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How Does Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Differ from Drunk Driving?

How Does Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Differ from Drunk Driving?

Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious offenses that endanger lives and can result in severe legal consequences. While most people are familiar with the concept of drunk driving, it’s important to understand how driving under the influence of drugs differs from driving under the influence of alcohol. In this article, we will explore the distinctions between DUI and DWI, specifically in the context of New Jersey law, and delve into the drugs that can lead to a DUI charge, the consequences of drug-related DUI offenses, and how police establish evidence for DUI charges.

I. DUI vs. DWI in New Jersey:

In New Jersey, the terms DUI and DWI are often used interchangeably. The state recognizes “driving under the influence” (DUI) as the offense committed when operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. Other states may use the term “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) to refer specifically to alcohol-related offenses. However, in New Jersey, DWI encompasses both alcohol and drug impairment.

II. What Drugs Would Lead to DUI?

While alcohol is the most commonly associated substance with DUI/DWI, it’s crucial to note that driving under the influence of drugs is equally illegal and dangerous. Drugs that can lead to a DUI charge include, but are not limited to:

  • Illegal drugs: Examples include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamines, and hallucinogens.
  • Prescription drugs: If a prescribed medication impairs your ability to operate a vehicle safely, it can result in a DUI charge. Common examples include opioids, sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, and certain antidepressants.
  • Over-the-counter drugs: Some over-the-counter medications, such as certain cough syrups or allergy medications, can cause drowsiness or impair driving skills. It’s essential to read labels and follow usage instructions carefully.

III. Consequences of Drug DUI:

The consequences of a drug-related DUI conviction in New Jersey can be severe and may include:

  • License suspension: A first-time offense can result in a license suspension of up to one year, while subsequent offenses can lead to longer suspensions.
  • Fines and surcharges: Depending on the circumstances, fines can range from several hundred to thousands of dollars. Additional surcharges may be imposed.
  • Incarceration: Jail time is possible, particularly for repeat offenders or cases involving aggravating factors.
  • Ignition interlock device (IID): In certain situations, the court may require the installation of an IID in the offender’s vehicle.
  • Mandatory substance abuse counseling or treatment programs.
  • Increased insurance premiums or policy cancellation.
  • Negative impact on employment prospects, professional licenses, and academic opportunities.

IV. How Do Police Prove DUI Charges?

Establishing evidence for DUI charges involving drugs can be more complex than alcohol-related cases. Law enforcement frequently uses the following techniques to prove drug impairment:

1. Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs): Police officers administer standardized FSTs, such as the Walk-and-Turn, One-Leg Stand, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, to assess physical and cognitive impairment.

2. Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE): Specially trained officers conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine drug impairment by examining vital signs, pupil size, muscle tone, and other indicators.

3. Blood or Urine Tests: These tests can detect the presence and concentration of drugs in a driver’s system. However, the timing and administration of these tests are crucial to ensuring accuracy and legality.

Key Takeaway:

Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious offense with severe consequences in New Jersey. Understanding the distinctions between DUI and DWI, the drugs that can lead to a DUI charge, the potential repercussions, and how law enforcement establishes evidence is crucial for promoting responsible driving behavior. If you find yourself facing DUI or DWI charges, it’s vital to seek legal advice from experienced attorneys, such as Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC, to protect your rights and navigate the complex legal process effectively. Remember, the best way to prevent a drug-related DUI is to always avoid driving while impaired, whether by alcohol, drugs, or any other substance.

Contact Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC Today for a Free Consultation About Your DUI/DWI Case

When it comes to navigating the complexities of DUI and DWI charges, you need a skilled and dedicated legal team by your side. Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC, located in Haddon Heights, NJ, is here to provide you with the expert guidance and representation you need.

With years of experience in handling DUI and DWI cases, our attorneys understand the nuances of New Jersey law and are committed to protecting your rights and achieving the best possible outcome for your case. We know that each situation is unique, and we approach every client with personalized attention and a tailored legal strategy.

Our team is well-versed in the complexities of drug-related DUI cases. We will meticulously review the evidence, challenge any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and explore all possible defenses to help protect your rights. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the methods used by law enforcement to establish evidence in drug-related DUI charges, and we will work tirelessly to ensure a fair and just outcome.

At Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC, we are not just dedicated legal professionals – we are advocates for our clients. We will fight vigorously to protect your reputation, your driving privileges, and your future. Our track record of success and client satisfaction speaks for itself.

If you are facing DUI or DWI charges, do not face the legal process alone. Contact us today for a confidential consultation. Let our experienced attorneys guide you through this challenging time and work towards securing the best possible resolution for your case.



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