Driving Under The Influence of Drugs
Union Township NJ Drug DWI Attorney
Drug use seems to grow, especially when it comes to marijuana, heroin and prescription medication, and this has also caused the number of individual charged with driving under the influence to escalate. In fact, a drug DUI offense can even stems from a legally prescribed anxiety, sleeping, or pain medication (e.g. xanax, oxycodone/oxycontin, roxycodone/roxycodone, valium, percocet, hydrocodone, ambien, etc.). The reason is because N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 not only prohibits operation of a motor vehicle if a person’s ability to drive safely is impaired by alcohol but also a narcotic or mood altering substance. When a motorist has a controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”) in their system, whether legal or illegal, and there is probable cause to believe that they are unable to unable to operate their car or truck safely, they can be arrested for driving under the influence drugs. It is imperative for you to retain an attorney skilled in the defense of drug DWI cases if you find yourself in this position since serious penalties apply to this violation.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall possess the qualifications you need to protect against a conviction. We aren’t just run of the mill lawyers but rather a team of advocates who, in most cases, possess superior training than an arresting officer in driving under the influence of marijuana or another drug. Several of our attorneys are certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and two are even certified instructors (i.e. there are approximately 5 total statewide). Most police officers have perhaps a day of training in these tests as compared to our intimate knowledge as to which tools are valid, how they are to be administered, scored, and what each demonstrate in terms of evidence of impairment. Beyond this unique training, we also have years of experience in proper procedure for blood testing, the primary way police establish that drugs were being ingested by a motorist. It also helps that our lawyers are former prosecutors in over 20 municipalities and have over 100 years of combined DWI/DUI experience. To speak to an attorney on our staff anytime 24/7, contact our Office in Union Township at 908-272-1700.
What You Need To Know If You Were Charged With A Drug DWI/DUI Offense
As previously stated, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 applies to both an alcohol and drug based DUI violation. In fact, the statute specifically includes operating while under the influence of a “narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug…” While the biggest block of drug DWI cases involve marijuana, those stemming from opiate based drugs are also common. The pivotal issue in driving under a driving under the influence case is whether there was a “substantial deterioration or diminution of the mental faculties or physical capabilities” from ingestion of drugs/cds.
Proving a driving under the influence of drugs case is much different than one based on alcohol. The first thing that must be established is the presence of cds in the defendant’s system. This is classically established through a laboratory test demonstrating that there was drugs in the motorist’s blood. We have provided a detailed discussion on when and how the police can secure samples and you can refer to our blood tests page to review those rules. Establishing that drugs were present in the blood stream of the accused is not, however, enough to prove that the defendant was unfit to safely operate a motor vehicle.
The state must establish that the drug found in the blood of the defendant caused him/her to be “under the influence” such that 39:4-50 was violated. This requires an evaluation by a police officer who is highly trained in this area referred to as a drug recognition expert or DRE. Very few police hold this certification since securing this credential is a long and involved process that can span as much as two years. A drug recognition evaluation is a twelve (12) step process which is intended to answer three questions: (1) is the motorist impaired; (2) is the impairment from an injury, illness or medical complication, or from drugs; and (3) what type of drug is the source of the impairment. The DRE must render a report that includes an opinion that you were under the influence of drugs at the time of operation. The only time such a report is not required is where a defendant is accused of driving under the influence of marijuana. If any other drug is involved, a positive lab report must be produced, along with a DRE opinion that the accused was impaired by that substance at the time of the motor vehicle stop.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
The penalties that apply in the event of a conviction for a drug DWI are the same as those that apply for a second offense or third offense involving alcohol but are slighting different as far as a first offense goes. In this regard, there is no two tier set of penalties for a drug related offense (i.e. for alcohol the penalties are different for a first offense with a BAC of 08-.099 and those involving a BAC of .10 or higher). The first offense penalties include a $300-500 fine, $230 IDRC fee, $100 DWI surcharge, $100 alcohol education surcharge, $75 assessment for the safe neighborhood fund, a DMV surcharge of $1,000 per year for 3 years, up to 30 days in jail and a drivers license suspension of 7-12 months. A second offense under 39:4-50 carries similar financial consequences with a 2 year mandatory license suspension and 2-90 days in the county jail. A conviction for a third offense results in 180 days in jail and a 10 year loss of license.
Cranford NJ Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Defense Lawyers
Our firm is truly unique when it comes to any form of DWI case. Not only do the defense lawyers possess exceptional training but also years of success handling driving under the influence of drugs in courts like the one in the Township of Cranford. Several attorneys are former prosecutors who are Alcotest and Field Sobriety certified. The Union Township Office of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is conveniently located from almost anywhere in Union County. Feel free to call us at 908-272-1700 any time of day or night to obtain immediate assistance from an attorney on our staff.
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