As drunk driving defense attorneys, my colleagues and I have for many years represented dozens of motorists accused of driving while intoxicated by alcohol. Young or old, male or female, the odds of being picked up for a DWI here in the Garden State can be quite high, especially if a person makes one too many driving errors in the presence of a local patrolman or state trooper. But being accused of DWI is just one side of the coin; drug DUI is another equally costly charge that many motorists are hit with day in and day out across the Garden State.
Just like alcohol-related charges, New Jersey drivers can be arrested under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a) for operating a car, truck or motorcycle while under the influence of a legal or illegal drug if that substance is deemed a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-forming drug. In order for a charge like this to stick, it usually needs to be supported by the professional opinion of an expert in the field, though it should be remembered that at this time the requirement is relaxed while on appeal in the New Jersey court system.
To understand the phrase, “under the influence,” it is important to recognize that it means a “substantial deterioration or diminution” of a driver’s mental faculties or physical capabilities. As we mentioned above, this applies as much to intoxicating liquor as it does to doctor-prescribed medication that is narcotic or habit producing in nature. As one can imagine, illegal drugs such as cocaine and marijuana are also recognized under the state’s DWI statutes since they can also deteriorate a person’s mental and physical capacity.
Police often point to a driver’s inability to maintain his or her lane, driving at unusually slow speeds or operating a car in some kind of “erratic” manner as indicative of being intoxicated, and hence warranting a DWI or drug DUI charge. While a patrolman might suspect that a driver is under the influence of drugs because of physical symptoms like bloodshot or glassy eyes or a lack of fine-motor skills, these types of “symptoms” can also be the result of a number of other conditions.
Because there can be so many different causes of perceived intoxication, it is always a good idea to speak with a qualified DUI attorney so that you might be able to learn if a current medical condition might explain an officer’s decision to charge you with a drug DUI offense. In order to determine if a motorist was operating a car or truck while under the influence of some kind of drug, the court can accept two modes of proof; either through expert testimony or via all available physical evidence combined with scientific test results.
Whatever the prosecution chooses to bring as evidence, it may be important to consider the reasons leading up to a drug DUI, if indeed it can be proven that the arrest was justified and the that defendant was indeed impaired at the time of the arrest. Sadly, just as some drunk driving defendants may have a drinking problem, just as many accused drug DUI offenders can be habitual addicts. Thinking about this, we ran across a news release that talked about a rehab center in the Marlton, NJ, area.
According to the article, new treatment s are being used at the Drug Rehab Center Marlton to help alcoholics stay sober, which makes us wonder if the same is being done for drug users. Based on the news reports, the center has helped many patients return to a life of sobriety and has taken its mission to the next level. The staff at the Drug Rehab Center Marlton offers a comprehensive “life skills” program that is designed to help recovering alcoholics assimilate back into a generally sober society.
While many drug and alcohol rehab facilities simply focus on helping individuals reach a sober state, they apparently don’t go far enough, according to the professionals at the Marlton facility. Based on the news article, the rehab center strives to help patients adjust to living within society on a daily basis by providing them with the necessary tools to deal with family and professional responsibilities.
This is heartening news, since it is obvious to DWI-DUI lawyers that there are people out there who need more help than simply slapping them with thousands of dollars’ worth of DWI or drug DUI penalties and then taking away their driver’s licenses and sometimes making life harder for them. We can only hope that many more rehab facilities throughout the country follow this kind of comprehensive treatment program, which could help tens of thousands of Americans who suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction to ease back into a more happy and productive way of life.
Drug Rehab Center Marlton Brings Hope to Those Seeking Sobriety, Newsday.com, September 27, 2013