Use of or Being Under the Influence of Drugs

     If you have been arrested and charged for the use or being under the influence of a drug or controlled dangerous substance (CDS), having the right attorney on your side is crucial.  With over 40 years experience as Judge, Prosecutor, and Defense Counsel, the Attorneys of Avery & Avery specialize in NJ criminal defense, and know how to keep you safe.

       In most cases you do have a defense, or a way around Jail time, Fines, License Suspension, and a Criminal Record, and it is important to contact an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney immediately to help guide you through our complicated legal system.  It is also important to remember that even if there are no affirmative defenses, a Criminal Defense Attorney can still help by significantly reduces the penalties or entering you into a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or the Conditional Discharge program.

Website pic, Multiple drugs

What is an under the influence charge N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10?

     Drug use or being found under the influence of Drugs, whether it be Marijuana, Cocaine, LSD, Mushrooms, Heroin, Extacy, Methamphetamine, etc, in New Jersey is a fairly common offense.  Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, this charge is a disorderly persons offense which may result in a 6 month jail sentence, a $1,000 fine., and up to a 2 year driver’s license suspension.

The full text of section b of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 follows:

  • b. Any person who uses or who is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, for a purpose other than the treatment of sickness or injury as lawfully prescribed or administered by a physician is a disorderly person.
  • In a prosecution under this subsection, it shall not be necessary for the State to prove that the accused did use or was under the influence of any specific drug, but it shall be sufficient for a conviction under this subsection for the State to prove that the accused did use or was under the influence of some controlled dangerous substance, counterfeit controlled dangerous substance, or controlled substance analog, by proving that the accused did manifest physical and physiological symptoms or reactions caused by the use of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog.

     If you have been charged with drug possession in NJ, our Experienced Drug Possession Defense Attorney's are among the best in the state and will fight to keep you safe!  

Can I Fight my Under the Influence Charge?

       There are many avenues of defense, these rely on defects in how the police obtained evidence or their unpersuasive reports.  To prove their case they will generally need testimony of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), except in the case of marijuana intoxication.  Our vigorous defense team has helped thousands of clients beat the DRE's report, and obtain a full dismissal.

Do I need a Lawyer?

New Jersey has some of the countries most forgiving Criminal Procedure rules, and some of the most protections against illegal police action.  Even so, with the possibility of jail and the stigma of being convicted of a drug offense, as well as a mandatory 6 month to 2 year drivers license suspension, it is important not to take a risk by defending yourself, and rather to be represented by an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney for the best chance at a good resolution of your under the influence case.

     For a free consultation, please call us at, 201-943-2445, or reach out to us via our contact page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the amount of drugs in my system matter?

       Generally the police will need a court order to take blood samples for testing, and so will not have this evidence.  If however you were found in medical need, the hospital may obtain the samples and later provide it to police.  Blood evidence such as this, for most drugs, often does not prove current intoxication as it may simply prove heavy past use.

What if I didn't finish the sale?

      As the name of the offense indicates, it is the intent to distribute that really matters.  As long as the prosecutor can demonstrate you intended to and had the ability to sell, manufacture, or distribute the pot, weed, marijuana, etc, you can be found guilty and you should strongly consider contacting a lawyer.  For more information on Drug Distribution charges, see here.

If they have caught me and there are no defenses, what can I do?

       In some situations the police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  In situations like these we have often been successful in downgrading the offense to a far lesser penalty and no jail time.  Another approach is to enter our client into a diversionary program such as Pre Trial Intervention (PTI) or Conditional Discharge.  These programs provide the benefit of no jail time and no criminal record.  We have been successful with combinations of the two as well when dealing with high level offenders.

What do I tell the police? 

       We give the same answer to all clients regarding all criminal charges, say nothing!  Until you talk to your NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Is working with the police to have my charges dismissed a possibility?

       Sometimes the best approach to avoid prosecution is for a client to "turn state's evidence".  This is an opportunity which occasionally can be worked out with the prosecutor and police in order to have our clients charges dropped.  If being Under the Influence is the only charge, we generally would take other actions such as entering a diversionary program such as conditional discharge or PTI rather than cooperate with the police.

How will my under the influence charge affect my immigration status?

       This is not a simple question.  Depending on what your status is, and what your charges are, there can be vast consequences including deportation from the United States.  Generally any drug conviction can be grounds for deportation except the possession of under thirty grams of marijuana.  For more information on the immigration consequences of New Jersey crimes, please see here.

I have been caught on this before, are there any additional penalties?

       The courts have a range of authority in sentencing and will generally increase your penalties for being under the influence the more you get.  For a first offense you may get little to no jail time, for a third offense they may give you the full 6 months.  For second, third and subsequent under the influence offenses it is even more urgent you contact a lawyer.

I didn't have the drugs on me when I was busted, is that a defense? 

     It is not a defense to have no drugs in possession at the time you were arrested.  The police need only prove they had probable cause to arrest you, and sufficient evidence to prove you were under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, such as, weed, dope, cocaine, hallucinogens, etc.  Your best defense is a NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer who can defeat the States case based on lack of probable cause or lack of proof of intoxication.   

It was in a school zone how does that affect the case?

       Being under the influence in a school zone may increase the penalties the judge feels are appropriate.  For instance he may impose a sentence of jail time, whereas otherwise he may not.  Even without an offense in a school zone, jail time is a very real possibility.  With a near perfect record of keeping our clients out of jail on their Under the Influence and other drug charges you should contact the lawyers of Avery & Avery, and protect yourself today.

Why is there a driver’s license suspension when I was not driving when I was caught?

     Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16, nearly all drug related offenses come with the additional penalty of a mandatory 6-24 month revocation of license.  It is uncommon however, that even in the worst of cases our criminal defense attorney's can save your license.  For a free consultation, we invite you to contact our NJ lawyers now.

© Avery & Avery, Esqs., 2012-2017 All rights reserved. Robert W. Avery, Esq., Avery & Avery, Esqs., www.averylaw-nj.com and drugcrimedefenselawyer-nj.com, own all intellectual property rights, including all copyrights, in and related to the content and top design of this site and the organization of the information contained in this site. Disclaimer: This website is made available by Robert W. Avery, Esq., and Avery & Avery, Esqs., to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice.  By using this website, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the website publisher.  Communication by you (via email, facsimile, or telephone) does not create an attorney client relationship, which can only be accomplished by a written retainer agreement between lawyer and client.  Our top priority is to provide all of our clients and those who search for us, whether for personal injury matters, general trial work, criminal arrests, drug and marijuana arrests, municipal court dui dwi drunk driving arrests and breathalyzer/alcotest refusal representation, or for estate planning, estate administration, powers or attorney, living wills, advance directives, or for their last will and testament, with the best representation and best defense available anywhere. Our primary practice is in the Bergen County, Hudson County, Passaic County, Morris County, Essex County, Sussex County and the North New Jersey region.