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Drivers: What You Need to Know about Drug Recognition Experts

If you have been arrested for a drug DUI in Los Angeles, call a DUI lawyer right away.A DUI involving drugs is handled much differently than one centering around alcohol. For years, technology companies have been busily honing ways to identify how much alcohol drivers consumed before they got behind the wheel. Breathalyzers are now a go-to industry staple for law enforcement officers who suspect a driver’s been drinking. Laws have been written which specifically dictate when someone’s over the legal limit because breath tests easily indicate when a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) measures 0.08%. If you measure 0.08% BAC or higher, you’ll be arrested. It’s that simple.

When it comes to suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana or other mind-altering substances that aren’t alcohol, things get complicated. In fact, police officers undergo a lot of training to ensure they understand how to recognize drivers who are intoxicated by alcohol. However, there are a lot of law enforcement units that are starting to realize the symptoms of drug intoxication aren’t necessarily similar to those of people who have been drinking. With this deficit in identification, officers have begun to rely on the assistance of drug recognition experts (DREs), who are specially trained to recognize and test for the intoxication of various drugs.

How DRE Officers Evaluate Drivers for Intoxication

Drug recognition experts use a 12-step evaluation process to evaluate drivers’ capabilities and functions. When a person is pulled over, the initial officer will ask questions of the driver and may administer field sobriety tests. If that officer suspects the driver may be under the influence of something the standard breathalyzer won’t be able to detect, they’ll call a DRE officer onto the scene or into the police station. DRE officers look for irregularities in drivers’ movements and body situations, including:

  • Extremely high (or extremely low) pulse
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Eye movement that includes involuntary jerking
  • Muscle tone that doesn’t match that of typical sober drivers
  • Physical coordination that seems to lead to impaired abilities
  • Inability to remember information or follow instructions

Obviously, much of this testing is subjective, meaning it’s up to the DRE officer to decide if he or she thinks the driver is under the influence of drugs. This officer also has the ability to require the driver to submit a blood sample. The sample will be sent off to a lab to be tested for an assortment of possible substances.

How Defense Attorneys Fight DUI Drug Cases

Experienced DUI attorneys know how the story goes. They’ve been involved in plenty of cases and have had to present (and fight) evidence in a number of ways. There are times when DREs have decided they see signs of impairment in a driver, but the suspect actually had a medical condition that’s unrelated to any drug or alcohol use. If you have allergies, fatigue, nervousness, or injuries following a collision, a DRE could easily confuse your state of being for a state of intoxication. There’s a big difference, and your lawyer will go to bat to prove your circumstances to the judge and jury.

Blood tests are critical when you’re fighting a DUI drug case in California. The sooner you can have your blood tested, the sooner you’ll be on your way to clearing your name, particularly if you weren’t driving under the influence in the first place. It’s all about proof, and if you weren’t doing anything wrong, your blood tests are the best evidence you could ever ask for. However, many times the presence of some drug in your blood means only that you ingested the drug within the last 2 days or more.

Blood tests aside, there’s still a lot of work experienced defense attorneys can perform in your favor. They’ll examine the process in which you were booked when you were arrested, investigate the questions you were asked when you were at the precinct, and incorporate pieces of the law that are meant to work for you. Also the admissibility of the blood test results can be challenged as a violation of the 4th amendment.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI of any type—whether you blew a high BAC or were suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, you’re going to want an attorney by your side as your undergo the court processes. Los Angeles DUI attorney Jon Artz is ready to get on your case. With plenty of years of experience under his belt, he’ll go to back against the prosecution, ensuring you achieve optimal results for your case.

Call (310) 820-1315 anytime, or fill out a form online for your free initial consultation.

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