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New Jersey Marijuana DWI Defense Lawyer

Under New Jersey statute 39:4-50, an individual who drives a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana will be guilty of DWI.  Our New Jersey Marijuana Defense Lawyers represent individuals who have been charged with a marijuana DWI in all New Jersey counties and cities.  Call us today.

 

The pertinent language of statute 39:4-50 is as follows:

 

  1. 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;

 

(iii)      For a first offense, a person also shall be subject to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.).

 

(2)       For a second violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, and shall be ordered by the court to perform community service for a period of 30 days, which shall be of such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 48 consecutive hours, which shall not be suspended or served on probation, nor more than 90 days, and shall forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of two years upon conviction, and, after the expiration of said period, he may make application to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for a license to operate a motor vehicle, which application may be granted at the discretion of the chief administrator, consistent with subsection (b) of this section. For a second violation, a person also shall be required to install an ignition interlock device under the provisions of P.L.1999, c.417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.).

 

(3)       For a third or subsequent violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of $1,000, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 180 days in a county jail or workhouse, except that the court may lower such term for each day, not exceeding 90 days, served participating in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and shall thereafter forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for 10 years. For a third or subsequent violation, a person also shall be required to install an ignition interlock device under the provisions of P.L.1999, c.417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.).

 

As used in this section, the phrase “narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug” includes an inhalant or other substance containing a chemical capable of releasing any toxic vapors or fumes for the purpose of inducing a condition of intoxication, such as any glue, cement or any other substance containing one or more of the following chemical compounds: acetone and acetate, amyl nitrite or amyl nitrate or their isomers, benzene, butyl alcohol, butyl nitrite, butyl nitrate or their isomers, ethyl acetate, ethyl alcohol, ethyl nitrite or ethyl nitrate, ethylene dichloride, isobutyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, nitrous oxide, n-propyl alcohol, pentachlorophenol, petroleum ether, propyl nitrite or propyl nitrate or their isomers, toluene, toluol or xylene or any other chemical substance capable of causing a condition of intoxication, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction or the dulling of the brain or nervous system as a result of the inhalation of the fumes or vapors of such chemical substance.

 

 

As set forth above, a conviction for a first offense marijuana DWI will carry a minimum of seven months loss of license, time in the intoxicated drivers resource center and numerous fines.  For a conviction of a second offense, the suspension is a minimum of 2 years.  For a conviction of a third offense marijuana DWI, the suspension is 10 years.  Additionally, there is a mandatory jail sentence of 180 days upon a third or subsequent conviction.

 

Marijuana DWI Defenses

 

There are various defenses to a marijuana DWI that may be raised.  First and foremost, the individual who is charged may challenge the reason for the motor vehicle stop.  In order for a police officer to lawfully stop a motor vehicle, the officer needs reasonable and articulable suspicion that a traffic violation of criminal offense is occurring.  If the officer does not have reasonable articulable suspicion to stop a motor vehicle and the officer does stop the vehicle, all evidence and observation which thereafter occurred may be suppressed and the charges would likely be dismissed.

 

Another defense to a marijuana DWI is challenging the field sobriety tests that were rendered by the officer on the side of the road.  During a DWI stop, an officer typically has a suspect complete three tests.  They are known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test and the one leg stand test.  The officer is supposed to explain and demonstrate the tests and then have the suspect complete the tests.  If the officer does not properly explain the tests or the officer does not properly record the results, the results of the test and or the arrest may be suppressed.  If the arrest or results are suppressed, it is likely that the marijuana DWI will be dismissed.

 

An additional defense in a marijuana DWI is challenging the DRE or Drug Recognition Expert’s report and or testimony.  In most marijuana DWI’s the state will need to call a drug recognition expert in order to establish that the individual was under the influence of marijuana at the time they were driving their vehicle.  If the state is going to call the expert at trial, they will be required to provide a written expert report.   A qualified defense attorney will carefully review the report to determine if the expert based his or her conclusions on sufficient evidence and objective findings and will thereafter determine how to defend the marijuana DWI.

 

Finally, a defendant will always be able to defend a marijuana DWI arguing and establishing that the marijuana DWI was not proven by the prosecutor beyond all reasonable doubt.  This is a trial defense and will depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of the marijuana DWI. This can include pretrial motions to exclude evidence, such as any and all statements made by the suspect while they were under arrest.

 

If you or someone you know would like to speak with one of our New Jersey Marijuana DWI Defense Attorneys call our office or click on the chat tab.  One of our lawyers will take the time to meet with you and discuss all of your possible defenses.

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