There’s a lot of emphasis on drinking and driving, but New Jersey also has a law that prohibits driving under the influence of drugs. According to NJSA 39:4-50, it is illegal to operate any motor vehicle “while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” Unlike laws governing drinking and driving, there are no specified levels of intoxication or influence, and there’s no blood testing standard by which you can be found guilty. Instead, the determination of impairment is made on a case-by-case basis, and is often entirely at the discretion of the arresting officer or prosecutor.
Furthermore, the law doesn’t identify specific drugs that can lead to prosecution. In practice, though, prosecutors typically consider any drug regulated as a controlled substance to be grounds for a DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) prosecution. Accordingly, this means that you could be charged with impaired driving if you were under the influence of prescription drugs that you were legally taking.
If you are pulled over and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, you can face prosecution in a manner similar to being charged with drinking and driving. You can also expect that the penalties imposed will be comparable to those for a drunk driving conviction.
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