The influence of a drug recognition expert can have serious implications for a NJ drug DUI case. In fact, this person’s findings can have a major impact when determining the outcome of the case. Depending on where your DUI charges occur and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you may be subject to evaluation by a drug recognition expert (DRE) who satisfied the training requirements necessary to be approved for certification as an officer who can assess you for signs and symptoms of being under the influence. In this article, you’ll learn more about what a drug recognition expert does, the influence this could have on your DUI case, and how a skilled defense attorney can respond to and challenge the insights of the DRE involved in your case. If you have been accused of driving while under the influence in New Jersey, you can get a free consultation with a talented DUI lawyer by contacting us today.
The Role of a Drug Recognition Expert in New Jersey
A drug recognition expert evaluation and corresponding report is used in most NJ DUI cases involving claims of drugs. This person is a police officer who has been specifically trained to identify instances of drug impairment. A drug recognition expert (or DRE for short) is responsible for knowing and detecting seven different categories of drugs, including inhalants, central nervous system depressants, central nervous system stimulants, narcotic analgesics, dissociative anesthetics, and hallucinogens.
There are twelve different protocols employed to detect impairment involving drugs for a DWI case. These include a breath alcohol test, a consultation directly with the arresting officer, a preliminary exam, divided attention tests, an eye exam, a dark room exam, vital signs evaluation, a muscle tone exam, injection site examination, the suspect’s statements, and the opinion of the evaluator. The performance at each stage of the DRE test is matched against the seven categories of drugs mentioned above, which include both illegal drugs and prescription medications.
The DRE test is usually administered at a police station or state trooper barracks after a person has taken the alcohol intoxication breath test. Often if the person accused blows a .04 or .05, in this case the officer might suspect they did drive under the influence of drugs. Since these tests should be administered as soon as possible after an arrest for DWI, there is sometimes an opportunity to challenge the opinion of the DRE if one of these steps was overlooked or if a lot of time lapsed between the initial arrest and subsequent drug recognition exam.
How Can an Attorney Challenge a DRE Report in NJ?
Often a DRE report on its own is not enough for a drug DUI conviction, but the testimony from the DRE officer who completed the report will almost certainly be relied upon to some extent by the prosecution in their quest for a conviction. The prosecutor will work to create a link between the toxicology report and the testimony from the DRE when attempting to prove driving under the influence charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Fortunately, an experienced DWI defense attorney can look for discrepancies in the DRE report and call into question results relating to blood tests, breath tests, or urine tests. Other common defenses to a drug DUI charge in New Jersey include: lack of proper basis for the original motor vehicle stop, inability to prove operation, failure to conduct a speedy trial, failure to demonstrate a valid basis to arrest the accused, and lack of reliable scientific evidence.
Drug Recognition Exam in my DUI Case, What am I Facing?
Given the high stakes involved in a case involving DUI charges, it is imperative for an accused person to recognize the powerful role played by the DRE. Upon a conviction, a person charged with drug DUI can face an array of serious penalties. In fact, those charged with a driving under the influence of drugs in New Jersey face higher tier penalties when compared with those facing charges for a first DWI offense with a blood alcohol content between 0.08% and 0.10%.
First offense driving on drugs penalties include a driver’s license suspension of between 7 months and one year, fines up to $500, up to 48 hours inside the intoxicated driver resource center, a $100 enforcement surcharge, a $1,000 per year insurance surcharge for three years, up to one year with a mandatory ignition interlock device following the conclusion of the suspension period, and as many as 30 days in jail. For a second or third DUI offense, the driver’s license suspension goes up. Fines are also higher and ignition interlock periods longer with subsequent offenses for driving under the influence in NJ.
Help Fighting a DRE for DUI Charges in Morristown NJ
If you have been accused of driving under the influence and a Drug Recognition Expert was involved in your case, it is imperative to retain a defense lawyer with experience in DUI cases and how to challenge the observations and assertions of a DRE. For more information regarding the DRE for your DUI charge in Morristown, Denville, Dover, Roxbury, Mendham, Boonton, Washington Township, or another Morris County locality, contact us now. Consultations are available anytime and entirely free of charge.