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DRE Checklist, Step 11: Opinions of the Evaluator

By San Diego Attorney on May 31, 2012

A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) must follow a checklist that breaks down into twelve components. The next few blogs will examine each step in detail.

Step 11: Opinions of the Evaluator

It is the DRE’s job to render an opinion of the subject right now, not to speculate about the condition at the time of arrest, unless the DRE witnessed the arrest. If the subject is impaired, then the DRE will create a written statement saying:

  • “In my opinion, (subject’s name) is under the influence of (category or combination) and is unable to operate a vehicle safely…”

Their opinion will refer to drug categories and not specific drugs, with the sole exception being alcohol. When an officer takes a PASS on the street is reads the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and thus the DRE can be certain that the subject is under the influence of alcohol. What the DRE can’t concretely know is if other drugs are present in the subject’s system, since they don’t have access to a chemical test to help them form their opinion.

For example, if the DRE finds a substance that looks like cocaine and the subject admits to using cocaine, the expert will put it in the report, but his opinion should not mention any specific drug. Instead, what he should write is that the subject “…is under the influence of a CNS Stimulant…”

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI with drugs, call our offices today for a free consultation. Criminal Defense Attorney James N. Dicks specializes in DUI cases. As a member of The National College for DUI Defense and with over 25 years of legal experience, he can help you.

Source: A training manual for the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program

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