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How Do Georgia Police Officers Identify Drug-Impaired Drivers?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | DUI charges

Of course, you likely understand that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is unlawful. You probably also know that police officers can detect alcohol impairment through field sobriety tests and breathalyzers.

You might not realize this, but law enforcement has developed methods of identifying possible drug impairment in drivers. The Georgia Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program deploys trained officers to recognize drug-impaired drivers in the field, making it harder to escape DUI charges.

How does it work?

The officer that stopped your car will call in a DRE if they suspect drug incapacitation but find no evidence. The DRE will speak with you and then administer a 12-step drug recognition process. Some of the involved steps include:

  • Taking your vital signs
  • Taking numerous pulse readings
  • Examining your eyes under several lighting conditions
  • Examining your body for possible injection sites
  • Assessing your speech and behaviors

Based on their assessment, the DRE may authorize your arrest on drug-related DUI charges. A toxicological test is usually administered to confirm the DRE’s opinion.

Can you defend against the DRE process?

Although DREs undergo training, they can make mistakes the same as anyone else. Having your case professionally reviewed may reveal police officer missteps to exploit in your defense. Here are three examples:

  • Use of improper eye testing equipment
  • Incomplete 12-step process
  • Improper or insufficient DRE training

You could also base your defense on mistakes the police officer that pulled you over may have made. For example, showing that they lacked probable cause to stop your vehicle in the first place could improve your defense.

Regardless of your approach, defending yourself against a drugged driving DUI conviction may be an achievable goal.