Are Drug-Related DWIs Becoming More Prevalent in
the State of New Jersey?

Interviewer: What percentage of DWI cases do you see that are related to prescription drugs versus illegal drugs versus alcohol?

Kevin: Most of my clients who have been charged with a DWI drug case have been alleged to have been under the influence of prescription drugs. Occasionally, I will have clients who are alleged to be under the influence of marijuana.

The majority, however, are people who have been seeking medical treatment for a long period of time and have been prescribed medications to treat particular medical conditions.

For instance, I will have clients who have back problems. For most people, back problems are debilitating. They’re given muscle relaxers or potentially some type of drug like Oxycodone or Percocet.

The officer gets the information from the client that he or she has been using these prescription drugs, and then jumps to the conclusion that the person must be under the influence of those drugs.

Interviewer: How does this issue get raised? Is it now a standard part of police questions in a DWI investigation, or is that people just get asked or they just volunteer the answers? How does this even come out?

Most People Freely Admit They Have Taken Prescription Medication to the Police

Kevin: Unfortunately, people will make admissions to police officers that they have been using particular medications. Sometimes, the officer will have searched the vehicle after an arrest and found pill bottles, and then make conclusions that those particular pills were being used prior to driving.