Piscataway Marijuana DWI Lawyer
Driving Under the Influence Of Marijuana Charge
It is a common misconception that driving under the influence of marijuana is a less serious offense than an alcohol related DWI. This could not be farther from the truth. The truth of the matter is that if you receive a DWI for being under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, the consequences are one and the same. Whether you are a Rutgers University student caught driving after smoking at your dorm or someone passing through Piscataway Township when you are still high, you will be subject to a mandatory driver’s license suspension, thousands of dollars in financial consequences and other penalties if you are convicted of DUI.
For this reason, you cannot afford to make the mistake of defending your marijuana DWI/DUI case without top representation at your side. Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have over 100 years of collective experience defending against DWI charges of all kinds, including Marijuana DUI charges. In fact, our team of experienced defense attorneys, many of whom are former prosecutors themselves, have been appearing in Piscataway Township Municipal Court on drug DWI, including marijuana related cases, for decades. We have the experience and the knowledge to ensure that you receive the representation and results that you deserve.
Marijuana DWI Offense in Piscataway NJ
Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, it is a violation of the DWI law for a person to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug. Despite arguments to the contrary, there is no validity to the argument that marijuana does not fall within the ambit of the 39:4-50. Driving under the influence of marijuana merely entitles a different substance than the typical DWI case. The prosecutor has slightly different proofs that must be established in a marijuana DUI case including showing that the accused was the operating of a motor vehicle and were under the influence of marijuana at that time. The operation element is easy enough for the prosecution to prove in that all he/she needs to establish is that you were driving and/or possessed the intention to operate. The first way to prove this is through direct evidence of operation, which is the most common way, given that most officers make their arrests after having followed a person operating a vehicle for a period of time. The second way is through admission from the accused or a passenger in the vehicle that the accused was the person operating the vehicle. The third way is the use of circumstantial evidence.
Proof of intoxication from marijuana is a more complicated issue as there is no breath test device at the police station or other scientific evidence on site to prove that someone is under the influence of THC. The police must therefore utilize blood and urine testing to establish the presence of marijuana at or about the time of operation. The problem the police must deal with is that New Jersey’s implied consent law does not extend to blood or urine tests. In fact, recent United States Supreme Court precedent states that you cannot force someone to submit to an invasive test like taking their blood or urine without a warrant. As a result, the police must seek and obtain a warrant to take a blood or urine sample absent consent from a Piscataway motorist. If, however, the prosecution does get a warrant and/or you consent to a blood or urine test, a positive test merely demonstrates the presence of marijuana in your system and not necessarily that you faculties were impaired in such a manner as to drive safely. Indeed, marijuana remains in your system for weeks and no one would debate that smoking marijuana a week ago prevents you from driving without impairment a week later. Therefore, the prosecution must have specific evidence to link the positive drug test to impairment — namely, being under the influence of the marijuana at the time of the operation. The prosecutor in Piscataway will therefore have to rely the arresting police officer’s use of field sobriety tests, observations in the field, and perhaps the use of a drug recognition expert (“DRE”) to prove intoxication/impairment under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 in Piscataway Municipal Court.
Penalties For A Piscataway Marijuana DUI
Assuming that the prosecution satisfies its burden on both of these elements, the consequences can be devastating. Even a first offense carries with it fines, surcharges of $1000 per year for 3 years, and the suspension of your ability to operate a motor vehicle for one year. Second, third and subsequent offenses only make the situation worse. For a second offense, the suspension escalates to two years and there is the possibility of jail on top of all the thousands of dollars in financial consequences. For a third offense, the provision for jail is mandatory. You must serve 180 in the Middlesex County Jail if you are convicted of a third or subsequent driving under the influence charge in Piscataway. The driver’s license suspension is likewise stiff at a mandatory 10 years.
Piscataway NJ Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Lawyers
Do not think that there is nothing that can be done to preserve your ability to drive and avoid other penalties if you have been charged with Marijuana DWI in Piscataway. Experienced representation can and will provide significant assistance to ensure that you have the best opportunity to maintain your future. In fact, you team of skilled Piscataway DUI lawyers is successful in beating driving under the influence of marijuana cases in much more instances than you might believe. You do not have to lose your license just because the officer accused you of marijuana use. Our attorneys stand ready to offer their time and service to you in this battle and we believe strongly that, with us by your side, it is a battle you can win.