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What happens if you get stopped on suspicion of drugged driving?

Say you remembered a must-attend appointment after already consuming marijuana or prescription pain pills. You feel like you are not incapacitated and can drive safely, but what if you get pulled over anyway?

Since there is no breathalyzer or other device capable of detecting drugged driving, you may feel there is no need for concern. However, the police are unlikely to drop the matter without investigating further.

The DRE protocol

Once it became clear that drugged driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, law enforcement sought a way to identify those driving while high. Eventually, policing agencies developed the drug recognition expert (DRE) protocol to help the police test and recognize offenders.

The DRE officer

Not all police officers undergo DRE training, but all DRE officers are members of law enforcement. They learn how to execute a 12-step system to detect drugged driving offenders. Examples of the steps include:

  • Multiple pulse measurements
  • Eye examination
  • Interview with other involved officers
  • Muscle tone examination
  • Psychological divided attention testing
  • Dark room pupil exam

The final two steps occur after an arrest. They involve analyzing the field test results and obtaining a toxicology report.

Colorado has created DRE programs in many areas. For motorists, this could mean an increased risk of facing DUI charges for driving while under the influence of drugs.

Much is at stake in any DUI arrest, including a possible felony conviction if you have prior convictions in your recent past. Consider learning more about effective DUI defense options with experienced legal guidance to determine the best strategy for your case.