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New Jersey Drugged Driving

In New Jersey, a person is guilty of a DUI is he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, OR if he or she permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 39:4-50 (West 2010).

Implied Consent

In New Jersey, a person suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol has, by virtue of driving in the state, consented to provide a sample of breath, blood, or urine to police for testing in order to determine the amount of alcohol in his or her system. However, implied consent law does not require that an individual suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana or controlled substance submit to a chemical test in order to screen for the presence of drugs in his or her body. Ergo, in New Jersey chemical sample from an accused person should only be given on a voluntarily basis, and no penalties or sanctions apply for refusal to submit to chemical testing for drugs.

Penalties

  • First offense - fine of not less than $ 300 nor more than $ 500; 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; a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days; offender forfeits 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. Id. § 39:4-50(1)(ii).
  • Second offense - fine of not less than $ 500.00 nor more than $ 1,000.00; offender shall ordered by the court to perform community service for a period of 30 days; offender 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; offender forfeits his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of two years upon conviction. Id. § 39:4-50(2).
  • Third or subsequent offense - fine of $ 1,000.00; 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; offender thereafter forfeits his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for 10 years; offender required to install an ignition interlock device. Id. § 39:4-50(3).

NOTE: A conviction of a violation of a law of a substantially similar nature in another jurisdiction shall constitute a prior conviction under this subsection. Id.

Sobriety Checkpoints

In New Jersey, sobriety checkpoints have been allowed under both the state and federal constitutions. State v. Mazurek, 567 A.2d 277.

Case Law

State v. Bealor, 187 N.J. 574, 902 A.2d 226 (2006) – Evidence was sufficient to convict operator of DUI where officer testified that defendant had engaged in erratic and dangerous driving, that defendant had slurred and slow speech, that defendant had bloodshot eyes, and that defendant smelled of burnt marijuana. Furthermore, expert testimony defended the state administered blood tests which revealed cannabis in defendant's blood.

State v. Tamburro,68 N.J. 414, 346 A.2d 401(N.J. 1975) – To convict for DUI drugs, it is sufficient if expert testimony of physical and mental condition and symptoms displayed "under the influence" of a narcotic, but it is not necessity that particular drug be identified.

State v. Siegmeister, 577, 256 A.2d 319 (1969) -- Prosecution for operation of motor vehicle under influence of alcohol or drugs is quasi-criminal and state has burden of establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

State v Tiernan, 302 A2d 561 -- Conviction for operating vehicle under influence of drugs was reversed, since mere lay testimony is insufficient to sustain conviction. A police office is not qualified as expert by fact that he completed mandatory narcotics training and took subsequent week-long narcotics course.

State v Kraft, 341 A2d 373 -- Testimony of police officer as to defendant's driving and physical characteristics, and a laboratory report showing defendant's blood was positive for drug(s) was insufficient because state did not have expert to testify regarding testing methodology.




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