Instead of a dry, boring article, the following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Attorney Leckerman on the subject.
Interviewer: In New Jersey, for a drug based DWI, is there a different way you would handle prescription drug cases versus illegal drug cases?
Kevin Leckerman: Yes. With prescription drug cases, you have to take into account the person’s history. I want to know if the driver has been taking that medication for a substantial period of time. I want to know how much of the medication the person has been taking. I also want to know about any treatment the person is receiving for physical problems, which most likely have precipitated the necessity to use a prescription drug. There could be a lot of reasons why somebody may not be walking properly. This would explain why a person was prescribed Oxycodone. He or she may have had back problems for a number of years.
If a person hasn’t been sleeping well, the person could have been taking Xanax and may have it in his system. He may not be getting sufficient sleep, which could cause the person to act in a way that’s consistent with somebody who’s intoxicated. There are many studies out there that will show drowsy driving is almost as dangerous as drunk driving.
Kevin Leckerman: When it comes to illegal drugs, courts are a lot less willing to accept that a person may not be under the influence of an illegal drug, as opposed to a prescription drug. We all have taken prescription drugs in our lifetime, but many judges have not used illegal drugs or have very little tolerance in their minds for people using illegal drugs. So, trying to defend that person who is allegedly under the influence of an illegal drug is slightly more difficult than somebody who’s been prescribed medications. Although, it’s certainly possible to win a case with a driver who has been accused of using illegal drugs.