Study Finds More Fatal Crashes Linked to Drugged Driving than Drunk Driving

pillsIf you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, you need the help of a skilled New Jersey drug DWI attorney who can help. A driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction can have serious and far-reaching consequences for your life. Thus, such a charge should not be taken lightly. Our firm can assess the merits of your case and evaluate any and all potential defenses that may be applicable.

In New Jersey, the basic offense of a DWI takes place when a person operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above. Under state law, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if your ability is impaired, even if you took prescription or over-the-counter drugs. In other words, the drugs do not have to be illegal to form the basis of a DWI.

A recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that drugged driving is becoming more of an issue on the roads, and more and more drivers in deadly crashes are found with drugs in their system. In fact, the study found that more drivers were high than drunk in 2016. Over the past decade, the rate of drunk driving has decreased by about 3 percent, but drugged driving has increased by 16 percentage points from 2006 to 2016. Consider the following:  approximately 44 percent of drivers who died in car crashes in 2016 were on drugs at the time, while in 2006, only 28 percent were.

Funded by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, the report found that among the drug-tested fatally injured drivers in 2016, 38 percent tested positive for marijuana, 16 percent tested positive for opioids, and 4 percent tested positive for both.

Quantifying the problem of drug impairment behind the wheel is challenging due to the lack of universally accepted testing methods to measure for it. In addition, many drivers who are involved in crashes, or even killed, are simply not tested for drugs. Just over 50 percent of deceased drivers were tested for drugs or alcohol after they died.

Drug-based DWI prosecutions in New Jersey are typically based on a laboratory report of a blood or urine sample, the observations of a police officer, or both. Specially trained police officers are employed by many police departments specifically for the purpose of determining which drug a defendant may have consumed. These officers will perform a variety of tests, some of which mirror general field sobriety tests.

There may be a number of defenses that are applicable in your drug DWI case. For example, state police laboratory reports are considered testimonial evidence. As a result, you have the constitutional right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses involved in taking and testing the sample in your case. If there is any suggestion that the state broke the chain of custody of a urine or blood sample, it may prove to be an invaluable defense. This is just one example of a complicated defense that may be applicable. There may be much simpler ones available in your case, such as the officer pulling you over without probable cause. Either way, we can examine your case and figure out a strategic way to defend you.

Have you been charged with a drug DWI in New Jersey? If so, you need to contact an experienced New Jersey drug DWI attorney who can help. To speak to us in more detail about your case, call us today at 877-450-8301 or contact us online.

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