Kansas City Criminal Defense Lawyers
What is a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE)?

What is a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE)?

In the event you or a loved one is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Kansas, law enforcement officials at the scene may request the assistance of a drug recognition expert (DRE) to determine whether you or your loved one is intoxicated by drugs (e.g. marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, meth, PCP, GHB, opioids, etc.). DREs are police officers who are trained and certified to perform this task.

DUIDs in Kansas occur when:

  • You are operating a motor vehicle and you have ingested one or more drugs—or a combination of alcohol and drugs; and
  • You experience substantial physical and/or mental impairment from the drug and/or alcohol and prevents you from exercising safe operation of the vehicle, sufficient physical control, and/or clear judgment

In most cases, the arresting officer will call in a DRE when a driver passes a breath test but still appears intoxicated. DREs must adhere to ta 12-step process to make a proper assessment of a driver’s intoxication.

The following are the 12 steps a DRE must follow to determine drug intoxication:

  1. Breath Alcohol Test to ensure alcohol is not the cause of intoxication
  2. Learn about the arresting officer’s observations during arrest
  3. Examine the suspect by taking his/her pulse to ensure drug use is not related to injury or medical condition
  4. Conduct an eye examination (e.g. horizontal or vertical gaze nystagmus test)
  5. Perform a psychophysical test (e.g. one-leg stand, walk and turn, finger-to-nose, etc.)
  6. Check vital signs and check the pulse a second time
  7. Check pupils in different lighting conditions
  8. Examine muscle tone
  9. Search for injection sites and check the pulse a third time
  10. After the suspect is given his/her Miranda warnings, interview the suspect
  11. Assess all information and find an opinion about drug intoxication
  12. Conduct a toxicological examination, such as a blood, urine, or saliva test

Whatever the DRE determines will not result in an automatic guilty verdict. Yet, the DRE’s opinion helps the police and the prosecutor’s case against you and will increase the likelihood of conviction.

Remember, you have the right to an attorney while the DRE evaluates suspected intoxication. Your criminal defense attorney will thoroughly investigate your arrest and determine whether the DRE made a mistake (e.g. the DRE’s certification expired, the DRE improperly administered the 12-step process, or too much time passed between when the suspect was driving and when the DRE performed the evaluation process.)

If you have been charged with DUID in Kansas City, contact Rokusek Stein Law LLC today at (913) 583-0465 and schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options.

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