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DRE Checklist, Step 7: Dark Room Examinations

By San Diego Attorney on May 14, 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 7: Dark Room Examinations

Using a pupillometer, which is a plastic card on which a number of circles and semi- circles appear, the DRE will take the subject in to a dark room to estimate the pupil size in room light and do the following:

  1. The DRE will hold the pupillometer next to the subject's eye and locate the particular circle or semi-circle that is closest in size to the subject's pupil, and they will record the size of that circle or semi-circle;
  2. He will first do the left eye and then the right eye;
  3. Then he will turn off the lights in the room and wait about ninety seconds so that his eyes can adjust to the darkness;
  4. He will use a penlight to introduce different levels of illumination into the subject's eyes, first starting with a low level of light, enough to see the pupils and obtain an estimate of their size;
  5. He will then shine the light directly in to the subject's eyes and for each level of illumination, the DRE will hold the pupillometer up next to the eyes and take measurements;
  6. He will hold the light for fifteen seconds and then observe how quickly the pupil reacts to the direct light.

The reason it's important for a DRE to check pupil size and pupil reaction to the light is because the eyes react differently to the different drug categories. For example, narcotic analgesics will cause the pupils to become very constricted whereas hallucinogens typically cause the pupils to dilate. Also checked will be the subject's nasal area and mouth to check for any signs of ingestion in the oral and nasal area.

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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A note from James N. Dicks:

Although COVID-19 has caused great uncertainty, we want to assure that our firm is operating remotely to accommodate all current, past, and future clients in need of any of our services. The best way to communicate with us is by telephone (760) 630-2000 or email info@jdlaw.law.

Currently San Diego Superior Courts are closed but are set to reopen on Tuesday May 26th, 2020 barring any
future orders.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Sending our thoughts and best wishes to you and your family. Please follow us on Facebook for any future updates.


Aunque COVID-19 ha causado una gran incertidumbre, queremos asegurarles que nuestra oficina esta operando de forma remota para todos los clientes actuales, pasados y futuros que necesiten alguno de nuestros servicios. La mejor manera de comunicarse con nosotros es por teléfono (760) 630-2000 o por correo electrónico a info@jdlaw.law.

Los Tribunales Superiores de San Diego están cerrados, pero están programados para reabrir el martes 26 de mayo de 2020, salvo una nueva orden.

No dude en contactarnos si tiene alguna pregunta. Estamos enviando nuestros pensamientos y mejores deseos para usted y su familia. Síganos en Facebook para seguir siendo informado de novedades nuevas.


James N. Dicks
jD LAW, P.C.

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COVID-19 Announcement

Although COVID-19 has caused great uncertainty, we want to assure that our firm is operating remotely to accommodate all current, past, and future clients in need of any of our services. The best way to communicate with us is by telephone (760) 630-2000 or email info@jdlaw.law. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Sending our thoughts and best wishes to you and your family.


Aunque COVID-19 ha causado una gran incertidumbre, queremos asegurarles que nuestra oficina esta operando de forma remota para todos los clientes actuales, pasados y futuros que necesiten alguno de nuestros servicios. La mejor manera de comunicarse con nosotros es por teléfono (760) 630-2000 o por correo electrónico a info@jdlaw.law. No dude en contactarnos si tiene alguna pregunta. Estamos enviando nuestros pensamientos y mejores deseos para usted y su familia.

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