Roadside Saliva Testing - DRE Experts

Drugged Driving Lawyer and Grand Rapids Operating While Impaired Lawyer Explains.

One Year Saliva Drug Testing Program Completed.

The State of Michigan completed a one-year pilot program aimed at catching drivers who are driving impaired by drugs. The State selected five counties for the test program, Kent County, Berrien County, Delta County, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. The pilot program ended November 2018.

According to Michigan State Police statistics, the number of drugged drivers causing crashes has increased about 32% from the previous year. The State Police in association with local law enforcement asked motorists to submit to an oral swab of their mouth. The saliva test swabs will test for the presence of of the following drugs: benzodiazepines, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and methamphetamine. The pilot program was designed to throw a broader net to catch those drivers who have illegal or legal drugs in their bodies. The saliva test, in conjunction with a "Drug Recognition Expert" or a DRE examination would give police officers more reason to demand that motorists submit to a blood test.

Michigan is a Zero Tolerance State.

Operating a motor vehicle with the presence of any amount of drugs such as cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, and/or benzodiazepines (absent a valid doctor prescription) is an automatic ticket for drugged driving. A drugged driving conviction is treated the same as if you were drunk on alcohol, and has the exact same penalties. Unlike drunk driving, there is no minimum amount, nor is there a legal limit. If you have any detectable amount in your body - you are guilty of driving under the influence of drugs. The standard test for drugs is blood test which is then sent to a laboratory. If you have any type of illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, or LSD in your system you can be arrested and charged with 'driving under the influence of drugs (OWID) which has the exact same penalties as drunk driving (OWI) including: license suspension, 6 points on your license, a criminal record, license suspension, etc.

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Drug Recognition "Experts." DRE

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.

Consequences of Refusing a Roadside Saliva Test.

A motorist who refuses to give the police officer a saliva swab is guilty of a civil infraction, a non-criminal offense that has a fine of $200. Refusing a saliva swab is similar to refusing a roadside PBT alcohol test (also a civil infraction). Refusal of a roadside PBT or Saliva test should NOT be confused with the tests that are done at the police station or hospital. Refusal of the tests at the hospital or jail have serious license consequences. You should see our Drunk Driving page to read about the serious consequences of implied consent refusals.

How we can help.

We are here to help. We have been helping people in West Michigan and the greater Grand Rapids area since 1992. We have experience handling drunk and drugged driving cases. We have handled DRE cases. If you or someone you know is charged with drugged driving, call us for help.