New Jersey Court Discusses Evidence Needed to Demonstrate Guilt in a Drug DUI Case

In New Jersey, it is unlawful to drive while under the influence of any intoxicating substance. Thus, a person who is impaired due to the use of illicit drugs may be charged with a DUI offense. The field sobriety tests for determining whether a person is impaired due to the use of drugs differ from those in cases involving alcohol, and because drug DUI crimes are less common than alcohol-induced DWI charges, the tests are not widely employed. That does not mean the results of such testing will be deemed inadmissible, however, as demonstrated in a recent ruling in which the court upheld the defendant’s conviction for DUI, finding there was sufficient evidence to establish his guilt. If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs, it is smart to consult a New Jersey DUI defense lawyer regarding your possible defenses.

The Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

Reportedly, the police stopped the defendant in response to a call regarding an erratic driver. When they spoke with the defendant, they noted his pupils were constricted, and his speech was slurred and slow. One of the officers observed needle marks and bruises on the defendant’s arm and a plastic bag similar to the ones typically used for heroin in the defendant’s car as well.

Allegedly, due to the suspicion that the defendant was under the influence of drugs, the police conducted a thirteen-part drug influence evaluation (DIE). The defendant performed poorly on the DIE, and based on his results and behavior, he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The defendant was found guilty as charged following a trial in the law division, after which he appealed, arguing that the DIE evidence should not have been admitted because the State failed to demonstrate that such evidence was reliable or generally accepted.

Evidence Needed to Demonstrate Guilt in a Drug DUI Case

On appeal, the defendant argued that the State failed to set forth an adequate foundation that DIE was accepted in the scientific community or was a reliable indicator to support a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs, and therefore, the arresting officer’s testimony regarding the defendant’s performance during the DIE should have been suppressed. The court noted, however, that the defendant’s argument ignored the fact that the judge in the lower court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the defendant’s conviction, regardless of the DIE test. In other words, his conviction did not rely solely on DIE evidence. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the defendant’s conviction.

Meet with a Skillful New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney

While most New Jersey DUI offenses arise out of the use of alcohol, driving while under the influence of drugs is unlawful as well and can result in drug DUI charges. If you are accused of driving while impaired, it is prudent to meet with an attorney to discuss your options. The skillful New Jersey DWI defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the skills and experience needed to obtain favorable results, and, if we represent you, we will work diligently to help you seek a just outcome. You can reach us via our form online or at 877-450-8301 to set up a meeting.

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