Pennsauken NJ Drug DUI Lawyer
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Defense Attorney in Camden County, New Jersey
While most DWI offenses involve motorists who are impaired due to the use of alcohol, it is also common for motorists in New Jersey to be arrested and charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of drugs. The penalties for a DUI drug offense are similar to the penalties for a DWI alcohol offense: possible jail time, suspension of your driver’s license, fines, community service, and alcohol education classes, with enhanced penalties and mandatory jail time if the offender has a prior DUI conviction on their record within the last 10 years. DUI charges are often accompanied by criminal charges for possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or possession of drug paraphernalia. Whether issued in isolation or conjunction with others, DUI drug charges can spell severe penalties that have the potential to significantly impact your life. As such, it is critical to enlist an experienced attorney who can mount a compelling defense on your behalf.
William Fay is a highly skilled DUI defense lawyer with years’ experience fighting drunk driving and driving under the influence charges in New Jersey. Having achieved dismissals in courts across New Jersey, Mr. Fay has earned accolades and rave reviews from clients. For instance, one former client described his experience as follows:
“I have 2 DWI’s and multiple driving while suspended. Approximately 5 months ago I sleep-drove and totaled my girlfriends’ car. The charges were driving while suspended and driving while suspended after a DWI. The sentence for this is a mandatory 180 days in county jail and a fourth degree felony. Mr Fay by some miracle had the case remanded back to Municipal and I received an extremely favorable outcome. He is an approachable knowledgeable advocate for his client. I would still be in Camden County Jail if it wasn’t for him.”
Call 609-832-3202 for immediate assistance and a cost-free consultation.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRUG DUI OFFENSES AND ALCOHOL DWI
In New Jersey, driving under the influence of drugs (DUI) is subsumed under the broader categorization of “Driving under the Influence” offenses, which also includes first, second, third, and subsequent driving while intoxicated offenses. All of these offenses entail the operation of a motor vehicle while “impaired” under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 of the New Jersey revised statutes. Under New Jersey law, driving impaired means a driver who has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, or one who is under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug. Notably, the term “drug” may also refer to a pharmaceutical medication for which you have a valid prescription.
There are significant differences between the Driving While Intoxicated and Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. First, operating a vehicle while impaired by a narcotic is far more difficult to prove by law enforcement. This is because the standard Alcotest used to determine an individuals BAC does not exist for a controlled dangerous substance like marijuana, cocaine, heroin or ambien. Officers can only prove the existence of a narcotic in your system through an admission, blood sample or urine sample. Furthermore, there is no “implied consent” to provide a blood or urine sample to officers (to determine if you have drugs in your system) as there is for providing a breath sample for the Alcotest. This typically means that DUIs involving drugs do not involve the common secondary violation for Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test.
The second difference between a DUI involving drugs and a DWI involving alcohol is that the degree of “intoxication” won’t have an impact on the nature of a Drug DUI. Unlike a first offense alcohol DWI where your BAC will have a direct impact on your penalty, a Drug DUI has no varying degrees of penalty based on the amount of drugs consumed. However, this also means that even a minor amount of impairment from a narcotic can result in a DUI charge while alcohol impairment below .08% may not result in a DWI charge.
Please note, not all DUI charges involve the use of illegal narcotics. In fact, when it comes to enforcing DUI laws, law enforcement won’t care whether you were under the influence of crack cocaine or over-the-counter cough syrup. All that matters is that you were impaired and unable to safely operate your motor vehicle, in the estimation of the police officer. This means that showing the officer proof that you lawfully obtained the medication from a doctor or pharmacy won’t shield you against being arrested and charged with a DUI, nor will it function as an effective defense at trial.
What are the Penalties for Drug DUI in New Jersey
New Jersey’s DWI Statute, found in section N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, also addresses offenses for driving under the influence of drugs (DUI). The statute says:
“A person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of… narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug… or permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control.”
The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUI) in New Jersey are as follows:
- A fine of $300-$500
- Imprisonment for up to 30 days
- A license suspension between 7 months and 1 year
- A minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
- An automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years
How Can I Defend Against DUI Charges in New Jersey
Although DWI and DUI cases are by nature, very similar, they are prosecuted somewhat differently. While DWI cases typically rely on evidence such as breathalyzer tests, DUI cases often utilize blood tests or urinalysis to confirm the presence of a controlled dangerous substance in the driver’s system. This form of confirmation has inherent pitfalls, because drugs like marijuana can linger in a person’s system for weeks after initial ingestion. As a result, the State often employs Drug Recognition Experts (DRE’s) who are trained to identify observable signs of being under the influence of drugs. A DRE may be called upon to evaluate a person suspected of being under the influence, after which he or she will provide an assessment that may be used at trial. Although DRE’s are trained to assess physical indicators such as pupil size, as well as behavioral signs, such as slowed or slurred speech, there is no exact science by which to confirm their accuracy. The truth is that the police officer in your DUI case may have incorrectly assumed your jetlag, exhaustion or concussion (if involved in an accident) was an indicia of impairment. This is because those conditions mirror those of impairment and officers are sometimes inclined to assume impairment when a more rational reason may exist. Therefore, it may be possible for a DUI defense attorney to get the charges against you dismissed if, after a thorough review of your case, there is evidence to fight the officer’s allegations. For a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney, there are a wide variety of ways to successfully combat DUI charges.
Contact a Cherry Hill NJ DUI Drug Attorney to Discuss Your Case
If you or someone you love has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUI) in Camden County or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact our firm at 609-832-3202 to discuss your case. Mr. Fay will answer all of your questions and provide you with a cost-free consultation.