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How Drug Recognition Experts Can Tell If You're Driving Drunk or High

Florida criminal defense attorneyJacksonville-area police officers conduct numerous traffic stops each day. Reasons for traffic stops often include speeding, broken taillights, or failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

Other reasons, however, may lead police to believe that a person is driving while impaired. This often includes erratic driving and failure to drive in between the painted lines on the road.

In other cases, driving late at night or during a holiday known for heavy drinking is enough for police to suspect impaired driving.

Which tactics are used by police?

The methods police use to detect that a person is driving impaired have become more sophisticated over the years, according to an article in verywellmind. The increase in drugged driving, for example, has led many police departments to begin employing Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) in conjunction with the International Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) program.

This initiative is led by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The DRE strategy involves a 12-step process to determine alcohol or drug impairment. This includes:

  • Conducting an alcohol breath test
  • Asking questions and observing a suspect's behavior and demeanor
  • Conducting a preliminary health examination - including suspect's pulse and pupils
  • Conducting an eye examination to determine which classification of drugs may be used
  • Conducting a standard field sobriety test
  • Conducting a dark room examination for dilated or constricted pupils
  • Checking muscle tone for drugs that cause either relaxation or tension
  • Checking a suspect's arms for injection sites
  • Asking further questions after an arrest
  • Identifying classification of drugs using the Drug Symptomatology Matrix
  • Conducting a toxicological examination

What are my rights?

In the event you are stopped and asked to undergo a series of tests for alcohol or drug impairment, it's critical that you put your rights first.

While it's not mandatory to take a breathalyzer test in Florida, legal consequences could follow if you refuse. A first-time refusal could result in your license being suspended for 12 months, with a 90-day mandatory waiting period for a hardship license. In addition, you could be charged with a misdemeanor. 

It's important to understand that the tests conducted by police aren't always 100 percent accurate.

When questioned by police, be aware that anything you tell them can later be used to convict you in court. That's why it's best to practice your right to remain silent and consult with an experienced Jacksonville DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

The attorneys at Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. have real courtroom experience helping those accused of DUI fight their charges. We'll fight aggressively to help you clear your name and maintain your freedom. Contact us today to learn more.

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