New breathalyzer can detect the presence of drugs, in addition to alcohol
When someone is pulled over due to a suspicion that he or she is driving under the influence of alcohol, it is likely that the law enforcement officer will request the motorist consent to a breathalyzer test. What do police officers typically do when they suspect the individual is under the influence of drugs? Until now, a roadside test has not been available to identify the presence of drugs in a driver’s system.
While New Jersey and other states across the country have not yet adopted the new test, it may soon be a staple for law enforcement officers. The new breathalyzer was developed by researchers in Sweden. They report that it can identify the presence of 12 different drugs, in addition to alcohol. Among the controlled substances the breathalyzer can detect are marijuana, morphine, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Researchers tested the accuracy of the new test and determined that it is relatively the same as a blood or urine test used to detect the presence of drugs. A study involving the new breathalyzer test found that it gave accurate readings 87 percent of the time.
Fight drugged driving charges in New Jersey
New Jersey law provides that an individual may be charged with driving under the influence if it is found that he or she is under the influence of a:
- Habit-producing drug
It is important for New Jersey residents to be aware, however, that the implied consent laws for alcohol do not extend to controlled substances, including marijuana. In other words, a motorist cannot be subjected to penalties for refusing a requested drug test.
The penalties for driving while under the influence of a controlled substance depend on the number of prior convictions in New Jersey. Upon a first offense, a motorist may be subjected to a fine between $300 and $500. The individual may also be incarcerated for a maximum of 30 days. In addition, the driver may lose his or her right to drive on New Jersey highways for anywhere from seven months to one year.
The penalties are harshest following three or more convictions. In such situations, the driver may be fined $1,000 and incarcerated for 180 days or more. If the motorist agrees to participate in a rehabilitation program, the jail sentence may be reduced. The motorist may also lose the right to drive on New Jersey highways for 10 years, and will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle.
When someone is facing charges of drugged driving, seeking the counsel of a skilled criminal defense attorney is a wise step to ensure a strong defense is established on his or her behalf.