Being Under the Influence of Drugs Lawyers in Hackettstown NJ
Being under the influence means someone demonstrates altered behavior because they are under the effects of a CDS (Controlled Dangerous Substance) overtly and conspicuously. For example, if someone took a dose of heroin in a park and wandered aimlessly about mumbling to themselves, that would indicate that they were under the influence. Any sort of criminal charge compels the representation of a committed criminal defense lawyer. The importance of understanding your rights and how to assert them in various situations will be clearly explained by the attorneys at our criminal law firm, where we represent clients facing drug charges ranging from first degree heroin distribution, to the less severe possession charges for possession of prescription medications without a lawful prescription. The best course of action when confronting drug-related charges can be ambiguous without the help of attorneys who handle these cases every day, like ours. Call 973-755-1695 and let us assist you with CDS charges in Mansfield Township, Newton, Vernon, Franklin, Stillwater, and throughout Sussex County and Warren County. You can always contact us to discuss your case in a free consultation. We are ready to help you.
What Constitutes Being Under the Influence of Drugs in NJ?
The police only need to see someone who is intoxicated to stop them. If it can be readily observed that the accused manifests physical and physiological behaviors caused by the consumption of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), that person may be charged with a criminal offense. As the police ask the accused questions, they will note how the person speaks and behaves and the accused’s state of mind. The police are trained to identify the effects certain substances have on people.
What Happens If You Are Found To be Under the Influence of CDS in NJ?
Being caught under the influence of a CDS is only part of the trouble the accused could be in. It could lead to a disorderly conduct charge, a petty disorderly persons offense. If you are found to have drugs while under the influence in public, you could face drug possession charges, which are more severe than disorderly conduct charges. The penalties for drug possession in NJ depend on the type and amount of drugs involved. Still, they can range from a fine to several years in prison, especially when combined with possession within 500 feet of public housing, parks, or buildings, 1,000 feet of school property, and 1,000 feet of a school bus, particularly when there is a belief of intent to distribute. Additionally, if the accused has drug paraphernalia such as a pipe, rolling papers, tourniquet, or needles, that charge can be added. Lastly, if someone charged with being under the influence refuses to give police the drug when arrested, they can be charged with a second disorderly person offense.
Can I be Charged for Being Under the Influence of a Drug in New Jersey ?
New Jersey’s criminal laws do not only criminalize the possession and sale of controlled dangerous substances. Believe it or not, it is also considered a criminal offense in New Jersey to simply be under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance while in public. In other words, if you are suspected of having used a drug in public or if police officers expect that you are under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance, you can be charged with being under the influence of a drug – even if you are not driving. Another detail is that, according to the applicable statute, the police do not need to specify specifically which drug they suspect was used. The bottom line is that if you are charged with being under the influence of a drug in public in Sussex or Warren County, an experienced drug defense lawyer at our office is standing ready to help you fight the charges.
What Does NJ Law Say About Unlawful Use or Under the Influence of CDS?
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b), any person who uses or who is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, for a purpose other than the treatment of sickness or injury as lawfully prescribed or administered by a physician is a disorderly person. The New Jersey criminal code further sets forth that, “in a prosecution under this subsection, it shall not be necessary for the State to prove that the accused did use or was under the influence of any specific drug, but it shall be sufficient for a conviction under this subsection for the State to prove that the accused did use or was under the influence of some controlled dangerous substance, counterfeit controlled dangerous substance, or controlled substance analog, by proving that the accused did manifest physical and physiological symptoms or reactions caused by the use of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog.”
Is Conditional Discharge Available for a N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b) Offense?
If this is the defendant’s first offense, they can participate in a conditional discharge program that lasts six months to a year. The defendant will be on probation and cannot be arrested during that time. All random drug tests must be clean, and the program fees must be paid in their totality. After complying with the conditions, the criminal record will be cleared, and only the arrest will remain, which can be expunged six months after the end of the program.
How Can It Be Proven That a Person Is Under the Influence of Drugs?
A person can be proven to be under the influence of a CDS by observation. Officers are trained in identifying the behaviors and manifestations of the effects of different drugs. Additionally, there are physical signs as well. For example, someone who has recently used cocaine might have mood swings from euphoria to irritability, paranoia, dilated pupils, watery eyes, and a dry mouth. Meth users are commonly found to have similar symptoms, but there are also external clues such as skin sores on the face and arms, decayed teeth (also known as meth mouth), and exaggerated mannerisms or tics.
Possible Penalties for Being Under the Influence of Drugs According to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b)
The punishment for a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(b) includes a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, a $500 Drug Enforcement Demand Reduction (DEDR) penalty, and a six-month to two-year loss of driving privileges.
What Are the Possible Defenses to Fight Being Under the Influence of Drugs?
If you are charged with being under the influence of drugs, there are several possible defenses that you can raise. Suppose the police officer did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop you. Any evidence obtained while you are detained may be suppressed, including any evidence of drug use or impairment. Field sobriety tests are not always accurate indicators of drug impairment. If the tests were administered improperly or other factors could have affected the results, you may be able to challenge the validity of the test results. Drug testing results can be challenged if the testing was not conducted properly or if there were errors in the testing process.
Certain medical conditions or medications can produce symptoms that mimic drug impairment, and a skilled attorney may be able to argue that your driving behavior was the result of a medical condition rather than drug use. For example, someone with an extremely low glycemic level, severe dehydration that is caused by an illness (for example, flu or food poisoning), or a side effect to a prescribed medication may display characteristics of being under the influence of drugs.
Our experienced defense attorneys have handled controlled dangerous substance cases in superior and municipal courts in Sussex and Warren County and we are available 24/7 to fight for you and protect you against the consequences of being convicted of being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance in public.
Contact our Defense Attorneys for Your Being Under the Influence Charges in Sussex or Warren County
If you or a loved one has been charged with being under the influence of drugs, the Tormey Law Firm can provide you with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Wantage, Belvidere, Phillipsburg, Andover, Hopatcong, Sparta, and throughout Sussex County and Warren County. Our attorneys frequently get our client’s charges reduced, pleaded out, or dismissed. We can use mitigating circumstances to give you a better result and pursue a conditional discharge if that is your best option.
Being accused of breaking the law is anxiety-provoking and frightening. We have the knowledge necessary to act proactively and find the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s approach. Thus, if you are accused of using or being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance in Sussex or Warren County, there is a lot at stake and you should not hesitate to call the experienced defense team at our office. It is important to seek representation from our criminal attorneys today. Call us at 973-755-1695 or reach out to us online. We look forward to discussing how we can help you with your case.