The New Jersey DWI laws penalize more than just driving under the influence of alcohol. They also prohibit driving an automobile in NJ while under the influence of narcotics, regardless of whether it’s prescription medication or illegal narcotics, also known as controlled dangerous substances (CDS). In NJ, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of any drug that impairs your ability to drive, can lead to a DWI summons and serious consequences.
The penalties for DWI for drugs are the same as DWI for alcohol. However, the prosecutions for a DWI for drugs are much different than a DWI for alcohol in New Jersey. Driving under the influence of alcohol depends on the level of your blood alcohol level (BAC) from the Alcotest. Driving under the influence of drugs require the prosecutor to use a drug recognition expert (DRE) to prove someone was driving under the influence of drugs.
What is the DRE?
When a driver is suspected of DWI for drugs, the police are required to have an officer certified to conduct a DRE examination to evaluate whether someone is impaired by drugs. The DRE officer must be qualified to administer the test or the results may be inadmissible in a prosecution for DWI in New Jersey. More importantly, the DRE officer must adhere to strict procedures when administering the exam in order for the results to be used in court. Only a qualified NJ DWI attorney can attack the DRE examination so the report, findings and testimony can be effectively challenged and possibly thrown out of court.
DRE Defenses and HGN Tests
As a certified criminal trial attorney who handles NJ DWI cases on a regular basis, I am qualified to handle DWI cases when the prosecutor utilizes a drug recognition expert (DRE) evaluation. I have handled countess NJ DWI drug cases and successfully challenged DRE examinations conducted by officers, including horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), vertical nystagmus test (VGN) and pupil size and reaction to light.
A person suspected of DWI for drugs in New Jersey may be required to submit to the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. While this test is accepted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this test is not admissible in New Jersey courts to establish guilt. Nevertheless, officers still officers still administer the test, and prosecutors attempt to use it in court. An experienced NJ DWI attorney knows the court rules and can fight for you and make sure these results are not unfairly used against you in court.
As a board-certified trial attorney, I handle NJ DWI drug cases on a regular basis. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.