More and more, drug recognition experts are becoming an important part of the DUI world in Los Angeles, California. Now, with marijuana being legalized, people are smoking marijuana while they’re 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, and once the police identify that they’re under the influence of some sort of a substance, they’re going to do all of their DUI tests, and the alcohol tests are not really going to work for somebody who is 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 are giving people alcohol tests and then trying 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 certain tests to determine whether somebody is under the influence of some sort of a drug. Also, I see the police carding individuals back at the police station, where they know that a drug recognition expert is available and they can be tested there.
Some of the police officers that are driving around are drug recognition experts. So, the DRE is important because a lot of the tests related to DUI’s are not designed to pick up other substances like marijuana, prescription medication, cocaine, other illegal drugs. So, if somebody is driving under the influence of any drug, any intoxicant – even if they legally got it, like a prescription – and they can’t safely operate a motor vehicle, that’s a DUI too. 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 DUI’s and the drug recognition experts are one of the key components that they use to solidify the arrest and try to solidify 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 sort of an 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 fine. I was not under the influence of any intoxicant – then the DRE is going to 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 be able to establish what’s in their system – their urine, their blood – they look at their tongue, they look at their eyes. So, the DRE is a necessary element when it comes to drug-related DUI cases in Los Angeles County. Without a DRE and readings of zeros for alcohol, the prosecution’s case is not going to be too good when it comes to a DUI.
So, bet your bottom dollar that the police now know, without a DRE, the DUI defense attorneys are going to attack the prosecution’s case. A lot of times, if the prosecutors can’t prove that the person was under the influence of some sort of a drug, then they’re not going to file the case. Even though the police arrest him, give them the case, without the DRE – without having a live witness to be able to testify that the person was intoxicated and gives 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, and then once the prosecutors see that, now they know they can actually prove their case in a Los Angeles courtroom, then 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.
So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.