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DWI sometimes refers to drugs, not alcohol

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2022 | DWI/DUI |

You might be one of many New Jersey residents who are currently under the advice and treatment of a doctor for a particular health condition. It’s not uncommon for such treatment to include one or more prescription drugs. Your doctor is supposed to warn you of any and all known risks associated with a specific drug, including whether or not it’s safe to operate a motor vehicle while using the medication.

In this state, you are breaking the law if you drive while under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug, narcotics or any habit-forming drug. However, the implied consent laws in New Jersey do not include drugs — only alcohol. This means that you have not automatically consented to taking a chemical test if a police officer takes you into custody for suspected drugged driving.

No penalties for declining a chemical test after a drugged driving arrest

When you obtained a New Jersey driver’s license, you agreed to take a chemical blood, breath or urine test if asked to do so by a law enforcement officer following a DWI arrest. You did not, however, implicitly agree to do the same thing if the officer who arrested you suspects that you have drugs in your system, rather than alcohol. You are free to decline a chemical test following a drugged driving arrest, without fear of legal or administrative penalty.

It is your choice whether to take a chemical test for drugs if an officer has arrested you for suspected drugged driving. Just remember that, if you wind up facing criminal charges, a prosecutor will try to use the fact that you refused a chemical test to incriminate you in court.

Many prescription drugs are narcotics, hallucinogens or addictive

It’s quite possible that the prescription medication your doctor has recommended might be a narcotic, especially if you are treating a chronic pain condition. The prescription drugs you are using might also have a potential for causing hallucinations or might be a drug that is known to be addictive.

If a New Jersey police officer pulls you over and suspects that you are driving while impaired, you could encounter serious legal problems if you have such drugs in your system at the time. If you are currently facing drugged driving charges, it is a good idea to seek legal guidance before heading to court. The ultimate outcome of your case might hinge upon your ability to build a strong defense, which is typically much easier to do when you work with someone who’s experienced in the criminal justice system.