New Jersey Drugged Driving: Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana is Considered a DWI
Under New Jersey law, motorists can be guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence any controlled substance including narcotics, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drugs – not just alcohol. Additionally, charges for DWI can also be brought against if an individual permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a car owned by him or in his custody. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 39:4-50.
However, just because you or someone you care about has been charged with a DWI, it does not mean you should be convicted on the charges. In order to protect your legal rights and fight the charges, you need to immediately contact an experienced New Jersey DWI defense attorney.
How a Prosecutor Can Prove Evidence of Marijuana Impairment Under DWI Charges
Although N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 is drafted in terms of “driving while intoxicated” from alcohol, the statute is designed to address intoxication from any controlled substance, including drugs like marijuana. However, testing for the presence of marijuana is not as easy as it is to test for alcohol. As such, prosecutors must use other methods to prove impairment.
Below are some common types of evidence prosecutors can use to prove impairment:
- Driver conduct, including when a driver weaves frequently, runs red lights or stop signs, or displays other concerning actions while behind the wheel
- Evidence noted during a legal traffic stop, including:
- Driver’s admission of marijuana use
- Physical symptoms of marijuana intoxication
- Smell of marijuana
- Field sobriety testing specifically geared towards impairment based on marijuana
After being arrested for driving while under the influence, a driver may be asked to undergo chemical testing. Unlike a driver who is arrested on the suspicion of driving and driving, DWI marijuana motorists are not give the option of a blood or breath tests. Since there is not breath test available for the detection of marijuana, a blood test is the only option. The result of a blood tests detects the concentration of THC in the driver’s blood. If the THC levels are high, then the prosecution will use the test result as additional evidence of a driver’s impairment.
If you have been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, you can count on the experienced and knowledgeable New Jersey DWI attorneys at Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC to get protect your legal rights.
Call us at 908-355-7100 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one our driving while intoxicated lawyers today.