The prospect of legalizing marijuana has swept the nation over the past few years. States like California, Colorado, and Washington have since served as controlled experiments for what effects legal recreational marijuana could have on a state. New Jersey has been a top contender to be the next state to legalize marijuana since Governor Phil Murphy took office, and it appears that day may soon come. Should that day arrive, it is important to note that legal marijuana does not constitute legally driving under the influence. Should a mistake like that befall you, we are prepared to help. If/when recreational cannabis use gets legalized in this state, we will be here with a comprehensive article on any questions you may have concerning those new laws. For now, in terms of how DUIs involving marijuana can affect you, here is what you need to know:
After you are pulled over, if you are suspected of being under the influence of a foreign substance (DUI), you are administered what is known as a Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) test. The test can classify seven (7) drug categories: CNS Depressants, CNS Stimulants, Hallucinogens, Dissociative Anesthetics, Narcotic Analgesics, Inhalants, and Cannabis. This test is not administered by the officer pulling you over, but by a different officer, who has been trained and certified in conducting these tests, known as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). Each municipality has trained and certified DRE’s, and the test that they administer has multiple components. Each step must be conducted while abiding by a single set of standards, and the DRE’s final evaluation is made based on all factors, not simply by the results of a single step in the process. The DEC is broken up into 12 sections; these 12 sections can be found listed and explained here:
Following your processing and moving to your appearance in court, the State is required to produce evidence to prove its case against you. In the past, prosecutors believed that the State was not obligated to provide face sheets as a part of discovery. However, the Attorney General and Appellate Division of the Superior Court of NJ have advised that all handwritten face sheets (pictured below) are discoverable and shall be provided to those requesting them as long as the discovery request includes “handwritten notes”. Face sheets are full reports which detail a subject’s responses to the DEC tests being administered. They correlate directly with rolling logs, which are written layouts of all of the DECs a DRE conducts. Both of these items are required to be kept by DREs; these two pieces of “evidence” gathered in any DUI case are two of the most important items utilized in fighting them. This is because, as mentioned before, there are many steps which must be followed by a DRE, and any misstep can aid in your defense.
Our team holds expertise in understanding and fighting DUI’s, including the components mentioned above. We know how to use this new advantage to aid in your defense, and are fully prepared to handle your case. Our team includes DRE expert Frank Novakowski, who is not only trained in conducting DEC’s, but certified to teach classes on how to conduct them as well. To learn more, or for a complimentary consultation, contact the Law Offices of Eric B. Morrell at (732)-249-9933.