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.

New Jersey DUI – DWI Lawyer – Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

It is illegal to drive while high on marijuana (weed, pot, etc.) in New Jersey.  Although New Jersey does not have a specific law that addresses driving under the influence of marijuana, the same law that prohibits drunk driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, titled “Driving While Intoxicated”) applies to drugged driving offenses as well.  This law prohibits driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance, including narcotics, hallucinogens or even some over the counter medications.

How Do the Authorities Prove a Person is Under the Influence of Marijuana?

When a person is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, they are given a breathalyzer test to determine their blood alcohol content.  So how does a police officer know whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana?  Usually, a driver will be asked to take a blood or urine test.  However, a positive drug test only indicates that there is marijuana in a person’s system at the time of the traffic stop—and marijuana can stay in a person’s system weeks after using it.  Therefore, if you are arrested for drugged driving, additional evidence is generally relied upon to prove the DUI in court.

If you go to trial for your DUI charge, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.  This requires some expert testimony to establish that the drugs found in your system were not just residual, but actually rendered you impaired and unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.

In drugged driving cases, the general rule is that the accused must have been tested at the time of their arrest by a specially trained police officer referred to as a Drug Recognition Expert (“DRE”).  However, for marijuana cases, the prosecutor can establish intoxication through testimony of any police officer who has been trained in field sobriety and who has experience in identifying marijuana intoxication.  In such cases, an officer will testify that there was objective evidence that a driver’s physical or mental capabilities were impaired by the drug.  This testimony can be the State’s Achilles heel.  An experienced DWI lawyer may be able to have your charges either dismissed or downgraded by discrediting this testimony.

No Implied Consent for Blood or Urine Testing

In New Jersey, as a condition of receiving your driver’s license, you have agreed to take a breath test to determine the content of alcohol in your system if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.  This is known as “implied consent.”  If you refuse to take the test, you are subject to punishment including a loss of driving privileges.  But this law does not extend to drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of marijuana or other substances.  If you are pulled over and the police suspect that you are high on marijuana or some other substance, there are no penalties or sanctions if you refuse to submit to a blood or urine test.  Chemical testing for marijuana or any other substance is only performed on a voluntary basis or if a warrant has been issued by a judge.  First, the investigating officer would ask you for your consent to provide a urine or blood sample.  If you refuse, then the officer can attempt to obtain a warrant from a judge, based upon probable cause.  If a warrant is issued, then you have to comply.  It is amazing just how many people, knowing full well they have a substance in their system, agree to voluntarily submit to a blood or urine test.  Most people just don’t know they can say no.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Penalty for a conviction will vary depending on whether you have ever been convicted of drugged driving in the past.

  • For a first conviction, drivers face a fine of between $300 and $500, up to 30 days in jail, and between seven months and one-year license suspension.
  • For a second conviction, drivers face a fine of between $500 and $1,000, 30 days community service, 2 to 90 days in jail, and a two-year license suspension.
  • For a third (or subsequent) conviction, drivers face fines up to $1,000, 180 days in jail, and a ten-year license suspension.

If you have been charged with drugged driving, you may also face additional penalties for related charges such as possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

What About Medical Marijuana?

Although New Jersey allows certain individuals to use medical marijuana, just like any other legally prescribed medication, it is still a crime to drive if one’s ability to safely drive a car is impaired by the drug.

Edward M. Janzekovich Defends People Charged with Marijuana DWI/DUI

If you were arrested for driving while impaired by marijuana, we can help.  Trusted New Jersey DWI lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich is available to answer your questions and discuss your best defense.  Call us today at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout New Jersey, including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

New Jersey DWI – DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich – Mixing Prescription Drugs and Alcohol—A Dangerous Combination

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
  • Antidepressants
  • 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.