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Don't leave a drug recognition expert's opinion unchallenged

In a previous post, we discussed just two of the ways that a drug recognition expert's testimony can be challenged in court. Those are not, however, the only questions your attorney can raise.

Your attorney can often demonstrate a number of other flaws in the DRE system as a whole, plus elicit testimony that might cast doubt on the skill of the individual DRE involved in your case.

For example, some of the following issues might come up at your trial:

1. A DRE is supposed to follow 12 specific steps, including an evaluation of your breath alcohol test and an examination of your pulse rate, blood pressure and body temperature to determine if you show physical signs of intoxication or drug use.

Were any of those signs negative? If so, which ones? The DRE is going to focus on what tests gave positive indicators of drug use. It's important to let the jury hear the evidence in your case that supports the conclusion that you were not, in fact, impaired.

2. Your body may be slightly out of "normal" range anyhow. If, for example, you typically have a blood pressure that's slightly high or slightly low, your medical records may support a different conclusion than the DRE's opinion.

Did the DRE ask if you knew your normal blood pressure rate, pulse or body temperature? Was there another reason, aside from drug use, that those might have been high or low?

3. How accurate is the DRE's track record? A DRE is supposed to keep a rolling log that tracks his or her opinions and the corresponding testing that supports or refutes those opinions. Is the rolling log up to date? What does it say about the DRE's level of skill in detecting specific drugs based on the symptoms shown by drivers?

An attorney who is familiar with drug recognition experts, their methods, their training requirements and the data behind the whole system can often dismantle the illusion that DRE's are more than a subjective process. That may be the help you need in order to avoid conviction.

For more information on how our firm approaches DUI defense issues, please visit our page.

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