It often comes as a shock when someone discovers that they may be arrested for driving under the influence of a prescribed drug. The same obviously holds true for illegal drugs such as heroin, marijuana, and cocaine, to name a few. To make matter worse, those arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs (a.k.a. DUI, DUID and drugged driving), often face a criminal offense for drug possession as well. If you find yourself in such a predicament in Bloomfield, East Orange, Newark or elsewhere in Essex County, we know how to help you avoid a conviction and the mandatory penalties which come with that, including loss of your driving privileges. Call our former DWI prosecutors for immediate assistance in defending your DUI/DUID offense. Initial consultations are free of charge so there is no reason to hesitate in contacting us at 973-710-1520.
What Is a DUI/DUID Under New Jersey Law
New Jersey’s DWI law, N.J.S. 39:4-50, renders it illegal to not only operate a motor vehicle with a BAC at or above .08%, but also to be driving under the influence of drugs, including a “narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” The goal of laws like these is to deter driving while under the influence of drugs as controlled dangerous substances are involved in a high percentage of fatal crashes (e.g. 3,952 of the fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2009 involved drugs). Driving under the influence of marijuana, referred to as marijuana DUI, is the most prevalent variety of DUID violation. While these statistics show that marijuana and other forms of drugged driving is more common than might be anticipated, there is also a lot more that goes into convicting someone for driving under the influence of drugs in the State of New Jersey. There are several reasons for this, most notably, the fact that presence of drugs in someone’s system does not necessarily indicate that they were impaired and unable to drive safely; it only evidences the existence of the controlled dangerous substance in the individual’s blood or urine. New Jersey law requires corroborating evidence of impairment to convict someone of a DUI/DUID since it is not what is called a zero tolerance state where presence of drugs in the blood alone is enough to convict. The specific form of evidence of impairment required in New Jersey is referred to as a drug recognition evaluation. A drug recognition expert (“DRE”) subjects the motorist to a series of tests designed to detect impairment. The results of this evaluation must demonstrate that the accused was not only impaired but by the class of drugs detected in his or her blood/urine. What the evaluation must essentially establish is a link between the drug found in his or her system and a violation of the DUI law, namely, the accused operating while under the influence.
Penalties For A Drug Related DUI
The penalties, including license suspension and jail term, can be severe if you are convicted of a drug related DUI violation under N.J.S. 39:4-50. The penalties for a first offense, second offense or third offense (or greater) are as follows:
First Offense. License suspension of 7-12 months, $300–$500 fine, $230 Intoxicated Driving Resource Center (“IDRC”) fee, $100 surcharge to the Drunk Driving Fund, $100 to AERF, $75 Safe Neighborhood Fund assessment, DMV surcharge of $1,000 per year for 3 years, up to 30 days in jail, 12-48 hours in the IDRC, and installation of an ignition interlock for the suspension period and 6-12 months following restoration.
Second Offense. License suspension of 2 years, $500-$1,000 fine, same assessments as above, 2-90 days in jail, 30 days community service, 48 hours in the IDRC, and an ignition interlock during the suspension period and 1-3 years following restoration.
Third Offense. License suspension of 10 years, $1,000 fine, same assessments except DMV surcharge increases to $1,500 per year, 180 days in jail, up to 90 days community service, and the same interlock requirements as those of a second offense.
Reach A Highly Experienced East Orange NJ Drug DUI Lawyer Immediately
Our attorneys are available 24/7 to assist individuals who have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs. A skilled DUI defense attorney from our team is ready to provide a free consultation so that you know your rights. Call us today for the necessary guidance to insure that you have the best opportunity for avoiding a DUI conviction, license suspension and other penalties.