlled substances are considered illegal in all circumstances. Many controlled substances are prescribed by physicians for legitimate medical treatment and are sold by authorized pharmacies and dispensaries. Florida’s list of controlled substances includes:

  • Benzodiazepines (drugs such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan)
  • Opioids (Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin and other narcotics)
  • Cannabinoids (marijuana)
  • Opiates (heroin)
  • Stimulants (methamphetamines, cocaine, crack)
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP)

Drugged Driving Penalties

The consequences of a Florida drugged driving conviction can be quite costly, both financially and emotionally. Generally, the potential penalties are:

  • First offense: A first DUI conviction results in a license suspension of six months to one year, carries up to six months in jail, $500 to $1,000 in fines, and at least 50 hours of community service.
  • Second offense: A second DUI conviction within 5 years of a prior DUI results in a license revocation of at least five years. It carries 10 days to 9 months in jail and $1,000 to $2,000 in fines.
  • Third offense: A third DUI within 10 years of one of the two prior DUI convictions results in a license revocation of at least ten years. It can result in 30 days in jail to five years in prison and $2,000 to $5,000 in fines.

Sentencing can also include requirements for mandatory Drug and Alcohol Education classes, rehabilitation programs and Ignition Interlock Devices. Sentencing law can be difficult to navigate and various factors can affect your actual punishment. An attorney who has solid knowledge of Florida DUI laws and statutes will be able to explain how the law applies to your case and help you decide the best course of action to take.

Legal Help

Florida's DUI laws are complex, and every case is different. If you're the victim of a DUI accident, contact Lowman Law Firm at (352) 796-0016 or toll-free at (866) 9-LOWMAN.


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