Article by Daniel A. Levy
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in New Jersey, and it can have severe consequences. While everyone knows that you can be convicted if you drink and drive, it is important to remember that driving while intoxicated on drugs and legal medication can also result in a conviction for DUI. These cases became particularly relevant when marijuana was legalized and during the explosion of prescription pain killers that occurred in the recent past.
If you are pulled over by the police and accused of driving while on drugs, it is important to know what to do. Here are some tips to help you:
- Stay calm and be polite: If you are pulled over by the police, stay calm and be polite. Do not argue with the officer or try to explain your situation. Instead, be respectful and follow their instructions.
- Do not admit guilt: If the officer asks if you have been using drugs, do not admit guilt. Simply tell them that you do not wish to answer any questions without an attorney present.
- Contact an attorney: If you are ticketed for DUI, it is important to contact an attorney right away. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and the charges against you. They can also help you build a strong defense and represent you in court.
New Jersey has strict laws that prohibit driving while high on drugs. According to New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.) 39:4-50, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug. This means that perfectly legal substances can also result in a conviction. For example, marijuana is legal in this state, but obviously intoxicating. Also, prescription medication may also fall under the statute and taking medication, even by following your doctor’s instructions exactly, could result in a conviction. If you are convicted of DUI, you could face fines, jail time, and the loss of your driver’s license.
Another factor to consider is that there are no real tests for drug intoxication. Alcohol can be tested for using the Alcotest machine, which is scientifically reliable and will tell us what a person’s blood alcohol content is. Anything at the level of 0.08% BAC or higher is considered “intoxicated” as a matter of law (note that a person could be convicted with a lower BAC, depending on how the alcohol affects their faculties). There is no machine at a police station that tests for the level of marijuana, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or any other substances. That makes these cases much more complicated, and a defendant may have several good defenses to the ticket. This is because police often try to use Drug Recognition Exams to “test” whether someone is intoxicated. But those exams have not been shown to be scientifically reliable and they are basically a fancy way for an officer to claim that a person is intoxicated based on the officer’s personal opinion.
If you are ticketed for DUI, it is important to call an attorney right away. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and the charges against you. They can also help you build a strong defense and represent you in court. Remember, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe, so it is important to take action right away.
In summary, if you are pulled over by the police and accused of driving while on drugs, stay calm and be polite. Do not admit guilt, and contact an attorney right away. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can fight the charges against you and protect your rights. If you or someone you know has been ticketed for DUI, call an attorney today to discuss your case.