NJ Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Lawyers

Jersey City, NJ Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Lawyers

Whether it be Jersey City police officers or New Jersey State Troopers, law enforcement agencies are cracking down on individuals driving under the influence of marijuana. In areas of high population density like Union City, Bayonne, Weehawken and Secaucus, law enforcement is accumulating a soaring number of Drug-related DWI’s. To trigger a DWI stop, police officers are merely required to have what has been coined as reasonable suspicion that the driver has committed a traffic violation. Simply failing to use a blinker or having something dangling from your rear view mirror gives the officer the right to initiate a motor vehicle stop. From there, the officer may develop separate suspicion or probable cause, based on sights and smells, to conduct sobriety testing on the driver.

What has become a subject of much discussion is whether the police officer is qualified to determine whether or not an individual is under the influence a marijuana. Typically, a police officer is required to have training and certification as a Drug Recognition Expert before they may qualify as an individual capable of making an onsite determination regarding drug use and whether or not the defendant is actually under the influence. Drug Recognition Expert testimony is required to prove that the defendant was under the influence at the time of the motor vehicle stop. A Drug Recognition Expert qualifies as just that, an expert. Therefore, such testimony will used in an effort to establish that the defendant was under the influence of drugs, to the point that it impaired their ability to safely operate  a motor vehicle.

Weehawken NJ DWI Lawyers

Typically, proof that an individual operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs requires field testing by a qualified Drug Recognition Expert at the scene of the incident. However, in State v. Bealor, a narrow exception was originally provided to allow non drug recognition experts to establish intoxication where marijuana is the drug in question, so long as the officer has some experience in field sobriety testing and marijuana intoxication. State v. Bealor, 187 N.J. 574 (2006). However, recent developments in case law has adjusted this approach and may eliminate the need for Drug Recognition Experts altogether in qualifying police officers as experts on drug intoxication cases. This could play a significant role in developing a strategy to defend you Jersey City drug DUI.

How Does a Prosecutor Prove a Marijuana DWI Charge in Weehawken, NJ?

Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To prove this in a court of law when it is alleged that the defendant was impaired as a result of marijuana use, the Hudson County or Municipal Prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was actually under the influence of marijuana. One way for police to obtain evidence regarding marijuana intoxication is through either blood or urine testing. However, a positive result indicating a marijuana presence does not necessarily indicate that the driver was currently under the influence at the time of their arrest. Therefore, for the State to convict someone of a marijuana DWI in New Jersey, they will need testimony from an officer trained in marijuana intoxication. This testimony will attempt to establish a link between the presence of marijuana in the blood stream (assuming a test indicate such a presence existed) with objective evidence demonstrating that the physical or mental capabilities of the driver were impaired. The reliability of this evidence can become a crucial aspect of any case. This is why a Drug Recognition Expert is important, they attempt to provide the vital evidence to establish their burden of proof, which is “reasonable doubt”.

What are the Penalties of a Marijuana DWI Conviction in West New York, NJ?

If convicted of Driving under the influence while of marijuana, then the defendant will be facing a fines, imprisonment, and a loss of license for up to one (1) year. In addition to the above penalties, a first time offender may also be required to have an ignition interlock device, which permits a motor vehicle to be started only when the driver is sober. If convicted of a second violation within ten (10) years of the first offense, the defendant will face increased fines, community service, mandatory imprisonment, installation of an interlock device, and a license suspension for at least two (2) years. If convicted of a third violation within ten (10) years of the second offense, the defendant  will be subject to a fines, mandatory imprisonment of at least 180 days, ten (10) year loss of license, and ignition interlock device installation. If the violation is committed a in a School Zone, as outlined by N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g)(1)-(3), the court can significantly increase the fines, period of license suspension, and sentence of imprisonment.

Drug DWI Defense Attorneys in Hudson County NJ

If you or someone you love has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in Hudson County, then contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today and speak with an attorney. Our office has been representing defendant’s charged with driving while intoxicated, Drug DWI, cocaine possession, refusal to submit to a breath test, marijuana distribution in towns like Harrison, West New York, Kearny, Union City and Secaucus for over fifteen years. For a consultation with any one of our eight Hudson County, NJ DUI attorneys, please contact our Jersey City at (201) 309-1800.