When an individual is arrested for driving under the influence, law enforcement may opt to charge them with driving under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of both. A person can be found guilty even if the amount of alcohol consumed would be less than the legal limit of .08 percent. This is because the combined effect of drugs and alcohol can produce a synergistic effect—such that even if either substance alone might not impair the driver, their combined effect renders a driver profoundly impaired.
In New Jersey, you can be charged with a DWI even if you are under the influence of over-the-counter drugs or prescription medication that has been legally prescribed to you. Many recent studies demonstrate that common medications, particularly allergy medications, may impair a person’s driving even more than alcohol.
Common medications that can result in a drug-impaired driving charge include:
- Sleeping pills, such as Ambien
- Allergy medication, such as Benadryl
- Cough syrup, such as Nyquil or Codeine-based syrups
- Prescription painkillers, including Tylenol 3, Vicodin and OxyContin
- Anti-anxiety medications, such as Ativan, Xanax and other benzodiazepines
- Muscle relaxers
In the typical scenario where both drugs and alcohol are involved, police will first arrest a motorist for driving under the influence of alcohol. Then, after administering field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test, if the breathalyzer results and field sobriety test results do not correlate (because the driver appears to be more impaired than the breathalyzer results indicate), police may seek blood or urine samples to determine whether the driver is under the influence of drugs.
Many drugs stay in a person’s system for long periods of time, and can be detected in a person’s blood or urine long after the impairing effects have worn off. Therefore, to be convicted of a DWI in New Jersey for drug use, a driver will most likely be subject to a series of tests conducted by a drug recognition expert. If such an expert is not available at the police station when the driver is tested, the test results may become inadmissible in court.
New Jersey DWI – DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Defends Motorists Accused of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol
Respected New Jersey DUI lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich has a vast knowledge of the technicalities of DWI law and has successfully defended countless clients against DWI charges. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you have rights. To discuss your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County, including Union, Dover, Brick, Jackson, Wall, Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Evesham, Howell, Robbinsville, Bound Brook, Neptune, Hamilton, Linden City, Bridgewater and Tinton Falls.