Newark, NJ- Legal sales of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado began on January 1st, medical marijuana legislation is pending or approved in a handful of states (it’s already functional in New Jersey). The laws regarding marijuana are slowly becoming more permissive throughout the country, but it is still illegal to drive while intoxicated by marijuana, prescription drugs and other controlled substances even in states that permit medical or recreational marijuana use.
New Jersey statutes require law enforcement officers to prove that a driver’s ability to drive was “impaired” at the time of their traffic stop. When trying to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs, police rely on the driver’s behavior and certain physical cues such as blood shot or glassy eyes. They will also ask you to submit to field sobriety tests and will call on specially trained officers to determine if you are impaired, or alternatively look at clinics for the likes of Health Street – 10 Panel Drug Test services or similar. If you live in Los Angeles and have been a victim in a car accident with someone who has been under the influence, then you may want to contact the best personal injury law firm in Los Angeles who can help you make a claim. Don’t worry though, there will be a law practice in your area who can help and support you too.
By obtaining a New Jersey driver’s license, any person who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol must submit to a breathalyzer test or risk having their license revoked, this is referred to as “implied consent.” Unlike statutes for driving under the influence of alcohol, an individual does not have to give law enforcement officers a sample of their blood or urine for chemical testing if they are being are charged with driving while intoxicated by drugs, and will not face legal consequences for refusal.
Because New Jersey does not have an implied consent law drug testing, police rely on specially trained officers called Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) to determine if a suspected driver is impaired. DREs must be certified and if they determine you are intoxicated through a battery of tests; you can be arrested for driving while intoxicated. A person can also be charged with a DWI if they knowingly allow a person under the influence of drugs to drive their vehicle. Whilst you are allowed to take certain drugs in certain states, partaking of the products you can see more here whilst operating a vehicle is generally illegal.
In order to secure a DWI conviction, state prosecutors must prove impairment. To do this they must rely on the observations and testimony of Drug Recognition Experts and any results from chemical tests, like the Ehrlich test kit.
New Jersey case law has established that court testimony of intoxication must be presented by a Drug Recognition Expert or other expert. Testimony from a police officer and a chemical test report showing a driver had drugs in their system is not sufficient enough to prove intoxication. As a DWI defense attorney, I understand that it is essential to question the reliability of testimony presented by any officer including, and especially, DREs.
Marijuana, prescription drugs and other controlled substances can often be detected in a person’s blood or urine long after the intoxicating effects of the present drug have worn off and the driver is no longer intoxicated. For instance, a person can test positive for THC– the intoxicating compound in marijuana– can be detected in a person’s system days and weeks after the drug has worn off. As part of your defense, I will challenge any evidence of intoxication presented, and question if you were actually impaired at the time of your arrest.
The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are the same as the penalties for drunken driving. For a first conviction the offender will be sentenced to driver’s license revocation for three months, fines between $300 and $500, the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and all recommended counseling at their expense. Other penalties include drastically increased insurance premiums, a $1,000 per year surcharge by the Motor Vehicle Commission, and a permanent conviction on the driving record. These are serious penalties so it is wise to have legal representation when faced with a DWI.
There are a number of aspects of a DWI arrest that as a DWI attorney I will aggressively explore in your defense. I will determine if the arresting officer had probable cause to pull you over, and if there was enough suspicion of intoxication to require a field sobriety testing. I can also challenge the reliability of field sobriety tests and observations of your intoxication.
A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs is a motor vehicle offense, but it is nonetheless a serious charge and will affect all aspects of the charged individual’s life. If you are facing DWI charges in Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Union County, Middlesex or Somerset County, contact my office to schedule a consultation and discuss the possible defense strategies that may avoid conviction.