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Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) In DUI Cases

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Oct 08, 2018

Drug recognition experts are becoming an essential part of the DUI cases in Los Angeles, California. Now, with marijuana being legalized, people smoke marijuana while driving. They're smoking marijuana and then getting in the car and driving.

The police are pulling them over because of the way they're driving. Once the police identify that they're under the influence of some substance, they will do all of their DUI tests. The alcohol tests will not work for somebody under the influence of drugs or marijuana. So, they're going to need a DRE or drug recognition expert to come out and perform different tests other than the alcohol tests.

That's where I've seen a lot of mistakes being made as this whole marijuana issue has become more and more prevalent in the DUI world. The police give people alcohol tests and then try to claim they didn't pass the test. Then, they have the person blow, and they don't blow anything.

Then they realize this person is under the influence of marijuana or some other intoxicant other than alcohol. So, why did you have him do the alcohol test? So, the DRE can be called out to the scene. They can perform specific tests to determine whether somebody is under the influence of some drug. Also, I see the police carding individuals back at the police station, where they know that a drug recognition expert is available and can be tested there.

Some of the police officers that are driving around are drug recognition experts. So, the DRE is important because many of the tests related to DUIs are not designed to pick up other substances like marijuana, prescription medication, cocaine, or other illegal drugs.

Prescription Medication DUI

So, if somebody is driving under the influence of any drug, any intoxicant – even if they legally got it, like a prescription – and can't safely operate a motor vehicle, that's a DUI. That's what people don't get. I took my prescription medication, and I crashed into a tree.

Did you look at the bottle on the prescription medication to see whether you could drive with it? Did you mix it with anything else? Did you mix prescriptions? Also, they're nailing people right and left for marijuana DUIs. Drug recognition experts are one of the critical components to solidifying the arrest and solidifying the conviction in a DUI case.

So, a DRE or drug recognition expert is specially trained. They know how to determine whether somebody is under the influence of some intoxicant and whether or not they can safely operate a motor vehicle.

They're going to perform tests, and in the end, if a person decides they want to go to trial – I was okay. I was not under the influence of any intoxicant – then the DRE will be called to testify against him as a witness and go through all the tests they performed and say why they didn't perform satisfactorily.

Also, the DRE will probably try to get something from the person to establish what's in their system – their urine, their blood – they look at their tongue and their eyes. So, the DRE is a necessary element for drug-related DUI cases in Los Angeles County. Without a DRE and readings of zeros for alcohol, the prosecution's case will not be too good when it comes to a DUI.

Lawyer To Challenge Prosecutor's DUI Case

So, bet your bottom dollar that the police now know that the DUI defense attorneys will attack the prosecution's case without a DRE. Often, if the prosecutors can't prove that the person was under the influence of some drug, they're not going to file the case.

Even though the police arrest him, give them the case, without the DRE – without having a witness to be able to testify that the person was intoxicated and provide the reason why – they give the scientific evidence as to why this person was driving under the influence, that it was a DUI in Los Angeles.

Then once the prosecutors see that they know they can prove their case in a Los Angeles courtroom, they're going to file it and prosecute the person just as though they had drunk a bunch of alcohol and were driving around in a car.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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