For those who have been arrested or charged with driving under the influence of either prescription drugs or other, possibly illegal substances (also known as drug DUI), you may wonder if the police and the prosecutor’s office have the necessary evidence to secure a guilty verdict in court. Depending on the circumstances, one should always consider consulting a qualified DWI defense attorney; one with experience in representing motorists charged with drunken driving and drug DUI.
As New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyers, I and my colleagues are trained to work with the facts and understand the State’s evidence against and individual. Whether one lives or works in Bergen, Monmouth, Ocean or Atlantic County, the law is clear when it comes to charges related to DUIs tied to prescription medication and even illicit drugs like marijuana and cocaine.
Defending a person accused of drug DUI has certain differences from an alcohol-related DWI case. Here in the Garden State, a charge of drug DUI can be levied against a New Jersey motorist who may be suspected of driving while impaired due to a possible controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or doctor-prescribed medication. These include any narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-forming drug.
State law specifies that driving is strictly prohibited when a motorist is impaired by drugs such as marijuana or cocaine, as well as narcotics — including prescription drugs such as morphine. From a technical point of view, here in New Jersey the standard of proof needed to establish a drug DWI (narcotics or other CDS) has been established in the 2006 case of State v. Bealor. Furthermore, the case law that establishes the definition of a narcotic for purposes of DWI offenses is found in the 1975 decision from State v. DiCarlo.
Because New Jersey’s implied consent law is limited to only alcohol, a motorist is not legally required to provide a blood, breath, or urine sample if he or she is of driving under the influence of drugs. However, for commercial truckers — or anyone for that matter with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) — there is no exemption and the law requires these commercial operators to submit to a chemical test if they are suspected of drug DUI or if he or she is involved in a traffic accident.
A short time ago an out-of-state driver was arrested by police in Hudson County and charged with driving under the influence of a CDS. According to reports, a 56-year-old West New York man was driving a ’98 Honda down 58 Street just after 2am early on a Sunday morning when a police vehicle responding to a separate call was apparently hit by the suspect after the Honda missed a stop sign at the Hudson Ave. intersection.
Police reports indicate that the man then drove away from the crash site; giving chase, police caught up with the suspect’s vehicle and made a traffic stop. The driver reportedly got out of his vehicle and apologized to the officers and, at the same time, police noticed evidence of what appeared to be cocaine powder beneath the driver’s nose. Officers reportedly also detected the odor of alcohol on the man.
Police determined that the driver was overly intoxicated; so much so that they decided not to ask the suspect to perform any of the standardized field sobriety tests. The man was arrested at a small bag of cocaine, apparently discovered on his person during a pad-down, was also recovered. Police transported the suspect to Palisades Medical Center to have blood drawn. A passenger, who was apparently not charged, was also taken to the hospital for medical treatment of reportedly minor injuries.
West New York man charged with assault by auto, DUI, possession of controlled substance: cops, NJ.com, October 20, 2011