Experienced Union NJ Marijuana DUI Lawyers Defending Your Case
Many clients charged with driving under the influence of marijuana come to us under the mistaken belief that they cannot be charged with a DUI. Specifically, clients understandably believe that because they did not drink or get drunk without alcohol, they cannot be found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI). This is untrue, as you can be accused of driving under the influence of marijuana or any drug, with the exception of being charged with a DUI under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Additionally, you may face several motor vehicle tickets such as reckless driving, careless driving, or possession of CDS in a motor vehicle. Nonetheless, just because you have been charged with a marijuana related DUI does not mean that there is nothing you can do. You can start defending your case by calling our experienced Union County marijuana DUI lawyers today. The attorneys at our defense firm have successfully defended a multitude of DUI cases involving marijuana, including those arising from traffic stops in Union Township, Cranford, Clark, Scotch Plains, Westfield, Roselle Park, and Rahway. If you would like to discuss a charge for driving under the influence of marijuana with a well-versed DUI defense lawyer, contact our office at (908)-838-0150. Consultations are provided absolutely free of charge.
DUI Charges for Driving under the Influence of Marijuana in New Jersey
N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 is the motor vehicle law pertaining to DWI charges as a whole. Under this section of the law, anyone may be charged with the offense of driving under the influence if he or she is alleged to have operated a motor vehicle while:
Under the influence of alcohol;
Under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.
For this charge to stand up in court, it must be demonstrated that your ability to drive was impaired by alcohol/liquor or drugs. The allegation of drugged driving will be placed on a summons or ticket, setting forth a date and time upon which you must appear in the Municipal Court where the offense was allegedly committed. At some point during the pendency of your charges, you will resolve the matter or have a trial. At a trial, the prosecutor must prove that you drove while under the influence of marijuana and that your ability to drive was compromised by the presence of the substance in your system. Marijuana is said to slow reaction times, impair judgement, and cause a decrease in a driver’s motor coordination. This may be reflected or otherwise said to be reflected in the manner in which a person operates a car.
Marijuana DUI Arrests often Happen after Traffic Stops in NJ
When charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, the initial encounter with police usually involves a violation of the motor vehicle code. For example, if the police are behind you on the roadway and witness you committing certain driving infractions such as failing to maintain a lane, failing to stop, not using a blinker, driving recklessly or carelessly, moving too slowly, traveling too closely, not moving right, or swerving, they can pull you over. When an officer approaches the car, he will pay careful attention to your every move. Once you are pulled over, they may then suspect that you are under the influence and that the marijuana was the reason for the manner in which you drove. Does your car smell like marijuana? Does he see evidence of drugs or alcohol in the car? Are your eyes bloodshot, watery, or droopy? Are you fumbling for your documents? Is your speech slow and slurred or rapid or indiscernible? Can you answer questions clearly? All of these questions may come into play.
The answers to these questions, coupled with the motor vehicle infraction(s), time of day, and officer’s observations, may lead a police officer to suspect you of DUI. If so, he will have you step out of the car to perform field sobriety tests and then possibly call for backup officers to come and search the car. If you fail the field tests or perform poorly, you will be taken back to the police station and given a breathalyzer. Often in drug cases, the blood alcohol content (BAC) reading from the Alcotest is zero and the officer who suspects you of a DUI will call in a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). The arresting officer generally requires the assistance of the DRE once he rules out any possibility of an alcohol-based DUI. If your BAC shows that you are over the legal limit of alcohol concentration in your breath samples, you will likely be charged with the DUI solely based on the BAC reading, as it is generally easier to prove a DWI for alcohol than for drugs.
Drug Recognition Expert Evaluations for Marijuana DUI Offenses
The DRE is an officer who purportedly has specialized training and skills used in detecting the presence of drugs in someone’s system. He will perform a series of tests used to rule in, or rule out the ingestion of substances that allegedly impaired your ability to drive. This may include urine or blood samples that are collected and sent to the lab. But the truth is that the testing used by the DRE may not be scientifically reliable. Some may even go so far as to say that the testing is a matter of junk science. This issue has been litigated and the subject of much debate, so much so, that the Supreme Court decided to look into the issue of the scientific reliability in State v. Olenowski, after which a Special Master was appointed to further investigate. Part of the issue is that there is no quantifiable way to make a correlation between the level of marijuana in your system (if blood work is drawn) and the current impairment. Unlike alcohol, there is no way to prove that at the peak of the THC in your bloodwork is the peak of your so-called high.
For this reason, the state will need to use a combination of the above factors to establish that your driving was impaired. In some situations, fighting a marijuana DUI involves arguments that the DRE’s assessment is lacking in some manner and should not be relied upon by court. As such, the prosecutor will attempt to argue that the attendant circumstances prove that you drove while under the influence of marijuana. It should be noted that a DRE report can be used, but is not necessary to obtain a conviction if other evidence supports a driving under the influence of marijuana charge.
Ways to Defend a DUI Marijuana Case in New Jersey
Simply because the police make the assertion that you drove while under the influence does not mean that a seasoned DUI defense lawyer cannot challenge the sufficiency of the evidence in your case. Our aggressive DUI attorneys regularly challenge the initial motor vehicle stop by filing a motion to suppress the stop and corresponding evidence. In doing so, we force the officer’s assertions about why they pulled you over into the spotlight. Some of the officer’s testimony may not make sense or may be contradicted by the actual evidence included in the discovery package. We may also challenge the sufficiency of the DRE’s alleged “evidence” and the methods used in making a determination that you were operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
More often than not, the DRE’s ultimate finding conforms to the suggestions made by the initial arresting officer. For example, if the cop says your speech was slow, your eyes were red, the car reeked of marijuana, and he found a baggie of weed, chances are that the DRE’s testimony would conform to a finding of a marijuana DUI. In other cases, our lawyers can challenge the taking of any urine or blood samples or seek to suppress the search warrant pertaining to same. We may also choose to have an expert refute the findings of the officer. There is no one way to challenge a DUI involving marijuana, but you can improve your chances of reaching a better outcome by hiring a highly knowledgeable and credentialed lawyer with experience handling DWIs in the courts of New Jersey.
Charged with a DUI for Marijuana in NJ, What am I Facing?
The impacts of being charged and convicted of a marijuana DUI in New Jersey are expansive. For those found guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana or any other controlled dangerous substance, the law imposes the follows:
First Offense: fine of $300-$500, 12-48 hours IIDRC, up to 30 days in jail, 7-12 month suspension, insurance and state motor vehicle surcharges
Second offense: fine of $500-$1,000, community service up to 30 days, 48 hours IDRC, up to 90 days in jail, loss of license 1-2 years, insurance and state motor vehicle surcharges
Third offense:$1,000 fine, mandatory 180 days in jail, IDRC, all fines, penalties and surcharges apply
Contact Cranford NJ Marijuana DUI Attorneys Well-Equipped for Your Defense
Due to complexities and the severity of the consequences you face if you find yourself charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in New Jersey, you should speak with a knowledgeable marijuana DUI lawyer about the strategies and essentials for challenging your charges. William A. Proetta is among the select few attorneys recognized in the entire state of New Jersey as a DUI Detection and Standard Field Sobriety Testing Instructor by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Our firm has several other Certified Alcotest operators in addition to Mr. Proetta as well. With the critical insight that we have into DWI prosecutions and evidence gathering, we will pick apart your case with diligent attention to potential ways to get the charges dismissed. Whether it was Mountainside, Roselle, Berkeley Heights, Summit, Fanwood, Hillside, or another town in Union County where you were arrested for DUI on marijuana, call our law firm today for the dedicated counsel you want on your side. You can reach us 24/7 at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have office locations conveniently located in Jersey City, Edison, Middletown, Cranford, Burlington, and Hamilton. All major credit cards are accepted