You are Exposed to Serious Repercussions for Drugged Driving in NJ, as Penalties are Distinct from Drunk Driving
If you turn on the local news for five minutes or visit any local news website, you would not be hard-pressed to see that drugs are taking over the minds and bodies of all those around us. There have been very serious accidents that have been the result of drivers under the influence of serious and dangerous drugs. These drugs have been both prescribed and obtained illegally. It is important to note that it does not matter how legal the drugs are; what matters is if you were under the influence of these drugs while you were driving a vehicle.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs versus Alcohol Consumption for DWI in NJ
Under New Jersey state law, there is no difference in the statute that you are charged with if you are caught driving under the influence of drugs versus alcohol. However, the penalties of such are greatly affected, and the consequences can be different as well. For example, 39:4-50 relies heavily on the Blood Alcohol Content of the driver in terms of sentencing, however, with drugs, obviously there is not a BAC level to refer to. Therefore, sentencing may depend upon other factors that your attorney can coach you on.
What Substances Can Lead to a New Jersey Drug DUI Offense?
Driving Under the Influence can arise from driving under the influence of illicit substances such as heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and hallucinogens such as acid, mushrooms and/or PCP. People typically take these drugs not realizing that they will be driving later on. Regardless of the reason, if you drive under the influence of a controlled and dangerous substance, you are liable to cause a lot of damage.
Oftentimes, people drive while under the influence of prescription drugs that they have obtained completely legally. It does not matter how you obtained the drugs, what matters is that you drove under the influence of a mood and/or mind altering drug. You will be charged either way.
Consequences for First, Second, Third Offenses in DUI on Drugs Cases in New Jersey
Driving under the influence of drugs can still result in a loss of license, even though no alcohol was involved and your blood alcohol content cannot be ascertained. Specifically, driving under the influence of CDS can lead to losing your driving privileges for seven to twelve months for a first offense if you are convicted.
For a first offense the accused faces fines between $300 and $500 thirty days incarceration, attendance at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center between 12 and 48 hours, as well as a $230 IDRC fee. They also pay $100 to Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund, $100 to the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund, $75 to the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund, $50 to the Violent Crimes Compensation Board, as well as $1,000 motor vehicle surcharge fee for three years. You may also face license suspension from 7 months to one year and up to 30 days in jail.
For a second offense within 10 years of the first offense, fines jump up to between $500 and $1000, 2 year loss of license, 30 days community service, 48 hours in jail (or in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center), no more than 90 days in jail, as well as an ignition interlock device to be installed and used for one to three years.
A third offense is a $1,000 fine, 10-year loss of license and 180 days in jail. Half of the jail sentence may be spent in an inpatient facility as long as it is approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
How are Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Charges Proven in New Jersey?
Typically, state cases for driving under the influence are proven through circumstantial evidence. This is usually the case for driving while intoxicated cases in which the driver was inebriated. The state will try to introduce evidence that shows the driving patterns of the driver before they were pulled over, they will try to show the behavior of the driver (possibly through dash cam footage or body cam footage), and they may try to introduce evidence such as field sobriety tests.
It’s important to remember that the police may also administer a blood test and/or a urine test, that you are unable to refuse given that there is sufficient probable cause. If you do refuse to submit to a blood and/or urine test, then you face another charge with severe consequences if you are convicted.
Another tool in the arsenal of many police stations throughout New Jersey is that they use Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). These police officer are specially-qualified to respond to a scene of suspected driving under the influence of drugs and administer several tests in order to ascertain if the driver was under the influence while they were driving and what drug they were possibly using before they drove.
Get Help with DUI vs. DWI in NJ
There are many reasons to hire a solid New Jersey DUI defense lawyer, the first being that the experience of your attorney will prove invaluable when attempting to circumvent the life-altering consequences of the charges against you. Since these cases are proven largely on circumstantial evidence, witness testimony, expert testimony, etc., an experienced lawyer can attack every minute aspect of the process of your arrest to charge and show the judge exactly where reasonable doubt exists.
A talented DUI attorney can also help you with the mitigating aspects that may help you after the fact, such as enrolling in treatment and proactively addressing any issues that may have initially led you to the charges in Randolph, Mendham, Mount Olive, Morristown, Parsippany, East Hanover, Rockaway, Denville, and other towns in Morris County and New Jersey. These cases are very difficult for both parties because there is a lot at stake, but you can put your best foot forward by enlisting the assistance of a DUI attorney for your best defense. Call 973-524-7238 or message us to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.