DWI Based on Drugs in New Jersey

DWI Based on Drugs in NJ

Most New Jersey residents are aware of the dangers and the illegal nature of driving under the influence of alcohol. However, driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges apply not only to alcohol but also to drugs. Furthermore, DWI charges can involve intoxication due to illicit or prescription drugs. In either situation, the penalties can include the loss of your driving privileges, significant fines, and possible jail time. With so much at stake, anyone facing drug-based DWI charges in New Jersey needs a dedicated advocate to protect their rights and freedom. 

If you have been charged with a drug-based DWI offense in NJ, Steven Ellman is ready to help you. With decades of experience getting charges dismissed or reduced in every county in New Jersey, you can count on our skilled DWI defense attorney to mount the aggressive defense you need at this challenging time. Call The Law Office of Steven Ellman or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options. 

Distinguishing DWI Charges

Not all drug-related DWI charges are the same. The specifics of the case and evidence determine how prosecutors will handle the case. For example, a DWI charge involving prescription medication often differs from one involving narcotics like cocaine or heroin. Furthermore, the type and amount of drug detected in a blood test can impact potential penalties if you are convicted of the offense. An experienced DWI defense attorney can carefully examine the details of your specific case to establish a personalized legal strategy for your case.

Alcohol and drug-based DWIs usually begin in a similar manner: A police officer observes someone driving a motor vehicle in some irregular manner. The officer suspects the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer initiates a traffic stop. The officer asks a few questions and may even request the driver perform standardized field sobriety tests. 

However, this is where drug and alcohol DUI cases differ. One critical difference is how impairment is measured and detected. In cases involving alcohol-based DUI, police officers can ask for a urine test or breath test to determine the extent of impairment. 

However, there is no reliable method for similar chemical testing if a person is suspected of drugged driving. The body metabolizes drugs differently. No definitive test exists to quantify precisely how impaired someone is at a specific moment. The situation can become even more complex when prescription drugs are involved. This complexity can make it more challenging for prosecutors to definitively prove impairment beyond a reasonable doubt, which is to your advantage when fighting the charges.

Consequences of Drug-Based DWI

As with DWI cases involving alcohol intoxication, the legal consequences of a drug-based DWI conviction differ depending on whether it is your first, second, or third offense. First-time drug-based DWI convictions carry penalties similar to an alcohol-based DWI with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level of at least .10 percent rather than .08 percent. The penalties for first-time violations include the following:

  • Driver’s license suspension of seven to twelve months
  • A fine of between $300 and $500 
  • Between 12 and 48 hours at a New Jersey intoxicated driver resource center (IDRC)
  • Jail sentence of up to 30 days
  • Annual insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years
  • $100 DWI enforcement surcharge

The penalties increase for a second-time violation, including:

  • Driver’s license suspension of one to two years
  • A fine of between $500 and $1,000
  • 30 days of community service
  • Between 12 and 48 hours at a New Jersey intoxicated driver resource center (IDRC)
  • Jail sentence of 48 hours to 90 days
  • Annual insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years
  • $100 DWI enforcement surcharge
  • Required ignition interlock device installation for up to four years after license suspension is complete

The penalties for a third-time violation include the following:

  • Driver’s license suspension of eight years
  • A fine of $1,000
  • 48 hours at a New Jersey intoxicated driver resource center (IDRC)
  • Jail sentence of up to 180 days
  • Annual insurance surcharge of $1,500 per year for three years
  • $100 DWI enforcement surcharge
  • Required ignition interlock device installation for up to four years after license suspension is complete

These penalties can have far-reaching consequences for your personal life. The financial burden can be significant. The license suspension may prevent you from enjoying the freedom of driving. Furthermore, you may have to find alternative transportation to work. You may even need to seek alternative employment if your job involves driving an automobile. For these reasons, finding an effective DWI attorney in New Jersey is essential. 

Experience Matters: Why Choose Steven Ellman

With over 35 years dedicated to DWI defense in New Jersey, Steven Ellman offers the experience and skill you need to build a solid defense against drug-related DWI charges. He has defended over one thousand DWI cases across every county in the state. His reputation as a dedicated advocate precedes him, compelling prosecutors to exercise restraint and agree to reasonable terms.

Mr. Ellman also stays up-to-date on the latest forensics regarding field sobriety and drug recognition testing, using this knowledge to cross-examine experts effectively. He leaves no stone unturned, looking at every angle from which to create doubt regarding impairment, argue for reduced charges, and have cases dismissed entirely. Recent results include:

  • DWI reduced to failure to maintain lane in Somerset County
  • DWI reduced to reckless driving in Mercer County
  • DWI reduced to careless driving in Essex County
  • DWI dismissed in Somerset County

Visit our results page for many more examples of the favorable outcomes Steven Ellman has secured for clients in various New Jersey courts. 

Beyond the Legal Defense: Support & Assurance

You should not underestimate the emotional toll of a drug-based DWI charge. The uncertainty regarding the outcome and penalties can result in significant stress and anxiety. Steven Ellman understands this and makes it a priority to build a strong legal defense and support his clients through this difficult time. His confident and compassionate counsel assures clients and their families as they make their way through each step of the legal process. 

He takes the time to explain what to expect and to ensure you that he will do everything possible to achieve a favorable resolution. Because of his extensive experience handling drug-related DWI cases, clients can feel confident placing their trust in Mr. Ellman.

Get Help from a New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney

If you were arrested and are facing drug-based DWI charges in New Jersey, don’t leave your future to chance. Steven Ellman is ready to help protect you, your freedom, and your rights in Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey. Contact The Law Office of Steven Ellman today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.