The Opioid Crisis and New Jersey DWIs

There is little doubt that the United States is facing a crisis involving opioid abuse and addiction. As a result, police and prosecutors have seen a rise in DWI cases involving various types of painkillers. If you or someone close to you has been arrested for a drug DWI, it is imperative to reach out to a skilled New Jersey drug DWI attorney without delay. With years of experience, we have the knowledge base needed to defend you throughout the entire legal process.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the opioid epidemic killed more than 33,000 people across the United States in 2015. That is an average of 91 opioid overdose deaths every day. Overdose deaths were nearly equal to the number of deaths from car accidents. In 2015, for the first time, deaths from heroin alone surpassed gun homicides. In New Jersey, at least 1,901 people died from opioid overdose in 2016. A study conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that prescription opioid pain killers led to impaired driving in many patients, creating a risk on the nation’s roads.

Due to the prevalence of opioid abuse, this issue is undoubtedly on law enforcement’s radar. New Jersey law makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by either alcohol or drugs or both. Put simply, it is illegal to drive under the influence of any impairing substance, whether it is illegal, over the counter, or prescription. This law is codified in New Jersey Statute 39:4-50, which prohibits persons from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of “any narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” Use of any or all of these medications can form the basis of a drugged driving charge in New Jersey.

In many cases, police officers confuse drug impairment with other causes. For example, the police officer may have thought you were impaired because of slurred speech, but you may have a medical condition that explains why your speech was that way. There may be other defenses in your case as well. Police may not have had a reasonable suspicion to stop you in the first place, in which case we can try to have all of the evidence based on the stop excluded from the case. If that happens, your case could be dismissed, since the state would no longer have the evidence it needed to move forward. Alternatively, the chemical testing on which the charges were based may have been flawed. Of course, we cannot be sure which defenses will be appropriate in your case until we examine your case thoroughly.

A DWI charge or conviction for drugs is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. If you or someone close to you has been arrested for driving under the influence of prescription drugs, you need the help of a seasoned New Jersey DWI attorney. We understand the nuances of this area of law and can defend even the most complex and seemingly hopeless DWI charges. If you want to discuss you drug DWI charges with us in more detail, call us for a free consultation at 877-450-8301 or reach out to us online.

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