New Marijuana Search Case, State v. Mendel

Marijuana arrest

In a new case decide earlier this month, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that a police officer did nothing wrong after sticking his head inside of an open car window while speaking to the driver, even if this allowed him to discover evidence of marijuana usage inside. In doing so, he did not violate the 4th Amendment rules regarding search and seizures. Typically, a police officer would need reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed before he can conduct a search. However, the police officer in this case only put his head in the window because he could not hear the driver over the noise of traffic.

This is important because evidence obtained in a search could lead to charges for driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs – if a police officer observes drugs or signs of drug use in a vehicle, the officer might believe that the driver is intoxicated while driving. With the laws in New Jersey changing to make it easier to obtain legal marijuana in the future, this is an extremely important development, as the number of drivers who may be driving in possession of marijuana is expected to go up, and this could lead to police bring DUI charges against drivers more easily.

State v. Stephen Mendel

In State v. Stephen Mendel, a police officer pulled a vehicle over after observing it drive by with dark tinted windows. The police officer came up on the passenger side of the vehicle to talk with the driver. The officer asked the driver to produce his driver’s license and inquired about his driving record. During the conversation, the police officer leaned his head into the open passenger side window in order to hear better. While speaking to defendant, he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

The defendant-driver argued that police officer’s actions should be considered a warrantless search, and the search was unreasonable, which would mean that the evidence was inadmissible and had to be thrown out of the case. The New Jersey Appellate Division decided that a driver does have a legitimate expectation of privacy on the interior of his vehicle. However, even if this is considered a search, the 4th Amendment only protects from unreasonable search and seizures. Because the officer’s act of putting his head inside the vehicle to hear better was still reasonable, the evidence could be admitted as part of the case.

The driver was charged with the disorderly persons offense of marijuana possession, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4), and improper safety glass, N.J.S.A. 39:3-75.

State v. Bealor

Although the driver in State v. Stephen Mendel was not charged with DUI or DWI, it is possible that these same circumstances could lead to more drivers being charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in the future. In State v. Bealor, a case from 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the government can use circumstantial evidence to determine that a driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated due to marijuana. Proofs in the Bealor case included the smell of burnt marijuana on defendant. Therefore, based on these two cases, police officers may be more likely to bring charges for DUI in the future, if the Courts are more willing to consider these kinds of searches as reasonable.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you or someone you know is charged with DUI or DWI as the result of drugs or alcohol, the circumstances surrounding the arrest and charges will be very important. A good attorney will analyze every aspect of the facts in your case in order to determine if the police officers acted legally and responsibly in bringing the charges against you. If an officer does violate the 4th Amendment and commits an unreasonable search and seizure, or otherwise investigates you in a way that is not allowed by the law, any evidence obtained could be excluded from the case. For instance, observations that lead to a charge for drunk driving or driving under the influence could be deemed inadmissible. This could lead to the charges against you being thrown out or dismissed completely.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Will Fight to Protect Your Rights

If you or someone you know has been arrested, charged, or convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need a good lawyer to review the case. An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts and decide if any of your rights have been violated or if you’re entitled to a dismissal. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Discusses Multiple Simultaneous Convictions for DUI/DWI

New Jersey DUI-DWIAlthough it is unlikely, there are rare times when a driver must face charges for multiple drunk driving offenses at the same time. This can result from a variety of circumstances. As a law firm specializing in drunk driving defense, we here at the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog are prepared to help regardless of how unlikely the situation. Successfully defending against DWI charges may result in a reduction of the penalties or can result in having the charges dismissed altogether.

When Multiple Simultaneous Convictions for Drunk Driving Can Occur

First, if a driver drives continuously through various towns and municipalities, he or she may be charged independently in each one of them with a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 – Driving While Intoxicated. A driver in this situations should immediately seek the advice of counsel, because the State of New Jersey treats “one continuous uninterrupted episode of driving while intoxicated” as a single offense, not multiple offenses. Therefore, if an individual receives multiple charges of DUI/DWI during one continuous course of conduct, it is properly addressed as sentenced as a single offense in court, and an experienced attorney may be able to have some of the charges dismissed.

A second set of circumstances that might lead to simultaneous convictions for drunk driving arises when a driver is arrested twice for drunk driving in a very short period of time. This is typically within the same day or night, but it can sometimes occur over a longer period of time. Usually, the picture looks something like this. A driver is arrested a first time for drunk driving, then processed and released. Following his or her release, the driver is still drunk and tries to get behind the wheel of another vehicle. Once again, the driver is found driving under the influence and re-arrested and charged a second time later that same day. This should not happen because drivers are typically not allowed to immediately operate their vehicles after being arrested for driving under the influence. However, there have been numerous reported cases of this happening in just the last year.

Sentencing on Multiple Simultaneous Convictions for Drunk Driving

If you or someone you know is charged with any driving while intoxicated related charge, it is important to seek the advice of a good lawyer as soon as possible. If a driver decides to plead guilty to multiple drunk driving offenses at the same time, sentencing consequences can be complicated and in some cases, severe. In other areas of the law, defendants are typically able to argue to a Judge that they should receive identical treatment on both offenses if they are pleading guilty to two offenses at the same time. This, however, is not true specifically for drunk driving convictions. Unlike other areas of the law, the New Jersey Supreme Court has specifically stated that New Jersey’s drunk driving statutes are primarily punishment oriented, rather than concerned with rehabilitation. Moreover, statutes that are punishment oriented do not require the same type of sentencing treatment as other statutes, meaning defendants can receive different sentences on each of the offenses despite pleading to both at the same time.

For example, if a defendant is pleading guilty to both his first and second DUI offenses simultaneously, he or she can be punished as a second-time offender on one of the DUI offenses, even though he or she had no previous DUI convictions before the court date. The same would be true of an individual pleading to his second and third DUI offenses; he would be sentenced as a third-time offender on one of the offenses. This is extremely important as the differences in sentencing between a first, second, and third time offender is substantial. A second, third, or fourth time offender faces much greater potential fines, mandatory jail sentences and terms of mandatory loss of driving privileges. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the penalties you may be facing.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you are facing multiple DUI/DWI charges, an experienced DUI attorney can help you understand your rights and the potential consequences of multiple charges, especially when it comes to sentencing. A good lawyer will also be able to present the best defense in your favor and may even be able to have the charges against you dropped. Whether you are sentenced as a first, second or third time offender can make a huge difference in terms of jail time, period of license suspension, and fines.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Ready, No Matter How Rare the Circumstances

A DUI/DWI conviction means serious penalties that will affect you and your loved ones. For that reason, it is important to consult a drunk driving lawyer who knows how to help. If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence of any substance in New Jersey, an experienced DWI/DUI attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about 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.

Aaron Carter’s Arrest and Driving Under the Influence of THC and Other Forms of Marijuana

On July 17, singer Aaron Carter, 29, was arrested in Habersham County, Georgia on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and possession of marijuana. He was arrested at approximately 9pm in the rural county north of Atlanta. According to Habersham County Captain Floyd Canup, Carter is currently facing several charges including DUI, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana and possession of drug related objects. Carter was in a vehicle with his photographer girlfriend, Madison Parker. She was also arrested and charged with obstruction and two drug-related charges.

Interestingly, authorities did not find Carter with green or leafy marijuana. Carter has tweeted that he holds a medical license for medical marijuana. Georgia’s medical marijuana program only provides for low-concentration THC oil and official statements have responded that Georgia law does not allow for the type of marijuana found during the arrest. It is unclear from reports what other form of marijuana Carter had – whether it was marijuana edibles, high concentration THC oil, a THC inhaler, or some other product.

New Jersey and Medical Marijuana

If Carter had been found driving while intoxicated due to marijuana in New Jersey, he still could have been charged under New Jersey’s laws. New Jersey, like Georgia, has a medical marijuana program. Earlier this year, the number of enrollees in the program surpassed 10,000 active members for the first time.

Importantly, New Jersey law does not allow any driver to drive while intoxicated, regardless of whether or not he or she is intoxicated due to a legally prescribed or obtained medication. This means that it may not be a defense that a driver is part of the medical marijuana program if it can be shown that the driver was intoxicated and the driver’s impairment was such that he or she posed a danger to him or herself or others on the road.

Furthermore, unlike some other states, New Jersey’s medical marijuana law does not allow persons with an out-of-state medical marijuana license to possess marijuana in the state without also having a New Jersey medical marijuana license.

DUI/DWI and Marijuana or THC in Other Forms

Similarly, New Jersey does not allow a driver to drive while high due to marijuana regardless of the form the marijuana takes – including “pot brownies” or vapor pens or any other form of THC that can be ingested or absorbed by. Indeed, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical compound in marijuana, comes in many forms now than it ever has before. Gummy bears, soda, flowers (buds), dabs, concentrates, vapor pens, salves, just to name a few.

Although driving under the influence of marijuana was traditionally due to driver’s smoking marijuana before or while getting behind the wheel, Aaron Carter’s arrest mirrors a common arrest scenario that is happening across the United States every day. More and more commonly, the basis for the intoxication is use of marijuana in non-smoked form. An officer will not be able to provide grounds for the arrest based on smelling burnt or raw marijuana inside of a vehicle. Instead, the officer will need to determine whether or not a driver is intoxicated based on other observable reasons, and will require a legal reason to pull the driver over in the first place that does not include smelling marijuana.

Because the field of driving under the influence of marijuana is constantly changing, it is more important than ever to contact an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer if you or anyone you know is ever arrested or charged with driving while high. A good attorney will be able to take the time to sit down with you and review your case, explain what consequences you are facing, and determine any possible defenses you may have, particular in light of laws that can change at any time.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Those Charged with Driving While High

A charge for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in serious and complicated penalties that affect you and your loved ones. If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who can explain what rights you have. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the State of New Jersey.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Examines Proposed Law Making Ignition Interlock Devices Mandatory for All DWI Convictions

DWI Convictions

A new bill introduced before the state legislature last year by State Senator Nicholas Scutari may drastically change the way drivers convicted of DUI in the state are convicted.  The proposed changes to the State’s Driving While Intoxicated law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, seek to lessen some penalties for first time drunk drivers while making others more universal –  such as making Ignition Interlock Devices mandatory for all drivers convicted of DUI/DWI, even first time offenders.

Similar to the other proposed Senate Bill 404, discussed here earlier this year, it is important to recognize that there is no guarantee that this proposed bill will ever pass.  Also like that bill, the goal of Senator Scutari’s introduced legislation is to provide an alternative to drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, showing some added leniency to such drivers while simultaneously making the roads safer.

Which Parts of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 Might Be Affected?

In New Jersey, the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit for drunk driving in the state is .08%.  Under current law, someone convicted of DWI for the first time can have their license suspended for either 3 months (if his or her blood alcohol content is between .08% and .099%) or 7 to 12 months (if his or her blood alcohol content is .10% or greater). A judge has a lot of flexibility in deciding how long to suspend a driver’s license in those circumstances.

At the same time, a first time offender who is convicted with a blood alcohol content of .15% or greater must have an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle during the period of license suspension until between 6 months to 1 year following license restoration.  An ignition interlock device is a device put on a car that requires a driver to provide a clean, alcohol breath sample before he or she can start the car.

How Will These Parts of the Law Change If the Proposed Bill is Passed?

Under Senator Scutari’s introduced legislation, a first time drunk driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of between .08% and .099% will only have his or her license suspended for 30 days – a significant reduction from 3 months.  Similarly, a driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of between .10% up to just less than .15% will have his or her license suspended for 45 days, while a driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of .15% or higher will have his or her license suspended for 90 days.

At the same time, the proposed legislation hopes to make installation of an ignition interlock device mandatory for ALL drivers convicted under the DWI law.  The device must remain on the driver’s vehicle for the period of license suspension as well as an additional period of time between 3 months and 18 months after the driver gets his or her driving privileges reinstated.

What These Changes Would Mean if You Are Convicted

Losing one’s driving privileges is often the most severe penalty that first time drunk drivers face, because the penalty often means that a driver also loses his or her ability to go to work or otherwise provide for his or her family.  Reducing the period of license suspension for first time offenders recognizes this reality and tries to address the way the law punishes more than just the drunk driver.

At the same time, recent reports have estimated that ignition interlock devices have prevented more than 39,000 instances of drunk driving in New Jersey since 2010.  Therefore, requiring drivers to install an ignition interlock device attempts to make the roads safer for everyone.  The proposed law would not prevent a driver from being able to use his or her vehicle – for instance, to drive to work or buy groceries if necessary – but it would guarantee that the car could only be operated after a clean, alcohol-free breath sample is provided. 

The largest downside to the proposed law is that New Jersey requires the driver to pay for his or her own ignition interlock device, including the installation.  In addition to the nearly $1000 in fines that first time drunk drivers must already pay, an ignition interlock device could cost $70-150 to install and about $60-80 per month for additional monitoring and calibration.

Regardless of whether or not this bill becomes law, a person charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs should always contact an experienced drunk driving attorney, who will be able to provide the best advice or possibly defend the case and get the charges dismissed completely.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Looking Out for You

A charge for driving under the influence of alcohol can carry extremely serious penalties that affect you as well as your family and loved ones.  At the same time, new laws, rules, and regulations take effect all the time. For that reason, it is important to consult a drunk driving lawyer knows what to look for in your specific situation.  If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence of any substance in New Jersey, an experienced DWI/DUI attorney will know the best way to help and can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey DUI Lawyer – Why You Can’t Expunge a DWI / DUI Conviction in New Jersey and What That Means When Applying for a New Job

New-Jersey-Drunk-DrivingThe law in New Jersey is different than 48 other states in that it treats a DWI/DUI as a motor vehicle offense instead of a criminal violation. As such, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is recorded on a driver’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records, aka a driver’s abstract.

Moreover, in New Jersey, expungements are limited to only criminal offenses, and, since DUI/ DWIs in New Jersey are traffic offenses and not criminal offenses, a conviction for drunk driving can never be expunged from someone’s driving record. Only criminal arrests or convictions that fall under the 2C code can be expunged in New Jersey. However, this rule is not entirely negative. The rule does result in the benefit of the DWI/DUI not showing on an individual’s criminal history.

Note however, this doesn’t mean convicted offenders won’t face criminal penalties. The law considers driving under the influence as a pseudo-crime or quasi crime, and the consequences can be severe, including fines and loss of driving privileges. Prison time is also possible for a DWI/DUI, and it is mandatory when a driver commits a second or third offense. For example, by New Jersey law, third-time offenders are sentenced to a prison term of 180 days or more.

DWI/DUI and its Effect on Employment Applications

Since drunk driving is not considered a criminal offense under the New Jersey criminal code, drivers who have been convicted and are applying for jobs after their conviction do not have to answer, “yes,” if the employer asks if they have ever been convicted of a crime. Sometimes, however, employers may ask if a person has been convicted of anything but a minor traffic offense. DWI convictions are considered major traffic offenses, so in those cases, an applicant with a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs should answer truthfully that they do have a history of more than just minor traffic offenses.

Many times, potential employers conduct background checks as part of their hiring process. Such background checks usually include an applicant’s driving record (which will show the drunk driving conviction), criminal record, court records and incarceration records. New Jersey does not report DUIs to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) — a common criminal history database that employers check – so the DUI/DWI will not show on the NCIC check.

Exceptions – When You Must Disclose Your DWI/DUI Conviction to a Potential Employer or Other Reviewer

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers across the United States from denying employment to individuals with a conviction unless they can prove a compelling business reason. Certain professions, like teachers, nurses, doctors and law enforcement officials, require disclosure as a condition of employment. There are other situations where a conviction must also disclosed, such as when a person is applying for a professional license – such as a law school graduate applying for admission to a state bar.

Notably, positions that require driving have obvious compelling business reasons to discriminate against DWI/DUI offenders. Therefore, someone with a DWI/DUI conviction who is applying for a position as a commercial truck driver, cab driver, delivery truck driver, etc. should disclose their prior DWI/DUI conviction.

For all these reasons, it is especially important to hire an experienced New Jersey DUI/DWI attorney if you have been arrested or charged with drunk driving in this state. Not only do penalties include the possibility of jail time, significant fines, and loss of driving privileges – a conviction for driving while intoxicated can also result in the loss of current of future job possibilities. An experienced lawyer can help you take advantage of certain laws that can lessen the penalties you must face or may be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Drivers Facing DUI Charges

The law regarding criminal history checks and expungements of DWI/DUI can be complicated and is different for everyone, depending on their situation. If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence in New Jersey, knowing what your rights are can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about 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.

New Jersey DWI Attorney Discusses Auto Brewery Syndrome – Could it Be Responsible for Your DUI?

Auto-Brewery-SyndromeThe consequences for getting a convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the State of New Jersey are potentially devastating. Even a first offense can result in jail time, loss of license, fines, and the potential loss of your ability to work or provide for your family and loved ones. If you have already been convicted of one or more prior DWIs, any additional offense will result in much more devastating penalties: mandatory jail, loss of license, and other increased punishments compared to the first offense.

But what if you have been unfairly convicted because of a rare medical condition?

Auto Brewery Syndrome is a rare medical condition that could make it appear as if you have been drinking and driving, even when you haven’t. Also known as gut fermentation syndrome, the condition has even been known to lead to unfair charges for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

What is Auto Brewery Syndrome?

Auto Brewery Syndrome is a rare medical condition in which intoxicating amounts of ethanol – the scientific name for drinking alcohol – is spontaneously made within a person’s body in their digestive system. It is potentially caused by having an unusually large amount of active yeast in the body – possibly brewer’s yeast, also known as saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is normally used to turn sugars into alcohol when making beer or other liquors. An excess of yeast in the gastrointestinal tract can sometimes lead to a person’s body turning into its own brewery – making alcohol from sugar inside the body and getting a person drunk even when they have not had any alcohol to drink.

Brewer’s yeast can be found in a great many places, including breads, wine and beer. Usually, it just passes through the body harmlessly. In very rare cases, it takes up residence in the intestines and can multiply, leading to Auto Brewery Syndrome. Although researchers do not know the exact cause for the condition, some speculate that it can affect some individuals after taking antibiotics and leading to an intestinal imbalance.

Known Cases of Auto Brewery Syndrome

In one known case of Auto Brewery Syndrome, a man in Texas showed up to the Emergency Room complaining of dizziness. A quick test revealed he had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .37% – almost five times the legal limit for driving in the state. However, the man claimed he had not had a drop of alcohol. This was not the first time it had happened to him, either. After performing some studies on him, the doctors were able to confirm he had Auto Brewery Syndrome when they gave him a .12% BAC without drinking any alcohol, simply by feeding him carbohydrate rich foods.

Could Auto Brewery Syndrome Be the Cause of Your DUI?

Although Auto Brewery Syndrome is still not well-understood by the scientific and medical community, there are some cases where it has been used as a defense against drunk driving charges. Proving such a case can be very difficult, however, because the condition is not well-known and courts will be skeptical as to any defendant who claims he or she had a BAC over the legal limit but was not actually drinking. Evidence in such a case will need to include expert testimony from a doctor or other expert who can verify that a defendant suffers from the condition. If you suspect you or someone you know has Auto Brewery Syndrome, it is important to consult a physician to have any symptoms well-documented.

Furthermore, if you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with DUI/DWI, it is important to consult an experienced attorney immediately. A lawyer who specializes in drunk driving law will be able to review your case, look for rare circumstances such as Auto Brewery Syndrome, and help to prepare the best defense possible. With the right evidence, an experienced drunk driving attorney may be able to have the charges against you dropped completely.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help, Even in Complicated Drunk Driving Cases

A charge for driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely serious and defending those cases often involve complicated evidentiary issues. For that reason, it is important to consult a drunk driving lawyer who understands and can review your case completely. An experienced DWI/DUI attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Reminds You Not to Drive Any Vehicle or Machinery While Under the Influence

Under-the-Influence

Here at the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog, we usually discuss how you can be arrested and charged with driving a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  What many people forget, however, is that the law also prohibits the operation of other types of vehicles while under the effects of drinking or drug use.  For instance, this blog has previously discussed that boating or operating a commercial truck while drunk is illegal.

In fact, New Jersey laws generally do not allow persons to drive or operate any type of vehicle while impaired, whether as the result of liquor, narcotics, or marijuana.  However, different laws may apply depending on what type of vehicle is being operated – and these laws will affect what penalties apply upon conviction or whether the standard .08% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit applies.  If you or someone you know is charged or arrested for a DUI/DWI while operating any type of vehicle, you should contact an experienced drunk driving lawyer immediately who will be able to explain what your rights are and what penalties you could be facing.  A dedicated DUI attorney will also be able to present a defense on your behalf in court or may be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

Definition of a Motor Vehicle

State law, N.J.S.A. 39:1-1, defines both motor vehicles and vehicles.  Motor vehicles and vehicles under the drunk driving statute include all transportation devices other than those that are human powered, such as bicycles or skateboards, and also does not include motorized bicycles or trains.  Therefore, the law against drunk driving includes commercial vehicles, farm tractors, motorcycles, and all manner of trucks and buses.  Other types of transportation devices, such as snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), or scooters are either completely excluded by case law or are have their own specialized intoxicated operation rules, and the way the various laws are affected by the type of vehicle being operated, or where it is being operated, can be complicated.

Mopeds or Motorized Bicycles

Mopeds, for instance, are controlled by N.J.S.A. 39:4-14.3g, which prohibits driving any motorized bicycle under the influence of “intoxicating liquor, or a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug.”  The same penalties apply to moped DUIs as to other vehicles, and someone charged with driving a moped while drunk will need to provide a breath sample and can possibly face the loss of driving privileges for a period of time depending on the specific circumstances.  Different consequences or sentencing enhancements, however, may apply to driving a moped with a suspended license, because it is not considered a motor vehicle.

Bicycles

Normal, man-powered bicycles are not considered vehicles under the drunk driving statute.  Therefore, contrary to popular belief, a person cannot be found guilty of violating New Jersey’s prohibition against drunk driving, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. In State v. Johnson and State v. Machuzak, the New Jersey Appellate Division made clear that a defendant’s operation of a non-motorized pedal-type bicycle while intoxicated could not legally result in a conviction for driving while intoxicated, because the law specifically and unambiguously applies to motorized vehicles only.

Construction Vehicles

Recently, a New Jersey man was charged with operating a backhoe while intoxicated.  The individual was stopped after a police officer witnessed him driving the construction vehicle while drinking beer and swerving on the road.  The officer smelled alcohol on the man’s breath, and he was charged after being found with open containers in the vehicle, failing his sobriety test and admitting to the police officer that he didn’t have a valid license.

Depending on the specific vehicle, a construction vehicle may fit the standard definition of a motorized vehicle, or it can also possibly be considered a commercial vehicle.  If it is a commercial vehicle, then other penalties can apply, including permanent loss of a commercial driver’s license.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You Have Been Arrested or Charged for Drunk Driving

If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, regardless of the type of vehicle, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who will explain what consequences you are facing in your specific situation.  If you go to court, an experienced lawyer will also argue on your behalf and may be able to have the charges dropped entirely.  Having an experienced drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Discusses DUI Appeals and What Your Options Are If Convicted

A shot of liquor and keys on a table

If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, we always recommend that you consult an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can review your case, tell you what penalties you may be facing, negotiate to help get you a better deal, or potentially fight your case and get the charges against you dismissed completely.

But what if you have already been convicted? At that point in time, it may feel like your case is over and you just need to deal with the consequences, including fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. However, if you have already been convicted, an experienced DUI lawyer may still be able to help. Your case may not be over, after all, and you may still be able to have your sentence changed or the charges against you dismissed if the municipal court committed a miscarriage of justice – meaning it did something wrong or against the rules.

Appellate Courts in New Jersey

In New Jersey, you have the right to appeal any case, including a DUI conviction, within 20 days of your case ending. If your case went to trial in a municipal court, where many DUI/DWI cases are heard, then you will be appealing your case to one of the State Superior Courts – almost every county has its own Superior Court.

If your case was originally heard in the Superior Court of New Jersey, or if the Superior Court rules against you on your first appeal from municipal court, then you have a further right to appeal your case to the New Jersey Appellate Division.

When Can a Lawyer File an Appeal in Your Case?

There are many reasons why a DUI attorney may be able to appeal your case. For example, there may have been legal errors during the municipal trial, or the procedural requirements required for a legally sufficient guilty plea may not have been met. You may have also entered a conditional guilty plea, which allows you to plead guilty while still reserving your right to appeal adverse rulings on certain pre-trial motions. Additionally, your speedy trial rights or Miranda rights may have been violated or the sentence imposed upon you might even be illegal.

Finally, it is your right to insist that you did not commit the crime of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and a municipal appeal allows a new trial on the record before a new judge. An experienced DUI/DWI attorney can argue that the evidence below simply should not firmly convince the Law Division judge of the defendant’s guilt as a matter of law.

How Does a Lawyer File an Appeal on Your Behalf?

Filing a judicial appeal can be a complicated matter. For that reason, it is especially important to consult with an attorney who is experienced in representing clients who have been charged or convicted with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An experienced lawyer will know how to file an appeal within the time limit, and know how to extend the time limit under certain circumstances. An experienced lawyer will also be able to write and file the necessary briefs, notices of appeal, and court costs on your behalf within the required time limits. Finally, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to postpone any sentences that have been entered against you while the appeal is pending, such a jail sentence or loss of license, and then argue the appeal before the panel of judges when your case is scheduled for oral argument.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You Have Been Charged or Convicted with a DUI

If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who will explain what consequences you are facing in your specific situation. If you go to court, an experienced lawyer will also argue on your behalf and may be able to have the charges dropped entirely. Having an experienced drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Driving While in Possession of a Prescription Drug

Pills Spilling From Bottle

While many people are aware that it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, such as marijuana or cocaine, some people do not realize that driving under the influence of prescription drugs can also be illegal, especially if the driver does not have a valid prescription for those drugs. Similarly, you can also be charged for merely having a prescription drug that is not yours, either on your person or in the vehicle. That means that if you are pulled over and charged with possession of a controlled substance or medication that belongs on the list of drugs that must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional, and the items in your possession do not belong to you and a doctor did not prescribe it you, then you can face serious consequences, including fines and loss of driving privileges.

Lawfully Possessing a Prescription Drug N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1

New Jersey statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1, states that you cannot you cannot drive a motor vehicle while in possession of any “prescription legend drug” unless you have obtained the substance or drug directly from, or with a valid prescription of, “a duly licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist, or other medical practitioner licensed to write prescriptions.” The drug must also be intended for the treatment or prevention of a disease in a person or animal, unless you have the substance according to a lawful order of the medical practitioner.

The law defines a “prescription legend drug” to mean any drug which, under federal or State law, requires dispensing by prescription or order of a licensed medical practitioner and is required to bear the statement “Rx only” or similar wording. Such drugs are carefully controlled, and usually bear labels that identify the type of drug, the amount of drug, the proper dosage, any instructions for taking the drug, and the name of the person for whom the drug was prescribed. This is different than an over the counter medication, which you can buy at any pharmacy, and does not require a pharmacist or other medical practitioner to sell or dispense.

Penalties for Violating the Prescription Drug Law

If you are caught with a prescription drug that does not belong to you, the consequences are extremely serious, and may make it difficult for you to work or provide for yourself or your loved ones. If you are convicted, you could lose your driving privileges for two (2) years from the date of conviction. Additionally, you can be fined for $50 dollars plus $33 in court costs and a $6 surcharge.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help if You Are Charged

There are some important requirements established by N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 that must be proven by the government before you can be convicted of violating the law. An experienced DUI/DWI attorney will be able to identify these distinctions in your case and may be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

First, the law only applies to the operator or driver of a motor vehicle, as opposed to some other laws which apply to all occupants of a motor vehicle. Second, the vehicle must be operated on a public roadway (which varies from drunk driving or the open container law that was previously discussed, which apply in other places, too).

Third, the law requires the driver to knowingly possess the controlled substance or prescription drug. Therefore, if the drug is in the trunk of the vehicle, or if it is in the possession of a passenger, then the driver may not know that the medication is in the vehicle.

Finally, an experienced attorney may be able to help get the charges against you dismissed by showing that you are legally in possession of the prescription drugs, or the lawyer may be able to have the charges against you dismissed or merged into another offense in the course of obtaining a plea bargain on your behalf.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Explain Your Rights and Defend You in Court

If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving while in possession of alcohol or drugs, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who can explain what consequences you are facing in your specific situation. Such a charge can result in severe penalties that affect you and your loved ones. Having an experienced drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Potential New “Breathalyzer” That Can Detect Marijuana Use While Driving

Man driving and smoking joint

Stanford University recently announced that they have successfully developed a device to measure the amount of marijuana in a person’s body. Unlike a traditional breathalyzer, which can measure the amount of alcohol in your breath to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC), the new device called a “potalyzer” can measure the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in your saliva. Although this is not yet being used by law enforcement in New Jersey, it is extremely important because it means that police may soon have a scientific way of testing to see if you have been driving under the influence of drugs like marijuana simply and quickly. The timeline for implementing this or another similar test may move very quickly, because it is possible that lawmakers will consider legalizing small quantities of marijuana for medicinal or even recreational use in the future.

Developed by Dr. Shan Wang of Stanford University and his team, the potalyzer uses magnetic biosensors to detect THC molecules in saliva. Reports indicate that the new tool is accurate enough to detect as little as 0 to 50 nanograms of THC per milliliter of spit. This is big news, especially for states where marijuana use has been legalized. While those states continue to have DUI/DWI laws outlawing driving while impaired (this includes via marijuana use), up until now, law enforcement have had difficulty prosecuting such a crime, because they could not prove when or how much marijuana someone has consumed. Unlike alcohol, THC (marijuana’s main psychoactive component) remains in one’s blood much longer than alcohol, meaning you could still test positive for marijuana use even if the marijuana is no longer affecting your ability to drive.

For states like New Jersey, where marijuana laws are much stricter, the new potalyzer could actually increase the likelihood that marijuana will be legalized for additional uses, because the inability to enforce marijuana DUI laws will be less of an issue. Now, by being able to measure THC levels, not just its presence, science can begin to correlate certain levels with driver impairment and then create impairment standards. This is essentially like BAC laws that exist for alcohol, but based on the amount of marijuana in a person’s saliva.

Like the breathalyzer, the potalyzer may also prove popular because it does not require taking a blood sample or involve other extremely invasive measures. The test involves mixing some of a driver’s saliva with antibodies that bind to the THC molecules and act as markers. The sample is then spread on a test strip that’s been pre-coated in THC and loaded into a handheld measuring device, to determine how much unbound THC remains. By doing this, the system can accurately estimate how much THC was present in the driver’s saliva, and the results can be displayed quickly.

Interestingly, researchers suggest that this new technology can also reportedly be applied to almost any small molecule including morphine, heroin, methamphetamine or any number of controlled dangerous substances. Because many drugs are used by smoking or inhaling, this new technology could lead to a number of quick, saliva-based drug tests in the future that will affect how driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) laws are enforced.

The Need for an Experienced DWI / DUI Attorney

Obviously, before this test is implemented anywhere, further research will be needed to see how a driver’s tolerance impacts his or her ability to handle different amounts of THC to determine specific legal limits. With this new device, however, it will likely come sooner rather than later. Regardless of whether or when this device is implemented, New Jersey law still holds that if you have used a substance that would change your normal physical coordination or mental abilities to the point that you can be considered a danger to yourself or others on the road, then you may be charged with DUID. The consequences of driving under the influence of drugs are very serious and can include fines, loss of driving privileges, or even jail time.

Because DUID laws are always changing, a DUI attorney will be able to take the time, sit down with you and review your case, and explain what consequences you are facing in your specific situation. If you go to court, an experienced lawyer can help argue on your behalf to get you the best result possible.

New Jersey DUID Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Explain and Fight for Your Rights

Because defending against charges of driving under the influence of drugs can be very complicated, it is important to get an experienced DUI/DWI attorney in any situation where you or someone you know is charged. If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in New Jersey, an experienced DWI/DUI attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.