Marijuana is slowly becoming legalized around America, but it is far from being a legal right of the people. Currently, there are only 30 states that allow any legal weed use, while only 9 of those allow it to be used both medicinally and recreationally. New Jersey is on the list of states that only allows weed use with approval from a licensed medical professional and a prescription. Medical marijuana has been known to help a wide array of mental disorders and disabilities, drastically reduce pain for many conditions, calm muscle spasms, lower nausea from cancer treatments, prevent seizures, and improve appetite issues. It is also a popular recreational activity due to its mental effects.
Prescription Drug Use and NJ Vehicle Operation
A DUI is not limited to alcohol consumption, but applies instead to ANY drug-like substance that can affect the nervous system, reaction time, mental function, and overall ability to operate a vehicle safely. This goes beyond just illegal drugs like LSD, cocaine, heroin, etc. This can include over the counter antihistamines such as Zyrtec or Claritin, prescription painkillers like Percocet or Oxycontin, certain anxiety-controlling meds like Xanax, ADHD medication from rebound effects, antidepressants, and even over the counters like Nyquil that can cause drowsiness.
First, it is important to remember that weed use is only legal medicinally in New Jersey. That means if you are caught driving high without medical approval, you will be charged with illegal possession of marijuana, which is a criminal offense. Penalties can include up to 6 months for small amounts, but can go up and be up to the judges’ decision if much higher possession levels are discovered. You could even be looking at intent to distribute charges if it they can determine you had large amounts meant for more than just yourself.
If you were driving under the influence, but given medical clearance to use marijuana, you can still be charged and penalized for impaired driving, even if the medicine helps with other impairments such as pain or nausea which can result in distracted driving. The severity of the penalties depends on if it is a first, second, third, or beyond DUI charge.
Michele Finizio Legally Advises NJ Clients
If you have been caught driving under the influence of marijuana, in possession of illegal substances, or charged with other drug-related crimes you will want quality legal defense on your side to help you get penalties reduced and guide you through the complicated and stressful court system. Michele Finizio has the knowledge and experience necessary to fight for her NJ clients. Call her office today at 609-230-0374 or contact her law firm using the online form.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.