Legalizing Marijuana Would Affect DWI Stops in New Jersey or Other States

marijuanaAs the laws regarding marijuana continue to change in many states, police stops will change as well. Both drunk driving and drugged driving charges are extremely serious. If you or someone close to you has been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, you need to consult a diligent and hard-working New Jersey drugged driving lawyer who can assess the merits of your case. We are committed to protecting your rights at every step of the way.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found a 50 percent increase in the number of drivers with marijuana in their system between the years of 2007 and 2014. The NHTSA conducted its first far-reaching study to analyze collision risks related to drug and alcohol use in 2015. The study found those with THC in their system were 1.25 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident. However, when taking into account age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol use, the rise in accident risk with the presence of marijuana was inconsequential.

If the governor-elect follows through on his campaign promise to legalize marijuana, police will have to deal with significant changes when it comes to DWI stops in 2018. Among other things, one of law enforcement’s main concerns is the lack of a reliable field test for marijuana. There is no roadside test comparable to the Alcotest used for alcohol. As a result, testing for marijuana in New Jersey typically involves taking a urine sample from the defendant and sending it to the New Jersey State Police lab for analysis. In addition, most tests can show the presence of metabolized THC in urine or blood, but proving exactly when the drug was ingested is still not entirely possible.

The crime of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey involves getting behind the wheel while impaired by drugs or alcohol. New Jersey Statute 39:4-50 prohibits people from driving a motor vehicle under the influence of “any narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” As a result, marijuana use could easily give rise to a DWI charge, since it can affect an individual’s capability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner.

It is important to note that you have certain legal rights as a defendant. Currently, police can require you to submit to a chemical test in compliance with New Jersey’s implied consent law. Yet New Jersey’s implied consent law only mandates that drivers take a chemical test to figure out alcohol content in the blood, rather than marijuana content. This law will likely change if marijuana becomes legal in New Jersey. Still, we can examine your situation in detail to make sure none of your rights was violated.

If you were arrested for a DWI in New Jersey, do not forget that you have rights. Our experienced New Jersey DWI lawyers know how to protect those rights and can provide you with a vigorous defense in your case. We proudly represent clients from across the state. To discuss your rights and options in more detail, feel free to call us at 877-450-8301 or reach out to us online.

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