Before someone is pulled over on suspicion of using drugs, the officer will evaluate their driving. If the officer sees that they are driving in a manner that would indicate being under the influence of something, then they will pull that person over, approach them, and evaluate how they're speaking and what their eyes look like.
The police are specifically trained to identify people who are under the influence of prescription medication or a drug that would affect their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. A lot of times, they'll just directly ask a driver whether or not they've had any alcohol or used any drugs. This would be their first line of attack.
Next, the police would call out an expert who is trained to identify whether someone is under the influence of some sort of narcotic that would hinder their ability to drive a motor vehicle. Finally, they would request that the person take a urine test so they could analyze through a toxicological screen whether or not that particular individual was under the influence of any substances.
Field Sobriety Tests In Drug DUI Cases
If an officer suspects that a person is under the influence of drugs and requests that they perform field sobriety tests, then they are probably inexperienced. This is because the field sobriety tests are meant to identify whether someone is under the influence of alcohol rather than some type of prescription or narcotic. If an officer does use the standard field sobriety tests, then their credibility can be attacked by a good criminal defense/ DUI defense attorney.
More experienced officers would have a drug recognition expert come out to the scene if they suspect a person to be under the influence of prescription drugs or narcotics.
Oftentimes the police are unable to determine whether or not someone is under the influence of a drug, alcohol, or both. So, first they'll have the suspect take the handheld breath test to test for alcohol. If that registers zero but the officer still suspects that the person is under the influence of something, then they'll ask that person to take a blood test and/or a urine test.
Both blood and urine tests are able to identify whether someone has a narcotic in their system that would deem them unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Before testing for metabolites or active compounds in a marijuana related case, the police will first walk up to the vehicle and say they smell marijuana. Then they will look at the person and see how they are acting and try to determine whether or not the person seems impacted by the use of marijuana and/or able to operate a motor vehicle. Then they will usually do a urine test to determine whether or not the person is under the influence of marijuana.
Many years ago, the police could only determine whether or not someone had THC in their system. Now the tests are more sophisticated and can actually determine the level of marijuana intoxication. This obviously helps the prosecutors determine whether or not the person could safely operate a motor vehicle.
What Is A Drug Recognition Expert?
A drug recognition expert is a person who has been specifically trained to identify whether or not a person is under the influence of a particular narcotic or drug. A lot of people think that only illegal narcotics are illegal to use while driving, but the truth is that any substance which could impact your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle can cause you to receive a DUI.
Oftentimes, people are taking prescription medications that are prescribed by their doctors and that's causing them to become involved in an accident or not be able to safely operate a motor vehicle. The drug recognition experts use certain tests to determine whether or not a person can safely operate a motor vehicle. They also test to determine the type and quantity of a substance in someone's system.
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