Can I get a DWI for being high in New Jersey?

Posted on June 11, 2018 by We Can Help Law

The simple answer is yes.  New Jersey Statute 39:4-50 states:

 

39:4-50. (a) Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, a person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood or permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control or permits another to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood shall be subject:

 

(1)       For the first offense:

 

(i)        if the person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10%, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or the person permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control or permits another person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10% to operate a motor vehicle, to a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $400 and a period of detainment of not less than 12 hours nor more than 48 hours spent during two consecutive days of not less than six hours each day and served as prescribed by the program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers established under subsection (f) of this section and, in the discretion of the court, a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of three months;

 

(ii)       if the person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.10% or higher, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or the person permits another person who is under the influence of narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control, or permits another person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10% or more to operate a motor vehicle, to a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $500 and a period of detainment of not less than 12 hours nor more than 48 hours spent during two consecutive days of not less than six hours each day and served as prescribed by the program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers established under subsection (f) of this section and, in the discretion of the court, a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of not less than seven months nor more than one year;

 

 

The key section of this law is section two where the statute discusses an individual operating a motor vehicle under the influence of either alcohol or under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug.  Marijuana would fall under this category.  Therefore, if a person is convicted of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana they will be subject to the penalties described above including a seven month to one-year license suspension.

 

Defenses To A Marijuana DWI

 

In order to prove that an individual was operating his or her vehicle under the influence of marijuana, the state will likely need to have the charged individual evaluated by a drug recognition expert.  A drug recognition expert typically does an examination of the suspected individual while they are suspected of being under the influence of the substance in order to make a determination as to whether they are under the influence of that suspected drug and if that drug adversely impacted their ability to operate a vehicle safely.  If the state does not have an individual evaluated by the drug recognition expert and or fails to call that individual at the trial, the state may not be able to establish that the individual was under the influence of marijuana at the time they were operating the vehicle and the charges may therefore be dismissed.

 

In some circumstances, the state may attempt to offer a urine screen as evidence that the individual was under the influence of marijuana.  Marijuana discovered in an individual’s urine is not conclusive proof that an individual was under the influence of marijuana at the time in which they were operating a motor vehicle because marijuana can stay in an individual’s blood or urine for up to 30 days.

 

Additional defenses to a marijuana DWI also exist such as challenging the reason that the motor vehicle was stopped in the first place or challenging the reason that the officer extended the traffic stop and placed the individual under arrest.

 

The actual defenses and possible penalties of a marijuana DWI are specific to the exact factual circumstances and it is therefore important to contact an aggressive and experienced DWI defense attorney.  If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys call us or click the chat tab.

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