Occasionally they would bring in what they refer to as a DRE, or a drug recognition expert, who is really not an expert. Lawyers who do not know what they are doing and who do not know the DWI defense field do not know that these people are not called drug recognition experts; the proper term is drug recognition evaluators.
Drug recognition evaluators are police officers who have gone to additional school and attended several hours of additional trainings, not just two or three hours. They have to undergo many hours of classes. There is an entire checklist of tests similar to the field sobriety test, and they would ask the person to perform them so they could look for any indication of what was going on. They can look at the eyes a different way, they could take pulse rates and breathing rates and respiration, and go through a slew that they would look for.
Remember, the police who are giving these tests would not be looking to see if the person was or was not intoxicated. The police would give these tests to just look for the signs of intoxication and guilt. They would be gathering more and more evidence to show the person had certain indicators of intoxication like red eyes. If they did not have that, then they would say they had some other sign so they could try and substantiate their belief.
Very seldom, if ever, do they try to substantiate or do a proper investigation to see whether or not the person was truly impaired by any kind of a drug, prescription or otherwise.
How And When Do The Police Test For The Presence Of A Prescription Drug In The Person’s System?
They should test by taking a blood test if they were really concerned there was any impairment. Generally, the police first ask the motorist if they had been drinking. Even though there was no alcohol and they did not smell alcohol, the police officer would usually say he did smell alcohol, and they thought the person had had alcohol anyway.
The first thing they would ask them to do would be to blow into a breath testing device or a pre-screening device. The breath device will would usually say there was no presence of alcohol. If they really wanted to pursue it, the police should and would ask the person to submit to a urine or blood test. Most motorists do not know they can demand to have that test.
The person would get arrested once the police officer pulled them over and suspected they were under the influence of something, even if the person did not show any presence of alcohol. 50% of the time, they do not take a urine test or a blood test, so then it is just the police officer’s opinion that the motorist who was driving in a certain fashion looked impaired to them. The person would have admitted they had taken drugs that night and that would be it, and our clients would be left to defend themselves and to almost prove they did not do anything wrong.
If Someone Took Their Prescribed Dose Of Medication, What Other Factors Would Determine Whether They Were Charged With DWI?
There really are no other factors. If the person took their medication and they told the police officer they had taken their medication, then the chances that the person would be arrested and charged with a DWI are better than 90%. The police officer would say the person took their medication and then he would leave it up to the accused to prove that that medication did not cause them to operate a motor vehicle in any bad way.
Should Someone Ever Admit To A Police Officer That They Were On A Prescription Of Any Sort?
I am big on telling people to use their first amendment right to speak to anybody they want to talk to and not to talk to anybody they do not want to talk to. I am not a big fan of volunteering to a police officer, even if it was volunteering by answering the question, because the person would be giving evidence against themselves, so my first general advice to people would be to be polite to the police officer but not answer their questions and not submit to any of their tests.
Even if the officer said “Good evening sir, do you know why I pulled you over?” the answer should be “No,” as opposed to “Yes officer. I’m sorry. I know I was going too fast.” People should not admit to something they do not have to admit to because it will come back against them.
If a police officer asked the person whether they had taken any medication that night, the person should just tell them that an attorney advised them to not answer their questions, and just leave it like that and blame it on the lawyer because if they were taking something other than aspirin or Tylenol, they would have opened the door to admitting to taking drugs. The officer would say “See, I told you he was taking something. I was right. I pulled him over because he was a bad driver because he has taken drugs and he admitted he took the drugs.”
I would not answer the question and I would not submit to chemical tests of any sort unless of course there was nothing in my system or I had only taken something that was not impairing. Everybody should know about the effects of their medications and they should ask their doctors and pharmacists about it.
It is a big problem when people do not know what they are taking. Every drug nowadays, including over the counter medication, has a warning to not operate machinery or heavy machinery. It is all disclaimers so people should know what it is that they are taking, whether it could affect them and if they were taking it then they should avoid answering the police questions. I would handle it by just not answering the police questions.
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