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The Role Of Miranda Rights In A Drug Related DUI Case

Interviewer: Any other crime I always ask this, “what about this idea of talking too much?” I hear this a lot from some lawyers and the idea of Miranda rights. If someone isn’t given their Miranda rights, they may think they’re going to get off. Is that still the case?

Sam Sachs: People think that if I tell the truth and I tell them I’m taking a prescription drug, then they’ll know I’m okay. Wrong. It’s true that they have to be given Miranda and they are, but they may be asked some preliminary questions and they don’t have to be given Miranda before the preliminary questions. Lots of times people are given Miranda, but they still think if they tell the truth it will set them free. They have watched Miranda rights being given on TV since they were little kids and then when the moment of truth comes, they spill their guts out. Therefore, if I tell the cop that I’ve taken stuff that was prescribed by my doctor, I’m going to be okay. They won’t think I was intoxicated. Wrong.

The Majority of Criminal Cases and Drug DUI Cases are Proved by Circumstantial Evidence

Interviewer: What about a case where the drugs did not belong to the person, is that going to be hard to prove?

Sam Sachs: There are still kids and adults that blindly swap prescriptions or take mommy or daddy’s something or other and they may get caught with it in their possession and that also bolsters the State’s case. Most criminal cases are proved, including drug DUI’s, by circumstantial evidence. Sometimes they will say “oh yeah, boy, I really took a whole mouth full of Vicodin and I’m out of my mind.” Occasionally that happens, but not usually. When the police decide they’re under the influence and then they arrest them, they have a right to a limited search, and if they find a bottle of Vicodin and it’s unmarked and there is no prescription, or it says somebody else’s name on it, or it’s mommy’s or daddy’s, that bolsters the State’s case. Then they likely will be charged with unlawful possession.

The Person Having Possession of a Non Prescribed Drug Will be Charged with Possession as Well as a DUI

Interviewer: Will the person be charged with both the drug charge and the DUI charge? Is that two separate charges?

Sam Sachs: If they’re in possession of something they don’t have a lawful prescription for, they will then be charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, which could be either a disorderly person’s offense or it could be, depending on what it is, an indictable crime or in some states what they call a felony.

The Penalties are Worse for First Offenders on Drug Related DUIs

Interviewer: Are the penalties going to be worse if it’s a drug related DUI?

Sam Sachs: The penalties are worse for first offenders on drug related DUIs. A first offender that blows a breath test of .08 but less than .10 only gets a 3 month license suspension. An alcohol DUI that blows .10 or higher gets a 7 month to a 1 year license suspension. A drug DUI is automatically given a 7 months to a year license suspension. Being slightly over the alcohol limit is less harsh than having a drug DUI.

All DUI Cases Are Under Mandate by the Supreme Court to be Processed through the System in 60 Days

Interviewer: How long is this case going to take?

Sam Sachs: All DUIs whether they are drug or alcohol related are under mandate by the Supreme Court to be processed through the system in 60 days. There actually are bean counters that try and make sure that all the judges handle drunk driving cases, be they drug or alcohol, within 60 days. A contested case rarely gets done in 60 days, but that’s the goal. If you do a thorough job in prepping and contesting the case, it usually does not get done in 60 days.

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