What If I’m Caught Driving Under the Influence of Drugs?

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At times, we’ve all exercised poor judgment. While you should never operate a motor vehicle after you’ve used narcotics or other intoxicating substances, doing so shouldn’t necessarily define the rest of your life. Whether you’re being charged for your first or third offense of driving while under the influence of drugs, please continue reading, then reach out to an experienced Mercer County drug DUI attorney to discuss your next steps.


In New Jersey, the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs depend on the number of times, if any, you’ve committed this offense before. All will require the payment of a $100 DUI enforcement surcharge. The penalties are as follows:

First offense:

  • $300 to $500 fine
  • 12 to 48 hours at the intoxicated driver resource center
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,000/year for 3 years
  • 7 months to 1 year suspension of driving privileges

Second offense:

  • $500 to $1,000 fine
  • 30 days of community service
  • 48 hours to 90 days in jail
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,000/year for 3 years
  • 2 years suspension of driving privileges

Third or subsequent offense:

  • $1,000 fine
  • Up to 90 days of community service
  • 12 to 48 hours at an intoxicated driver resource center
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,500/year for 3 years
  • 10 years suspension of driving privileges

If you’ve been convicted of a similar law in another jurisdiction, that may count as a prior conviction.


If you’re suspected of driving under the influence, you’ll be asked to provide a sample of blood or urine to police for testing in order to verify the presence of narcotics. While it’s legal to refuse to provide testing samples, expert testimony – attesting to the defendant’s erratic driving, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and other physical or mental conditions and symptoms – is sufficient to sustain a conviction. Prior convictions may also be used as corroborating evidence.

Can subsequent offenses count as first offenses after a certain period of time?

The statutory limitations for drugged driving depend on whether the offense is a first, second or third offense. An offense that occurs more than ten years after a first offense will be penalized as a first offense. A third offense where none of the priors were within the last ten years will be treated as a second offense. If you have questions about the best path forward, you need a competent Mercer County drug crime lawyer.


Here at the Law Office of Douglas Herring, we believe that everyone accused of a crime is entitled to due process. No one facing a criminal matter should proceed without a competent attorney on their side. We are here to listen to your case, determine the best strategy going forward, and fight for your rights. Contact us today so we can get started. 

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