Newark, NJ-While the majority of DWI arrests in New Jersey involve motorists who are under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, like marijuana, it is possible for a motorist to be charged with a DWI due to consumption of prescription drugs, as well. Simply having a prescription for a drug doesn’t exclude a person from being prosecuted under the state’s DWI laws.
There are a host of prescription drugs that can affect a person’s motor skills and reaction times soon after they are taken. These drugs typically have a label warning the user they will inhibit their ability to drive and are classified as narcotics under New Jersey statutes. For this reason, New Jersey is aggressive at prosecuting people who drive under the influence of prescription drugs. If you are facing such a charge, you need an equally aggressive defense provided by a seasoned New Jersey DWI defense attorney.
If you have been pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription drugs, you will be put through field sobriety tests to determine if you are actually impaired. If police are able to rule out alcohol intoxication based on the results of a breathalyzer, they must call in a Drug Recognition Expert to determine if you are impaired. DREs, as they are commonly known, rely on their observations and the results of a chemical or urine test to charge you.
If you are taking a medication regularly, sometimes two or three times a day, that medication is likely to show up in your bloodstream. But the real question in DWI cases involving prescription drugs is: Were you actually impaired when police stopped you? Having a drug in your blood stream and actually being impaired are two different things. It is the state’s burden to prove you were impaired at the time of your arrest; the presence of a drug in your system alone is generally not sufficient enough evidence to prove impairment.
When drugged driving is suspected, a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) will conduct a battery of tests which generally include a chemical test, unless you refuse. The testimony of a DRE carries considerable weight in your case, but my job as a New Jersey criminal defense attorney is to challenge the evidence presented against you by a DRE, which generally relies on observation, and look for any flaws in the case they have built against you. DRE testimony is not scientifically proven and can be challenged.
(For more on refusing a blood or chemical test read: Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer in New Jersey?)
The penalties for driving while impaired by prescription drugs can include incarceration, suspension of your driver’s license and hefty fines. This is not a conviction you want to have on your record. I understand how complicated DWI cases involving prescription drugs can be and will be devoted to building the strongest DWI defense possible.
DWI cases involving prescription or illicit drugs are different than drunken driving cases so you need an attorney working on your case who is familiar with such cases. If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated by prescriptions drugs in Clifton, Elmwood Park, Jersey City, Elizabeth or Newark contact my office and we can set up a consultation.
DWI lawyer can challenge this evidence and may be able to show flaws that can lead to an acquittal or dismissal of your case.