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Navigating Prescription Drug DUI Charges in NJ

Navigating Prescription Drug DUI Charges in NJ

Driving while under the influence of alcohol isn’t the only way to commit a DUI or DWI in New Jersey. You may also face charges for a prescription drug DUI.

Being convicted of prescription drug DUI charges may have serious implications for your finances, driving privileges, and even your freedom. Protect yourself by hiring a lawyer qualified to handle your case.

If you were arrested for or charged with driving while intoxicated in New Jersey, an experienced prescription drug DUI lawyer from the Law Office of Steven Ellman can help. Call or contact us today for a free case review.

Understanding Prescription Drug DUI in NJ

New Jersey law doesn’t distinguish between alcohol and drugs in DWI cases. You may face DWI charges if the police arrest you because they suspect you’re driving under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug. Many prescription medications fall into these categories, not just illicit drugs.

You don’t have to be caught actually driving a vehicle to face prescription drug DUI charges. The state only needs to prove you were “operating” the car. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be cruising down the road. If law enforcement can show you had control of the vehicle and intent to drive, the DUI charge could stick.

That said, a DUI for prescription drugs can differ from an alcohol-related DWI. You may be guilty of a DWI if you’re operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. However, prescription drug intoxication won’t show up on a breathalyzer test. Instead, police may have to evaluate your intoxication level through a blood or urine sample and an assessment from a drug recognition expert (DRE). However, they may begin to assess potential signs of impairment through a field sobriety test.

Potential Consequences of a Prescription Drug DUI Conviction

Sentences for a prescription drug DUI can vary depending on whether this is your first offense, your level of intoxication, and other factors. Potential consequences to be aware of when facing prescription drug DUI charges include:

  • First offense – $300 to $500 fine, up to 30 days in jail, installation of ignition interlock device (IID), driver’s license suspension of three months
  • Second offense – $500 to $1,000 fine, 30 days of community service, 48 consecutive hours to 90 days of imprisonment, IID installation, and forfeiture of driving rights in New Jersey for one to two years
  • Third offense – $1,000 fine, at least 180 days in jail, IID installation, driver’s license revocation, and loss of the right to drive in New Jersey for eight years

Anyone convicted of a DWI in New Jersey must also satisfy the programming requirements at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) and pay an auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 to $1,500 for three years. Other state fines and fees apply.

The Role of an Experienced Drug DUI/DWI Defense Attorney

A DUI prescription drugs defense attorney in New Jersey can play a key role in your case’s outcome. Specific ways a lawyer may help are:

  • Explaining the nature of your charges and anything that’s required of you
  • Representing you during all court appearances
  • Identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case
  • Exploring whether there are alternative explanations for your alleged intoxication
  • Crafting a strong defense
  • Ensuring your rights were respected during the traffic stop and arrest

At the Law Office of Steven Ellman, we’ve successfully represented clients throughout New Jersey, helping them avoid or significantly reduce the consequences of a prescription drug DUI conviction.

Building a Strong Defense Against Prescription Drug DUI Charges

Ways a lawyer could help when you’re facing prescription drug DUI charges include:

  • Analyzing the evidence – A lawyer can review the evidence against you. Sometimes, they can show how specific evidence is weak or unreliable and file a motion to suppress it.
  • Challenging the prosecution’s case – A strong defense for a prescription drug DUI can take many forms. If the evidence is flimsy, your attorney may put together an argument explaining the holes in the prosecution’s case. A DWI lawyer could argue the drugs in question wouldn’t cause the alleged impairment. The right defense strategy for you will depend on the details of your case.
  • Special considerations in prescription drug cases – Various special circumstances may influence cases like yours. For example, perhaps you were using prescription drugs for therapeutic purposes and didn’t realize your faculties were impaired.

Navigating the NJ Legal System

The municipal court process for a prescription drug DUI in New Jersey will usually involve these steps:

  • Arrest
  • Summons and complaint
  • Arraignment
  • Pre-trial discovery
  • Pre-trial motions
  • Trial
  • Judge issues findings
  • Sentencing

Hiring a DWI lawyer with extensive experience working within the New Jersey legal system can give you confidence that you’re working with someone prepared, skilled, and ready to defend your rights. That’s precisely what we offer at the Law Office of Steven Ellman.

Your Rights During and After an Arrest

The law gives you several protections during the traffic stop and arrest process.

First, you don’t have to make any statements to the police after they stop you. However, you must provide them with your name, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information.

New Jersey’s implied consent law also says that you must submit to blood alcohol content (BAC) testing if you’re stopped with probable cause. If you don’t agree to the breathalyzer test, you can be subject to fines, ordered to perform community service, and have your driver’s license suspended. However, you do have the right to refuse field sobriety tests (FSTs).

If the police want to interrogate you after an arrest, you should be read your Miranda rights. This warning informs you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Do not answer any questions without speaking to a prescription drug DUI lawyer first.

Contact Our New Jersey Prescription Drug Lawyer Today

The most important step after you’ve been arrested or charged with DUI is to hire the right lawyer. A New Jersey prescription drug DUI attorney at the Law Office of Steven Ellman can offer the defense you need. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Navigating Prescription Drug DUI Charges in NJ