Charged With Being Under The Influence Of Drugs Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b)

In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b) of New Jersey Criminal Law, it is illegal for anyone to be under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”). The law does not apply, however, where the drug in question was legally prescribed by a licensed physician for the purpose of treatment of a sickness or injury. Although this variety of drug offense is the equivalent of a misdemeanor, there are serious consequences that will result from a conviction.  If you or a loved one was charged with being under the influence in Bloomfield, Newark, Livingston, Millburn or another town in Essex County, call us for assistance. Our Essex County Criminal Office can be reached 24/7 at 973-710-1520 for a free consultation.

What You Need To Know About This Charge

A charge for being under the influence could be as severe as a crime of the third degree, depending on the circumstances, or the charge may be for a disorderly persons offense. Accordingly, if convicted, you may face up to five (5) years in prison and a $35,000 fine. If you are facing charges for being under the influence of a CDS , then you would be well advised to seek out a competent and experienced attorney to protect your rights.
The State is required to prove that the defendant was under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, but they are not required to specify which substance. Generally, the State proves that a person was under the influence of CDS by showing the manifest physical and physiological symptoms or reactions caused by use of the substance. This can be proven through the assessments of a Drug Recognition Expert. The symptoms typically include needle marks, watery and inflamed nasal mucous, watery eyes, and a general sleepy disposition. However, this is not a comprehensive list of all the relevant markers that a Drug Recognition Expert will look for.

What Is A Drug Recognition Expert (“DRE”). Drug Recognition Experts were empowered for the first time in the 1970’s by the L.A. Police Department. To qualify as a DRE, police officers were given advanced training to enable them to recognize and categorize intoxication from various forms of CDS.  In New Jersey, DRE officers are most often utilized to assess and determine when a motorist is under the influence of drugs while operating a motor vehicle. DRE’s can also be used to determine whether someone is under the influence of a Controlled Dangerous Substance outside the context of a motor vehicle stop, which could result in a charge of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b). DRE’s use a 12-step evaluation procedure to exclude illness or injury as possible causes of the apparent impairment, however this process is not infallible. DRE reports can be strong evidence for the State, but a qualified defense attorney can scrutinize the report to ensure that proper procedures were followed and the correct conclusions were drawn.

Grading and Penalties If You Are Convicted Of Being Under The Influence Of CDS

It is a disorderly persons offense to be under the influence of CDS, and is punishable by up to six (6) months in jail. A person convicted of being under the influence of cocaine, heroin, or any other CDS will face a mandatory fine of $500. Additionally, there is a mandatory license suspension between six (6) months and two (2) years, as well as a forensic laboratory fee of $50. As a disorderly persons offense, this is non-indictable and carries a presumption of non-incarceration, though this presumption can be overcome by the State.

For additional assistance fighting an under the influence offense, call our Newark Office anytime of day at 973-710-1520. An experienced former prosecutor is ready to assist you now.