If you’re facing marijuana DUI/DWI charges, you’re probably wondering what penalties you face and your chances of conviction. This article will help you understand both. In New Jersey, the same law applies whether you’re charged with DUI/DWI for alcohol or for marijuana.
What Does NJ Law Say About Marijuana DUI/DWI Charges?
The police will charge you with DUI/DWI in New Jersey if they pull you over and suspect you’re intoxicated. Under N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50, it doesn’t matter what you are intoxicated with. The police need to suspect you are under the influence of any habit-forming drug. This includes alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, hallucinogens, and other narcotics. The law makes no distinction between them. New Jersey law also makes no distinction between DUI and DWI, so the two can be used interchangeably.
What Are Marijuana DUI/DWI Penalties and Fines?
Similar to alcohol DUI/DWI, a conviction for marijuana DUI/DWI in New Jersey can lead to severe penalties and fines. The penalties for drugged driving are worst for those with prior convictions.
First-time marijuana DUI/DWI convictions carry the lightest penalties and fines. This includes jail time of up to one month, a fine of up to $400, and suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year.
For a second offense, you face up to 90 days prison time and 30 days of community service. You are also looking at a fine of up to $1,000 and suspension of your license for two years.
If you receiving DUI/DWI conviction a third time, you’re looking at six months’ imprisonment. You also face a $1,000 fine and suspension of your license for 10 years.
How Is Marijuana DUI/DWI Proven?
Alcohol DUI/DWI cases typically involve the use of a breathalyzer test to prove intoxication. Marijuana can’t be detected through the breath, so marijuana DUI/DWI cases usually use evidence from a blood or urine test.
Under the law, however, police can’t force you to undergo a blood or urine test on the spot. They must first obtain a warrant from a judge to get a sample of bodily fluid from you.
Even so, blood and urine tests only establish the presence of marijuana in your body. They don’t say how much marijuana is in your system and whether you were too high to drive.
To prove that you drove under the influence of marijuana, the police and prosecutors will rely on expert testimony. The prosecution proves lcohol DUI/DWI through testimony from specially-trained officers called Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). For marijuana DUI/DWI cases, the prosecution can use testimony from non-DRE officers. That is, as long as they have received training in field sobriety and are experienced in marijuana intoxication. The expert will testify in court that enough marijuana was present in your body to impair your ability to drive safely.
Why You Need an Attorney to Fight Marijuana DUI/DWI Charges
Here are two reasons why you will need an attorney if you are facing marijuana DUI/DWI charges:
- An attorney can have your DUI/DWI charges dropped. A good attorney with experience fighting marijuana DUI/DWI charges can argue effectively that you were tested without your consent. Police will often subject you to a chemical test under New Jersey’s implied consent law. But, the State’s implied consent law only requires chemical tests to prove alcohol intoxication. It doesn’t apply to marijuana. An experienced attorney may also be able to get the court to drop your charges by arguing that you weren’t high while driving. After all, marijuana can be detected in blood tests days after consumption.
- An attorney knows more about the law. Because laws and perceptions about marijuana are constantly evolving, a good attorney knows how to use both to fight DUI/DWI charges. In fact, New Jersey may be close to legalizing recreational marijuana consumption. Hiring an experienced attorney that keeps current on the law can only serve to help you win your case.
Learn More About Marijuana DUI/DWI in NJ
If you are facing marijuana DUI/DWI charges, we can help. At Samuel Louis Sachs Esq. LLC, we know how to challenge the tests the State will use to prosecute your case. Contact us today for help.