Charged with Being Under the Influence of Drugs, Marijuana, Cocaine
Under NJSA 2C:35-10(b), an individual is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if he is under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance. One is not guilty of being under the influence of CDS if the substance has been lawfully prescribed by a physician and is being taken in accordance with that prescription.
It is important to note that in order to obtain a conviction under this section, the state need not prove that the defendant was under the influence of any specific drug. A conviction can be sustained by proving that the accused did manifest physical and psychological symptoms or reactions caused by the use of any controlled dangerous substance.
The interesting aspect of these cases is whether the testimony of the officer regarding his opinion about the condition of the defendant at the time of arrest is admissible as a lay witness opinion or as expert testimony. For example, in certain DWI prosecutions involving drug related intoxication, the state must offer expert testimony regarding the manifestations of drug induced intoxication.