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Probable Cause For A Drug Related DUI Arrest

Interviewer: With drug DUIs what’s probable cause in that situation what would a police officer say to be probable cause?

Sam Sachs: Forprobable cause there’s two steps: one is what’s reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle. It could be anything.

It could be an uninspected vehicle, it could be a tail light out, it could be a headlight out, it could be weaving, it could be driving unreasonably slow and obstructing traffic, it could be speeding, it depends on the circumstances. The officer pulled up on the side of the car and suddenly said he smelled marijuana coming from the other car, that’s reasonable suspicion. They need reasonable suspicion for a stop. Once there’s probable cause for the stop then they have to form a reasonable belief that the operator is under the influence. That’s where they do their observations. They do the roadside tests, what we call psychomotor tests, and they do their evaluations. If they smell like marijuana and one of my favorites is, “the defendants tongue was green” as if that’s supposedly an indication that they were smoking marijuana (or maybe eating green jelly beans).

If a Bag of Marijuana is Found in a Car with Two Passengers, Both of them Will be Charged with Possession

Interviewer: What would happen in a situation where I was driving with my friends, or I loan my friend my vehicle to drive. We were both arrested for suspicion of marijuana if it is my car he was driving. What’s going to happen in that situation? What’s going to happen to me?

Sam Sachs: There’s no difference; you both get busted. If it’s one bag of marijuana or if there were four people in the car they usually all get arrested for possession, unless it is clear that it was in possession of only one of them. If there is some indication that it was ingested by the driver or the driver shows symptoms of being under the influence of marijuana, and in New Jersey the law today is that any layperson can determine if another one is drunk and any trained person can make a determination as to whether someone is stoned. There are cases where the passenger is busted for smoking and the driver is okay and not charged with anything.

Public Knowledge of Drug Related DUI Charges in New Jersey

Interviewer: What I was wondering also is what could happen collaterally with them getting the drug DUI? What may a person may face for instance, is their job going to find out about it right away?

Sam Sachs: Well when anyone gets arrested in New Jersey, that isn’t a juvenile, it is a matter of public record. The newspapers have the right to go to the courts and look at all the files and many newspapers both in print and also electronically will have listings of people that got arrested in Police Blotters. If you were to get arrested for DUI tonight, you might find if you search the internet for your name tomorrow that your local newspaper has put it up on the web. Yes, if the employer checks they may find out if they read the paper. They also may find out as there are many occupations where there is a reporting requirement. For instance, in New Jersey now under the administrative code if you’re a school teacher you have to report it to the Department of Education and your school superintendent. Nurses and doctors also have to self-report under certain circumstances.

Certain Professions like Teachers or Nurses Have to Inform their Employer Regarding a DUI Charge

If you’re a school teacher in many school districts, you have to report to your employer. Nurses may have to report these arrests to the Nursing Board. Whether there are consequences is another story. I’m certainly not an expert as to employment law or those consequences, but there are many professional licenses that require reporting and many corporations in their employee manual will say if you are arrested for X, Y, or Z you must report it to Human Resources. The police are not going to call the employer, but there is public access or the individual may have to disclose.

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