What is the Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)?
The Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) program is an intensive training program that teaches law enforcement officers how to identify and evaluate drivers who are suspected of being impaired by drugs. The program was developed in the 1970s by the Los Angeles Police Department and has since been adopted by law enforcement agencies across the country, including in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s DRE program is administered by the State Police and consists of a two-week training course that covers a range of topics related to drug impairment, including the effects of various drugs on the body, the signs and symptoms of drug impairment, and the various tests and evaluations that can be used to determine whether a driver is impaired.
During the training, officers learn how to conduct a standardized field sobriety test, which includes a series of physical and cognitive evaluations that can help to identify impairment. They also learn how to conduct a drug influence evaluation, which is a more comprehensive evaluation that includes a physical examination, a review of the driver’s medical history, and a series of tests to determine the driver’s level of impairment.
Controversy Over the DRE Program
Once an officer has completed the DRE training, they are certified as a Drug Recognition Evaluator and can be called upon to conduct evaluations when a driver is suspected of being impaired by drugs. However, with these new pieces of training and systems, comes difficulty with consistency, validity, effectiveness, and reliability when in use.
The Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) program, which is used by law enforcement officers to identify and evaluate drivers who are suspected of being impaired by drugs, has faced criticism and controversy in recent years. Some of the key areas of controversy surrounding the DRE program include:
Lack of Scientific Evidence: Critics argue that the DRE program relies too heavily on subjective evaluations and that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the reliability of the evaluations. In particular, some experts have expressed concern that the program does not take into account the potential effects of medications or underlying medical conditions that may mimic drug impairment.
Racial Bias: Some studies have suggested that the DRE program may be biased against certain racial groups. For example, a study conducted in California found that Latino and African American drivers were more likely to be evaluated as drug-impaired than white drivers, even when their toxicology reports showed no evidence of drug use.
Use in Court: While the DRE program is widely used by law enforcement agencies across the country, there is debate about the program’s admissibility as evidenced in.
court. Some courts have accepted DRE evaluations as evidence of drug impairment, while others have been more skeptical.
Driving High and the DRE in New Jersey
New Jersey’s BAC limit of 0.08 is the standard for measuring a driver being under the influence of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. There is no current standard for measuring how one may be “at a limit” while operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs such as marijuana. With up-and-coming retail sales of recreational cannabis in our state, the DRE poses a threat to these retailers and could pose a larger threat to those in our state who are assumed to be driving under the influence of drugs by an officer.
This DRE model requires officers to conduct a 12-step test on a person to determine whether or not they are driving while under the influence of drugs. The steps include some common tests such as examining the subject’s eyes, balance, coherence, coordination, and pulse, among other things.
Protecting Your Rights and Future
If you or someone you know is facing DWI-related charges in New Jersey, it’s essential to seek legal help from an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. Our DWI attorney specializes in defending clients facing DWI charges in New Jersey. With over two decades of experience in DWI and criminal defense, our firm is confident in our knowledge and skills to build a strong defense on your behalf.
Whether you’re facing a first-time offense or multiple charges, our firm is here to help. With many claiming the DRE as “scientifically reliable”, we take a more critical stance on these evaluation techniques. We take a personalized approach to each case we handle and know that each case requires different approaches, tactics, and defense strategies to reach the outcome you need. With a deep understanding of the legal system and a commitment to providing exceptional client service, Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward protecting your future.