Articles Posted in Marijuana DUI

To many people a DWI is just a DWI; it’s an instance of being charged by a police officer for driving under the influence of alcohol. However, there are other types of impaired driving offenses, the more serious of which can be those that go under the heading of drug DUI. While alcohol can and does affect a driver’s judgment, as well as his or her ability to react to traffic situations, drugs of all types can cause a person to be less able to operate a motor vehicle.

For the above reasons, the New Jersey legislature has enacted laws that make it illegal to drive a car, motorcycle or truck while impaired by any number of substances. Whether a motorist is impaired because of a bad prescription drug interaction, or due to the use of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) like marijuana or cocaine, our legal statutes (for instance, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50[a]) make it a chargeable offense for operating a vehicle while under the influence of hallucinogenic, narcotic, or habit producing drugs.

Unlike alcohol-based DWI offenses, a drug DUI charge has often been pursued by local prosecutors’ offices using expert opinions as to the effect that a certain type of substance had on the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. When approaching DWI and drug DUI cases, the term “under the influence” has generally been defined to mean a “substantial” deterioration or diminution of an individual’s mental faculties or physical capabilities due to an intoxicating liquor, a narcotic, a hallucinogenic or a habit producing drug.
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This being the Garden State it is not unusual to read about dozens of drunk driving arrests and drug-related DUI cases emanating any particular portion of the state. Certainly, Essex County is only one of a dozen or so jurisdictions that see concentrations of heavy DWI patrols and roadside sobriety checkpoint activities from time to time. As skilled DWI-DUI defense lawyers, the attorneys are the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are familiar with the potential volume of drunken driving cases moving through our state’s court system every month.

When considering cause and effect, it can be stated with a fair amount of certainty that an increase in anti-DWI and drug-DUI enforcement can have a direct impact on the number of drunken driving arrests in any one area, and as a result, more drunken driving cases in municipal courtrooms throughout these areas. We take no joy in the increased incidence of drunken driving, regardless of the reasons, but we are aware that a percentage of DWI arrests are based on weak or insufficient evidence.

In towns and cities all around New Jersey, the summertime driving season brings with it the promise of increased drunk driving patrols and other traffic safety enforcement efforts. Being DWI defense attorneys, I and my staff of experienced DWI lawyers fully understand how some drunk driving arrests may either be unwarranted or faulty in some way, shape or form. This is why we also recommend that any driver accused of DWI or drug DUI should, at the very least, consult a qualified DWI lawyer to better understand his or her options going forward.
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Driving while under the influence of marijuana in the Garden State is actually covered under the same statutes as the state’s alcohol-related DWI laws. While marijuana is the most common variety of “illegal” drug when it comes to a drug DUI charge, many motorists every year are accused of impaired operation of a motor vehicle because of cocaine, meth, heroin and other illicit substances, sometimes referred to as controlled dangerous substances or CDS.

As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, a portion of our work is representing individuals who have been stopped by a police officer for what would normally be a routine traffic infraction, yet who end up being arrested and charged with either drug DUI or CDS possession in a motor vehicle. As we mentioned previously, although the law (specifically, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) has been couched in terms of “driving while intoxicated” from alcohol, the statutes are written so as to include physical intoxication from any and all substance.

In addition to alcohol, the state’s DWI-DUI laws encompass impairment from all manner of CDS including narcotics, hallucinogens or any habit forming drugs. This is why, if a motorist is arrested for operating their vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, they are charged with a violation of the statues listed under 39:4-50. More importantly, however, unlike an alcohol-related DWI case (which usually entails evidence from a breathalyzer device such as the Alcotest machine), a marijuana-related DUI case usually involves scientific evidence in the form of a blood test or urine test.
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With the recent passage of ballot initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado legalizing marijuana for recreational use, it’s a fair bet that more than a few individuals in the Garden State probably feel the same way as voters in those states; marijuana is more and more becoming an accepted form of relaxation, not unlike the use of alcohol has been for decades across the United States. As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense attorneys, we know that just believing something is benign, harmless or just plain “okay” is not a sufficient defense in a court of law.

Law is the key here. Even if states do begin to loosen up their legal restrictions on the use of cannabis, weed, hash or whatever one chooses to call it, legal use of marijuana on a national scale make take longer. And, while the significance of these two separate state referendums should not be underestimated, experts tend to agree that this was just the first major victory for the marijuana legalization advocates in what will likely be a long battle. The sticking point is that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, which overrules these states’ rights.

So we’ve established that marijuana may have a future as a legal substance, but here in New Jersey, as in most every other state, it is still a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in the eyes of the government, and state and local law enforcement. Regardless of its status as one of the most commonly used drugs, at least that we have seen in our work as drug DUI defense lawyers, marijuana remains an illegal substance that can really cause a driver problems if convicted of driving while impaired by the substance.
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There’s no mistaking the fact that whatever you call it, weed, cannabis, hash or whatever, marijuana is clearly the most common illegal substance in use here in the Garden State. This drug is very often the cause of many arrests in cities such as Newark, Jersey City and Patterson and the subject of illegal drug charges defended by many criminal defense attorneys. Oddly, marijuana is also becoming legalized as a medicinal drug in many portions of the U.S. Nevertheless, recreational use is not legal and can get people in serious trouble with the law.

As one of the most common drugs of choice, with billions of dollars of the plant being grown in nearly every corner of the country, marijuana can get one arrested even if you aren’t smoking it. If a police officer pulls a driver over after observing a traffic offense, even a minor one, the opportunity exists for that patrolman to question the driver and other occupants of the vehicle. Here in the Garden State, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while in possession of marijuana, not to mention being impaired as a result of smoking or otherwise ingesting the drug.

As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense lawyers, our legal team has more than four decades of experience defending motorists against various types of charges including possession and distribution. In fact, there are numerous potential offenses involving weed and its possession, sale and use. These include: manufacturing and distribution, possession, use or sale in a school zone, possession of drug paraphernalia, operation of a marijuana grow house, possession in a passenger car or other motor vehicle, and others.
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Police blotters all around the Garden State paint a picture of the typical arrests that take place on a daily basis across this state. Whether in Passaic, Bergen, Atlantic or Ocean County, drunken driving charges are quite often on the menu for many motorists up and down the interstates and local roadways. For anyone who has ever wondered if they were the only one to receive a summons for driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs or even illicit drugs like marijuana or cocaine, understand that you are not alone.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, I and my legal staff firmly believe that every person accused of DWI or drug DUI has a right to have their day in court. We have represented numerous individuals who adamantly believed that they were innocent of the charges. As defense attorneys, our job is to fight for our clients in a court of law. While the circumstances may vary, the charges are usually quite similar. Our defense strategy, of course, depends on the particular details of the case and whether the accused has had any previous drunken driving convictions.

The following is a collection of impaired driving arrests from several municipalities in Sussex County not long ago. Those arrested and charged may or may not end up being convicted, but the stage has been set for each of them once the police have reasonable suspicion that the driver may have been operating his or her vehicle while intoxicated by beer, wine or doctor-prescribed medicine.
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With more than 40 years of collective litigation experience defending clients for such offenses as marijuana possession, driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, breath test refusal and drug DUI, my firm has the skills and experience to work in our clients’ best interests. Whether one lives in Bergen, Passaic, Ocean or Atlantic County, the law treats motorists the same when it comes to DWI/DUI offenses.

As a former Garden State municipal prosecutor, I myself have handled hundreds of similar cases for the state; for this reason alone, I and my legal staff understand the strategies used by state and local prosecutor’s officers to obtain convictions for drunken driving and drug DUI, among others. The attorney’s in my office routinely address courts throughout the state, representing clients who have been accused of possession, use and other cannabis-related offenses. No matter if a person is charged with marijuana possession, intent to distribute weed, or other marijuana associated offenses, we believe that everyone has the right to face their accusers and defend themselves in a court of law.

It has become abundantly clear over the years that marijuana is one of the most frequently used drugs out there. As a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), weed, Mary Jane, or whatever one chooses to call it, is obviously the most common drug we as drug DUI lawyers have encountered during our careers. With marijuana arrests almost as commonplace as those for DWI, it should not come as a surprise to learn that more than $30 billion of this illicit drug is grown in the U.S. annually.
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It could be an indication that economy is bouncing back more and more, or it might be that the NY Giants pulled off a nail-biting performance during Super Bowl XLVI. Whatever the reason, apparently more people were “celebrating” the occasion last weekend than this same time in 2008. And to what or whom do we owe this information? Why the New Jersey State Police, who else?

As drunken driving defense attorneys representing those Garden State residents who have been accused of DWI, drug DUI and other charges of impaired driving, we certainly understand the correlation between sporting event and holiday celebrations and the rise or fall in drunk driving arrests. Here in New Jersey, where anti-DWI campaigns are common and state and local police agencies flood the roadways with drunken driving saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints, there should never be any surprise as to the number of DWI and DUI arrests during any particular period of time.

This is not to say that New Jersey is unique, but we do get our share of drivers hitting the road while under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs and even illegal substances, such as marijuana, cocaine and meth-based drugs. Once charged by a state or municipal police officer, a driver typically must go before a judge to either defend himself against the charges or admit responsibility.
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There are always a few things that you don’t want to happen when it comes to driving drunk here in the Garden State. First, underage drinking (and even underage possession of alcohol) should be avoided since it can affect a youngster’s future without him or her even knowing it. Second, if one is bound and determined to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or prescription medication (drug DUI), don’t hit a police patrol car or injure an officer while you’re at it.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, I and my staff of experienced drunken driving attorneys understand that kids experiment with all manner of things and activities. Some are harmless, some simply embarrassing; but drinking and driving as a minor can put a real dent in one’s future. Of course, teenagers are not always receptive to this message, so it really goes out to all the parents.

This warning applies to families all across the state. Whether you live in Atlantic, Sussex, Ocean or Passaic County, DWI and drug DUI can be costly, not only financially but in terms of being potentially damaging to one’s social standing and career prospects as well. For teens, an arrest for DWI or drug DUI can affect individuals in their adult years as well, which makes it advisable to contact a qualified drunk driving defense attorney to better understand the charges against your underage son or daughter.

Earlier this month, two teenagers ended up in trouble at one of the many roadside DWI checkpoints that appear from time to time across the state. This one, in Monmouth County, was about to go into operation by the Holmdel police. According to news reports, police were setting up the roadblock when the incident occurred just before midnight.
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As we mentioned a while back, it’s relatively easy to get pulled over for a traffic-related offense here in New Jersey. In fact, something as minor as not making a complete stop at a controlled intersection, or not signaling a turn properly can result in a traffic stop. But it’s after this initial police stop that can get a motorist in really hot water — that is, receiving a summons for drinking and driving.

It makes little difference whether one is stopped for a non-working brake light or cracked windshield, if you live in Hudson, Ocean, Bergen or any of the other counties throughout the Garden State, chances are you will at one time or another be pulled over for some type of traffic infraction.

Once a patrolman has stopped a motor vehicle, the driver may be interviewed as to the reason for the offense. If the police officer detects alcohol or drug use, a whole other line of questions may ensue, which may or may not lead to an arrest for DWI or drug DUI. A percentage of traffic stops may result in some kind of marijuana-related charge, depending on the circumstances.

Not surprisingly, cannabis (or weed) is one of the more common illegal substances encountered by law enforcement officers patrolling this state’s highways. Similar in nature to a drunken driving traffic stop, being pulled over and subsequently charged with a (marijuana-related) drug DUI, or simply possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) like cannabis, is more common than many people may realize.
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