The number of drunk driving offenses is actually going down. Police are now focusing on persons who are driving while impaired by drugs, whether legal or illegal. This is somewhat new territory. The police have traditionally focused on alcohol, the beverage of choice. However, drunk driving arrests and accidents are down, and drug impaired driving is up. The new focus of the police is on drug impaired drivers. The penalties for driving impaired by drugs (or any substance) is the same as alcohol.
Drug Recognition Experts. DRE. Police are being sent to classes so they can detect when a driver is under the influence of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and a wide variety of other types of drugs, including prescription drugs. After a 72-hour continuing education course and part of a week spent practicing their skills on prison inmate volunteers in the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona, these police officers are then magically deemed to be "experts" by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This is not a joke. Basically a two week program turns ordinary police officers into "experts" at recognizing people impaired by drugs. The State seeks to rapidly expand the number of DRE officers in the state.
The DRE "expert" will administer a 12-step evaluation. The results of the DRE evaluation together with your saliva results will give the police the probable cause needed to demand that your blood be drawn and sent to a laboratory. The Drug Recognition Expert will take your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, check your arms for needle marks and bruises, check your eyes for pupil size, and ask you a lot of questions. The DRE examinations typically take about 45 minutes to an hour and are usually performed at the police station or jail. Just like the roadside saliva test, the DRE examination is VOLUNTARY. You can politely refuse to participate.
Drugged driving is serious, just as serious as drunk driving is. Even a first drugged driving offense equals many thousands of dollars of court costs and fees, attorney fees, points, sky rocketing insurance rates, and license suspensions. Three drunk or drugged driving offenses are a felony. FELONY.
If you are charged with a case where there is a police officer who is a so-called "Drug Recognition Expert" you should seek legal counsel immediately, especially someone who has dealt with DRE cases before. We have and are ready to help you.