Driving under the Influence of Marijuana Lawyers in New Brunswick, NJ
Defense Attorneys for Marijuana DUI Charges in Edison and throughout New Jersey
Most people think of marijuana as harmless and there have been nationwide efforts to legalize its recreational use, including in New Jersey. Unfortunately, studies have established that marijuana can have at least one serious negative effect: it can make people unsafe drivers. You may not be aware of this, but you can actually be charged with DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana anywhere in New Jersey. If you find yourself arrested, there are some top things you need to know about the effects of pot on driving, marijuana DUI charges under NJ Law, and associated penalties if you are convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana. There may be some differences at the margins of these cases, but the penalties for marijuana DUIs become progressively more severe as your rack up more DUI convictions, just as with any type of DUI or DWI charge. However, marijuana DUI charges can be significantly more difficult for prosecutors to prove in court than alcohol DUIs.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, you should consult an experienced DUI defense attorney to learn more about ways to successfully challenge these charges in court. The highly knowledgeable NJ DUI defense lawyers at Proetta & Oliver have been successfully defending clients charged with driving under the influence in Edison, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Piscataway, Old Bridge, Sayreville and throughout New Jersey for years. To discuss your specific case with an attorney at our firm who can help, call our local office in Middlesex County at (732) 659-9600 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Driving under the Influence of Marijuana (DUI) in NJ
New Jersey’s DUI statute, NJSA 39:4-50, prohibits more than driving drunk or driving at a BAC over .08. The statute actually prohibits you from driving under the influence of certain drugs, including marijuana. You can be charged with and convicted of DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana in just the same way that you can for driving under the influence of alcohol. Officers can often smell marijuana if they drive by your vehicle as you are smoking, obviously f your window is down, but also sometimes even when the windows are rolled up. They can often spot the smoke within or coming out of your car, or simply smell the odor of marijuana when they pull you over for another type of traffic offense. Additionally, officers do not hesitate to further investigate a potential marijuana DUI if they see a blunt, joint, roach, or vape pen in your car. This can often lead to arrest for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia.
Penalties for Marijuana DUI in New Jersey
The charges and penalties associated with driving under the influence of marijuana are largely identical to the charges and penalties for an alcohol DUI or another type of drug DUI. Penalties for marijuana DUI include hundreds of dollars in fines, potentially months in jail, a substance abuse evaluation, and license suspension for a first offense, and even worse penalties for second and subsequent offenses. Specifically, first offense penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana include up to 30 days in jail, driver’s license suspension for a period of between 7 months and 1 year, a fine ranging from $300 to $500, mandatory attendance of classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) for two consecutive days for between 12 and 48 hours, and other court costs and fees.
Does Marijuana Impair Your Ability to Drive Safely?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA drafted a report to Congress explaining the prevalence of marijuana-impaired driving and the crash risk associated with marijuana-impaired driving. They also addressed some of the challenges of measuring marijuana impairment while driving and how marijuana is processed in the body differently than alcohol.
According to the NHTSA, there are distinct negative effects of marijuana on driving abilities. The study cited in their report indicated that marijuana can slow your reaction times, limit your ability to respond to unexpected events like a child running across the road, a driver braking suddenly in front of you, someone running a red light, impair ability to stay within your lane or track the road with your eyes, maintain focused attention, limit your short term memory (for example, of the speed limit, or whether their exit is coming up), and generally interfere with route planning, decision making, and risk taking. In short, yes, marijuana can limit your ability to drive safely.
But, some people respond, marijuana can make some people more cautious and lead to slower, more defensive, or even more “chilled out” or courteous driving. Wrong, according to science and the NHTSA. The report specifically stated that because marijuana and the active ingredient in it, THC, impairs cognitive performance so extensively, drivers are typically unable to drive more safely and fully eliminate the drug’s negative effects on performance.
Contact an Edison Marijuana DUI Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you have been arrested for driving on marijuana, these are considered serious traffic offenses in New Jersey and you could even land yourself in jail. This is why it is vital to enlist the help of a skilled DUI defense lawyer who knows how to challenge your marijuana DUI charges in court. We can help. Get a free consultation about your specific case at (732) 659-9600 today.