Drug Recognition Expert

Colorado Drug Recognition Expert

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, or DUID cases, are being prosecuted more and more aggressively in Colorado and involve unique legal challenges. It is essential that your defense attorney have specific experience defending DUID offenses. These charges often involve the use of police DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) certified officers who opine upon a defendant’s level of impairment as well as urine or blood tests to determine amounts of drugs in a person’s system. These assessments and results require review by an aggressive defense attorney specifically schooled in DRE and Forensic Toxicology procedures. The attorneys at Hebets and McCallin are continually attending trainings geared toward exposing deficiencies in these examinations and tests.

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DRE Training

In order for an officer to be certified as a DRE a police officer must undergo a certification process. It is usually a training sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The officers are trained in drug detection, i.e. how to identify whether or not an offender is under the influence of a particular drug, or multiple drugs. If the drug is identified in the suspect, the officer is also trained on how much impairment the person is experiencing due to the presence of that drug. The training is only available to police officers. Once completed, these "experts" get wide latitude in testifying about their findings about a DUI suspect.

The officer is trained on the 12-step protocol used by DRE's to evaluate suspects. This process is a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration standardized 12 step evaluation involving physical and mental evaluations, the goal of which is to attempt to determine which drugs an individual may or may not be under the influence of. The extremely specialized nature of this testing demands that an officer conducting these examinations be precise in their testing methods as well as their reporting procedures. More and more police agencies are hiring DRE's and training DRE's, especially here in Colorado where marijuana and opioid related driving offenses are being investigated aggressively. Like any other officer, however, these cops can make mistakes and misidentifications.