Drug Recognition Expert

Charged With a Drug DWI?

New Jersey law requires a drug recognition expert (“DRE”) in the vast majority of drug DUI cases. A DRE is a police officer who has special training to identify drug impairment. Training to become a drug recognition expert is very involved and many departments in the state do not even possess one on staff, let alone one on every shift. If you were charged with a prescription drug DWI or driving under the influence of some other drug, you should know that your offense is probably highly defensible. The lawyers on our staff possess decades of experience defending DWI charges and we are ready to assist you. Here is some important information you might want to know about drug recognition experts.

Categories of Drugs the DRE Is Supposed to Recognize

There are seven (7) categories of drugs that a drug recognition expert is trained to detect — Central Nervous System Depressants, Inhalants, Dissociative Anesthetics, Cannabis, Central Nervous System Stimulants, Hallucinogens and Narcotic Analgesics.

Tests Administered by the Drug Recognition Expert

In accordance with the standards established by the DRE certification body, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, there is a twelve (12) step protocol to detect drugs and impairment.

  1. Breath Alcohol Test: the suspect is to be breathalyzed to determine whether or not alcohol is a factor in his or her appearance, function, etc.
  2. Consultation with the Arresting Officer.
  3. Preliminary Examination: initial questioning of the suspect to gather as many relevant facts as possible.
  4. Eye Examination: this primarily involves examination of the pupils and the existence or non-existence of nystagmus (i.e. smooth tracting of the eyes horizontally or vertically).
  5. Divided Attention Tests: these are the classic field sobriety tests, namely, the one leg stand test, walk and turn test, a Rombergs Balance test, and the Finger to Nose Test.
  6. Examination of Vital Signs: the heart rate/pulse, blood pressure and body temperature of the suspect is to be taken.
  7. Dark Room Examination
  8. Examination of Muscle Tone
  9. Examination for Injection Sites
  10. Suspect’s Statement & Any Other Observations
  11. Opinion of the Evaluator
  12. Toxicology Sampling: a blood, saliva and/or urine sample should be taken for laboratory testing.

As you might conclude from the aforesaid, DWI cases involving drugs have a tendency to be complicated. The flip side of this complexity is the opportunity for so many defense issues. This is where experience in drug recognition is so important — experience possessed by the defense team at our firm. Give us a call and one of our skilled attorneys will be more than happy to assist you in a free initial consultation.