Blog

New Jersey DRE – Trained Drug Recognition Expert Officers for DWI

Get to Know How Drug Recognition Experts and Evaluations Work in NJ DUI Cases

NJ Drug Recognition Expert DRE for DWI Legal DefensesWhen an officer detects alcohol on your breath, they will most likely give you field sobriety tests and later ask you to blow into a breathalyzer to measure your blood alcohol level. However, when the officer suspects you are under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance like cocaine, or driving under the influence of heroin, or a DUI with prescription drugs, they probably will call upon a drug recognition expert (DRE) after they arrest you and take you to the station. As a police officer specially trained in recognizing drug-impaired individuals, a DRE interviews and examines a driver arrested for a suspected DUI. Without the DRE, a drug DUI can be challenging to prove.

The Purpose of a Trained DRE Officer

DREs are not a staple in every single case. Since their training is in-depth and specialized, their numbers are smaller than other police personnel. A large part of their training under the International Association of Chiefs of Police is learning which drugs affect specific body systems. The seven main drug categories a DRE studies are depressants, inhalants, psychedelics, marijuana, stimulants, hallucinogens, and narcotic analgesics. They also learn the procedures for detecting drug impairment. Their training helps them identify the most common street and prescription drugs and their effects. As such, when a driver is arrested on suspicion of a DUI, the DRE administers tests to figure out what the suspect consumed and when. Since a urine test can identify drugs in an individual’s system, one would conclude a DRE is not necessary. However, time and amount are critical in confirming a driver’s impairment during arrest and prosecution for driving under the influence. Urine tests do not confirm when the suspect took drugs or how much. In fact, some drugs linger in your system for days or weeks.

What Happens when Conducting a Drug Recognition Expert Examination

Questioning

A DRE can judge an individual’s intoxication by their education and sanctioned tests. The determination process begins with a breathalyzer test to eliminate alcohol as the cause for impairment, followed by a briefing by the arresting officer. The officer informs the DRE of what occurred and what they observed about the suspect’s behavior or evidence they found, like a prescription bottle. Then, the DRE turns to the suspect for information, asking questions that may lead to relevant information. For example, they might ask if the suspect takes prescription drugs for a medical condition. If the suspect affirms that they do, the DRE may have better information to hone in on the type of drug and effects impairing the suspect, even if the suspect denies taking them before driving. The DRE can also observe the suspect’s behavior, judging whether drugs or medical conditions impair them.

Tests

After, they begin the examinations, the first being the eye or horizontal gaze nystagmus test, one of the typical field sobriety tests law enforcement administers in the field. A DRE wants to check for pupil dilation and if the suspect can follow a pen or finger, left and right or up and down, while keeping their head still. If the eyes twitch or tremor, that may be a sign of impairment. Other field sobriety tests include the one-leg stand, walk and turn, finger to nose, and Romberg balance tests. These tests check for balance and coordination as well as cognitive function. The individual must follow specific instructions for taking the test.

Physical Exams

After, a physical examination includes taking the vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. They also check muscle tone, look inside the suspect’s mouth and nose, and check for injection marks. For example, slow or fast heart rate or high or low blood pressure correspond to specific drugs, as do rigid muscle tone and injections. And the mouth and nose may show recent drug use, such as powdery substance residuals in the nose. After the physical exam, the officer examines the suspect in a dark room to measure their pupils under different lights to check for unequal pupil dilation.

Conclusions & Lab Samples

Finally, the DRE records their impressions and educated opinion about the suspect’s impairment before sending off gathered blood, saliva, and urine samples to the lab after obtaining the suspect’s consent for taking the samples. The entire exam process allows the DRE to evaluate a suspect’s attitude, coordination, face, speech, and breath and match the information against the seven categories of drugs.

What does a DRE do to Help the Prosecutor Prove DUI Charges?

Since urine, blood, and saliva tests may not help determine when a suspect ingested or inhaled drugs relative to the drive before the arrest, a DRE is critical for evidence of a suspect’s impairment when arrested for DWI charges. If a prosecutor cannot pinpoint the impairment to the time of the accused’s arrest, they may run into many problems trying to get a conviction for DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. While the DRE is an essential component to the state’s case for a drug DUI, they may not always be available after your arrest. In that case, you may have a better chance of creating doubt in a judge’s mind about your impairment at the time of the arrest.

How to Dispute a Drug Recognition Expert Report for Your DWI Case

Even if a DRE does examine you, issues a report to the prosecutor, and testifies at your DUI trial, you can still challenge the DRE’s conclusions and procedures. For example, a DRE relies, in part, on the arresting officer’s impressions of your behavior leading up to and during the arrest. However, police making the arrest mostly view the facts in favor of prosecution and guilt. That’s why you need to have your own DWI lawyer examining your case for potential defenses and making the calls about how best to dispute the evidence.

A skilled DUI defense attorney knows how to pick apart a prosecutor’s case, including a DRE’s testimony and reports. Hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney improves your odds of beating the case and avoiding the many harsh penalties for DUI in New Jersey. Although a prosecutor may not offer a plea bargain in a DUI case, they may have no choice if your lawyer gets a dismissal because the case has too many weaknesses.

Find out from a Top NJ DUI Attorney the Strengths and Weaknesses of your Case after a DRE Exam

If you are arrested for a drug DUI in Bellmawr, Berlin, Lindenwold, Camden City, Cherry Hill, Gloucester, Winslow, or another town in the Camden County area, call on a DUI defense attorney with extensive background and credentials at our firm. Having handled a multitude of cases involving driving under the influence in his time as a dedicated DWI lawyer, William Fay understands how the police operate and a DRE’s education and testing methods. Let his and our team’s proven experience work for you. Call 609-832-3202 to get a free DWI legal consultation today.

Endangering the Welfare of a Child Charges for DUI in New Jersey

Facing Charges for DWI with a Minor Passenger in NJ The offense of driving under the influence in New Jersey can be punished severely, especially for subsequent offenses. When an individual decides to drive while intoxicated (DWI) or drive under influence of drugs (DUI) with a minor passenger in the vehicle, […]

READ MORE

Testimonials

testimonials reviews
"Excellent criminal defense lawyer"

"William handled a matter for me and exceeded my expectations. He was excellent in all areas of the law and achieved an outstanding result. Best of all,he demonstrates honesty and integrity. I would highly recommend William and already have."

Wayne

testimonials reviews
"Amazing!!!"

"I was so scared and nervous about my legal situation but Mr. Fay did an outstanding job with my case!!! I was so relieved with the outcome and he worked so hard for me! He was so calm and understanding and I’m so grateful for him. Thank you so very much for helping me! I am so grateful appreciative."

Jessica

testimonials reviews
"All Charges Dropped & Expunged"

"William defended me in my marijuana + paraphernalia case, he had all charges dropped and expunged! Despite the fact I was long past conditional discharges/probation, etc. He has a sharp wit and a bright future ahead of him as an attorney. Thanks again Will!"

Andrew

testimonials reviews
"Fantastic Lawyer"

"Mr. Fay is a fantastic lawyer. He helped me during a very stressful time in my life. He was knowledgeable about my case and what my options were. He answered all my questions and was very reassuring. He was there waiting for me at the entrance on my court date and made me feel at ease. He worked with the prosecutor to reduce my charges. I got the best outcome I could have hoped for. I highly recommend Mr. Fay if you need a lawyer."

Eric

testimonials reviews
"Marijuana Charges"

"I was arrested and summoned to court for possession of marijuana, even though I didn't have any on me. It was my first time getting in trouble and I was terrified and nervous. Mr. Fay came into court prepared and was extremely assuring. He made it very clear that he was going to fight for my case until the very end. He was extremely knowledgable about my case and the ways to resolve it. I would recommend Mr. Fay to anyone who has gotten into trouble."

former client

testimonials reviews
"Excellent lawyer. Highly recommended."

"Mr. Fay is extremely caring and knowledgeable. He took the time to explain the entire process in a very clear manner and was a tremendous help during a stressful time. He was always available to take a phone call and really showed that he cared about me and my case. I highly recommend Mr. Fay as an attorney." "

former client

testimonials reviews
"Highly recommend"

"Great lawyer. Created a best possible outcome for my case."

former client

testimonials reviews
"Amazing job, explains very clearly"

"He did a fantastic job on my case, making my penalty much less than I thought it could possibly be. He clearly understands what he is doing and can explain everything in a way that anyone can understand. Any questions I had were answered very clearly and he listened to all small details of my case."

former client

Request a Free Consultation

Request a Free Consultation

If you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal or DUI offense in New Jersey, finding the answers you need to make informed decisions is critical. Complete our contact form to request your free consultation or contact 609-832-3202


We are available 24/7 Nights and Weekends to Provide Free Consultations | Hablamos Español