New Jersey Laws Governing Drugged Driving
While most people are at least somewhat familiar with the laws in New Jersey regarding drunk driving, few know about the laws regarding driving under the influence of drugs. Just like drunk driving, drugged driving is considered a form of intoxicated driving and is punishable with fines and possible jail time. However, the penalties for the two crimes vary considerably.
In New Jersey, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she operated a vehicle while under the influence of any type of narcotic, hallucinogenic or any other CDS (controlled dangerous substance). Since many narcotics are illegal to possess, it does not matter how much someone has ingested for him or her to be considered under the influence.
A fundamental difference between alcohol and drug laws with regards to driving relates to a rule called implied consent. In New Jersey, a person gives consent to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine to test for alcohol simply by driving on New Jersey roads. This is called the doctrine of implied consent. However, the law of implied consent does not require someone suspected of drugged driving to submit to a chemical test to screen for narcotics. What this means for New Jersey drivers is that they are well within their rights to refuse such a test for drugs and they cannot be penalized for their refusal. New Jersey is one of the few states that does not extend its implied consent doctrine to include chemical testing for drugs.
People arrested and convicted for drugged driving may face heavy penalties. For a first conviction, offenders are fined an amount not less than $300 nor more than $500 and they are detained for 12 to 48 hours. If a person is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs a second time, these penalties increase. In this case, the person may be fined $500 to $1,000 and must serve jail time not less than 48 hours, but no more than 90 days. A third arrest would result in serving no less than 180 days in a county jail and paying $1000 in fines.
A drugged driving conviction carries serious penalties in New Jersey. If you are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, remember to contact your criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to maximize your options. With professional help, you may even be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.