Penalties for Drug DUI Compared to Alcohol-Induced Offenses

  • Criminal Defense

Are the Penalties for Drug DUI the Same as They Are for Alcohol DUI?

The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs in New Jersey are similar to alcohol-related DUI penalties. However, there are some differences, and certain consequences may be more severe with drug-related charges. When you have a DWI involving drugs, you also don’t have the influence of blood alcohol content DWI testing. BAC levels can impact overall consequences related to a DUI charge, contributing to additional differences between drug DUI and alcohol DUIs.

What Is a Drug-Related DUI?

Under New Jersey law, driving while intoxicated can occur in several circumstances. They include:

  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor. You can be charged if law enforcement has enough reason to believe you are driving while intoxicated. That could include physical evidence in your vehicle and on your person as well as observation of your actions.
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. This is determined by a blood alcohol test, and if the test indicates your BAC is high enough, you can be charged even if law enforcement officers don’t note any other evidence.
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a narcotic, including controlled prescription medication such as pain-relieving opioids.
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of habit-producing or hallucinogenic drugs, including marijuana.

What Are the Penalties for Drug DUI in New Jersey?

The penalties you might face for a drug-related DUI in New Jersey depend on whether it is your first offense or a subsequent offense.

First Offense

For a first offense, you may pay a fine of $300 to $500 and be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail. Whether or not a person is sentenced to time in jail for a conviction on a first offense is up to the discretion of the court.

You’ll also pay a variety of fines, including to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund, Safe Neighborhood Services Fund, and Violent Crimes Compensation Board. These fines can add up to $555.

You will typically pay a surcharge on your auto insurance of $1,000 for three years following a conviction, and you may need to spend 12 to 48 hours in classes or service at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.

On top of all this, you will also lose your license for seven months to one year.

Second Offense

If you are convicted on another drug DUI charge within 10 years of your first, it’s considered a second offense and consequences can be more severe. You’ll pay a $500 to $1,000 fine and lose your license for up to two years.

Jail time is not up to the discretion of the court, as a second offense requires at least 48 hours in jail and can include up to 90 days in jail. You may also need to complete community service hours.

Second offenses also require payment of various fines and auto insurance surcharges.

Subsequent Offense

Further offenses within a 10-year period lead to increasingly serious consequences. A third offense can mean a $1,000 fine and loss of your license for 10 years. You may also be sentenced to 180 days in jail, though up to 90 of those days could be served in an approved rehabilitation facility. Further offenses also come with a number of other fines and auto insurance surcharges.

What Other Issues Might You Face With a Drug DUI Charge?

If you’re being charged with a drug-related DUI, you might also be facing other charges related to the incident. For example, you might be facing charges of possessing illegal drugs.

Any charges related to driving under the influence can be serious and have long-lasting consequences on your life. Adding other charges into the mix can complicate your defense and increase potential consequences.

Get Help From a Criminal Law Attorney

Having an experienced legal team on your side when facing drug DUI charges—or any other criminal charges—can help support the chances of more positive outcomes. A criminal defense attorney can:

  • Review your case to understand the charges against you and help you understand the situation and possible negative consequences of a conviction
  • Provide you with recommendations for a defense strategy, including options for defending yourself against charges or potentially negotiating for less serious charges and consequences
  • Help build a case for your defense by gathering evidence and presenting arguments
  • Support you throughout the criminal justice process, helping you to understand and assert your rights, navigate bail processes if necessary, and work toward appeals if outcomes of your case are not as desired

You might think you don’t have any options for a defense if a drug test came back positive, indicating that you were operating a vehicle under the influence. However, that’s not true. Testing for these matters is not infallible, and a criminal defense attorney may be able to call the validity of the test into question.

To find out more about your options for criminal defense against drug DUI charges, call the Hernandez Law Firm, P.C. at 732-582-5076.

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