When most people hear the term “DWI,” the first thing that comes to mind is alcohol. But with the current drug epidemic in New Jersey, driving under the influence of drugs has become more common. Marijuana is a huge culprit in DWI cases. The substance accounts for many, if not most drugged DWIs in the state. Although New Jersey DWI law doesn't address marijuana specifically, there are a few things you should know if the drug is a factor in your case.
Marijuana Legal Limit
Law enforcement runs into a number of issues when it comes to arresting people for marijuana DWIs. First and foremost, officers have no way to test sobriety while on site. Most officers confirm the suspicion of alcohol via breathalyzer test on site. This test is a device that motorists blow in for an officer to measure their sobriety. If the results indicate that their BAC is over the legal limit of 0.08%, then an officer can arrest you and use this result as evidence that is admissible in court.
But police don't have a method of determining marijuana in such an expedient fashion. Researchers have yet to find a way to come up with a way to measure drug intoxication. And in the case of marijuana, experts haven't figured out how much is too much. So, police officers depend on other indicators of drug marijuana intoxication, like bloodshot red eyes and the drug's distinct smell to establish probable cause and make an arrest.
It's also important to note that there are a number of conditions that can be mistaken for drug intoxication. And marijuana especially can stay in a person's body for days after the effects have worn off, which can make testing for this drug in particular obsolete. Testing positive for marijuana consumption at a station wouldn't necessarily mean that you were impaired with this substance while you were driving. It means that marijuana was consumed sometime in the past few days. Most officers depend on other impairment signs at the scene of the crime to pinpoint that suspects were, in fact, high while driving.
Marijuana DWI Penalties
If you get convicted of a marijuana DWI, the penalties may vary depending on the nature of your case and your criminal history. But according to general guidelines, a person faces the following legal repercussions:
First Offense Marijuana DWI
- A jail sentence of up to 30 days
- A fine ranging from $300 to $500
- The suspension of your license for up to a year
Second Offense Marijuana DWI
- A jail sentence up to 90 days
- A fine ranging from $500 to $1,000
- The suspension of your license for up to 2 years
- 30 days of community service
Third of Subsequent Offense Marijuana DWI
- A six-month jail sentence
- A fine of $1,000
- The suspension of your license for up to 10 years
In a marijuana DWI case, your fate is in the judge's hands. They have the discretion to cut you a break or carry out the full extent of the law. Their decision will be based on the arrest, your criminal history, your BAC, the officer's testimony, and other relevant factors. These penalty guidelines suggested for guidance, it doesn't mean that your outcome will be as such.
In New Jersey, a person who has been suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol has implicitly consented to provide a breath, blood, or urine test as a stipulation of getting their license. However, this law doesn't apply to individuals who have been suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana or other controlled substances. People in this predicament have to option to turn down chemical testing to screen for the presence of drugs in their system without legal ramifications.
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Driving while impaired by marijuana is a serious crime that leads to harsh repercussions in New Jersey. But if it's proven that your arrest was unlawful or an officer's actions strayed from protocol, there's a good chance your charges could be dismissed.
With so much on the line, the best thing you can do is contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney. The sooner a legal representative can get on your case, the more time they have to build a solid defense. In New Jersey, a DWI is an offense that requires skilled and aggressive representation.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and credentials to defend and counsel people who've acquired DWI charges. He will explain your pending charges, build a solid defense and work towards getting your charges reduced or dropped. For more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm either online or by phone at 888-535-3686.