New Jersey DWI Attorney John Menzel

Are People Surprised When They Are Arrested For Prescription Drug DWI?


It is not uncommon for people to even suspect they were a target. But, you have to understand when the police officer starts asking you questions, whether you think you are a target or not, the safest course is always to say respectfully, “Officer, I don’t want to answer any questions. I have nothing to say about that”. It may make the officer feel as if you are guilty of something, because officers by virtue of their positions, by virtue of the fact that they are given a gun, a badge and a uniform expect people to answer questions when the officer puts the question to them. However, because of the Fifth Amendment and your right to remain silent, you have no obligation whatsoever to answer that officer’s questions.

If you are a target of a police investigation, there is absolutely nothing you can say that is going to help you. The best course of action is simply to decline the answer to that the question. The truth does not necessarily set you free. Very often the state can use the truth to convict even an innocent person. The way that works is because people sometimes misunderstand the truth or maybe make what you think is an innocuous statement and the police officer gets it and writes it down, not that the cop is lying, but they are human beings and they do make mistakes. Maybe you think of other factors that change the story and you are doing that, not because you are lying, but because you are remembering additional information and you want to be as helpful as you can.

The problem is the state will use those discrepancies to brand you a liar and to undermine your credibility in an effort to get you convicted. The best course of action, even if they seem to be asking a question like why are you taking medications, even though they make it seem like they are asking that question because they want to help you out, the best course is not to answer them.

How Reliable Is The Blood Testing Utilized In Prescription Drug DWI Cases?

Blood tests usually come into play when there is an accident when the person is somehow incapacitated and sometimes when drugs are indicated. The way the blood test works in New Jersey is this. The state police laboratory uses rather sophisticated scientific techniques called gas chromatography; sometimes they will use mass spectroscopy in an effort to identify substances in the blood and sometimes to even quantify the amount of the substance in the blood. Some states, for example, in the case of marijuana use, have attempted to establish certain levels or legal limits for marijuana, just like on the theory that it must work the same way that it works for alcohol, but it does not work in cases of substances other than alcohol.

The drug screen can generally detect the presence of it. It takes a lot more to quantify it, but more often than not, the state does not do a separate quantification, it just tests for the presence, which by the way, may do nothing more than indicate what a person has already admitted, that they took a certain type of drug. Blood testing does nothing more for the state and validate admissions made by a defendant. It may also independently, apart from the admissions, indicate the presence of drugs, but because the test used was sophisticated and reliable for identifying the drugs, at this point, they just do not quantify those drugs.

What Does The Prosecution Need To Prove In Prescription Medication DWI Cases?

They have to prove that, 1) you are operating a motor vehicle and 2) that you were impaired by alcohol or drugs. Those are fundamental elements of a DWI prosecution. The evidence they use comes from many sources. For driving, the most common form of evidence is the cop seeing the person drive. But, sometimes they have to rely on other types of evidence, like admissions. You are at an accident scene and the cop says, “Who is driving”, and you say, “I was”, you just helped them establish operation. Another way of proving operation is through circumstantial evidence.

In New Jersey, there is a very strong body of cases indicating that if your vehicle is found on the side of a limited access highway, that can be enough circumstantial evidence to establish operation. If they show you are the person associated with that vehicle, as in, you are the only person on the highway next to that car. When it comes to being under the influence, the officers will report the evidence that we talked about, the general observations and performance on the field sobriety test and to talk about performances with the drug recognition evaluation that the person might have submitted to after the arrest.

If they can tie that back to alcohol or drugs, the person is at risk of conviction. The other evidence they will use is the blood, breath test and again, the drug driving case. Breath tests are often exculpatory, they help the defense, but you do not want to submit to a blood or a urine test because if there are drugs in your system, the state is only going to use them to try to convict you.

For more information on Prescription Medication DWI Arrest, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (888) 394-1394 today.

John Menzel, J.D.

Learn your options - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (888) dwi-1-dwi

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