Do not plead guilty to a DUI just because a "Drug Recognition Expert" says you were impaired. A Drug Recognition Expert relies heavily on assumptions and judgment calls. These assumptions are frequently not based on fact, which means they could lead to the arrest of a completely innocent individual. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, you can effectively fight these charges!
A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is a law enforcement officer trained to identify people whose driving is impaired by drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. The 12 step procedure they follow is called a Drug Influence Evaluation (DIE), to determine which category of drugs is causing the driver to be impaired.
If a DRE determines that a driver is impaired, they will look for indications of the drugs by the common perceivable effects the drugs have on the human body. There are seven categories of classifications a DRE is looking for, including: Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants, CNS Stimulants, Dissociative Anesthetics, Cannabis, Hallucinogens, Inhalants, and Narcotics.
A DIE involves the following 12 steps (for a detailed description: IACP.org)
- Breath Alcohol Test: If the arresting officer reviews breath alcohol test and determines it does not explain the level of impairment they are perceiving, the officer requests a DRE evaluation.
- Interview of the Arresting Officer
- Preliminary Examination and First Pulse
- Eye Examinations
- Divided Attention Psychophysical Tests
- Vital Signs and Second Pulse
- Dark Room Examinations
- Examination for Muscle Tone
- Check for Injection Sites and Third Pulse
- Subject's Statements and Other Observations
- Analysis and Opinions of the Evaluator
- Toxicological Examination : After completing the evaluation, the DRE normally requests a urine, blood and/or saliva sample from the subject for a toxicology lab analysis.
Truthfully, the "expert" part of Drug Recognition Expert is a misnomer, these are people who are trained to fill out a chart based upon what they see. The chart is supposed to tell them what substance is present. The DIE is a guess! It is subjective and easily manipulated. DREs are not doctors, they have not nurses - in fact, they have little to no medical training at all. The DIE is nowhere near 100% accurate and there are many ways to challenge the DRE's testimony.