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DUI Marijuana | Urinalysis Cross Examination

DUI Marijuana Cross Examination

Urine test positive for THC?

This last week I had the opportunity to “pinch hit” in a jury trial. My job was to cross examine the State’s 3 toxicology witnesses. If you just read the police reports, you would think that the prosecution was walking into a “slam dunk” type of a case. You had an individual who submitted to an Intoxilyzer 8000 breath test and blew a .074. While right under the legal limit of .08, the client purportedly admitted to having “just smoked a bowl of weed” when he was asked to submit to a urine test. So the State decided to take the case to trial based on the poor driving pattern, bad roadsides(defendant is physically handicapped) and low breath combined with an admission of drug use.  It was critical for the state to establish that the defendant was under the influence of marijuana at the time when he was driving the car since the breath was below a .08.  The state called 1 chemist and 2 forensic toxicologists in an effort to do just that.

Initially, I would like to thank Gary Ostrow and Melanie Batdorf for allowing me to co-counsel on this case.  They did a fantastic job handling the case and set me up for a great shot.  So I give all credit to them for the heavy lifting.

Witness I, Laboratory Chemist | Not an Expert Witness

The first witness for the State was an individual with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with over 30 years of forensic science laboratory experience.  The state did not offer her as an expert.  She testified that she conducted a test on the urine sample provided by the defendant which is known as an “IA” or “immune assay” test.   On while being questioned on direct examination by the State she testified that the urine sample provided by the Defendant tested “positive for THC.”  THC is the principal psychoactive compound found in marijuana.  While this answer is not an outright lie, it is certainly not the “whole truth” that witnesses are expected to provide.

On cross examination, I immediately asked the witness if the test she performed detected the presence of THC, an active metabolite of THC or an inactive metabolite of THC.  The answer to this question is crucial because if the state can prove THC or an active metabolite, the chance of a guilty verdict increases substantially.  Only THC and its active(psychoactive) metabolites are controlled substances under Florida Statute Chapter 893.  Accordingly, if the test only detect an inactive metabolite of THC, it is insufficient to prove impairment.  The chemist with over 30 years laboratory experience stated that she did not know whether the test identified THC or another substance indicative or prior exposure to THC a/k/a as a metabolite.  When I began to question her about the difference between active and inactive metabolites, she stated that I would have to ask her supervisor because she didn’t know.  However, she did state that the manufacture’s box containing the test kit said THC on the outside of it.

It is disturbing that the chemist did not know what a “positive” result indicates.

Witness II, Forensic Chemist, Expert Witness

The second witness for the state was a forensic chemist who performed the GC/MS and TLC test on the urine sample.  Again, on direct examination, the forensic chemist testified that the defendant tested positive for cannabis in the TLC test only.  The state elicited more specific testimony wherein the witness stated that cannabis is the active substance in marijuana.

This witness was qualified as an expert witness.  Accordingly, the first thing that I did was go back and determine what substance was detected by the prior IA test performed by the first witness.  She testified that the IA test could not detect THC or any active metabolites in THC.  Rather, she testified that the substance detected by the IA test was 11-nor-9-Carboxy-THC which is an inactive metabolite indicating prior exposure to THC.  She went on to state that the TLC test was also incapable of detecting THC or active metabolites of THC.  She conceded that the TLC test simply confirmed the presence of the inactive metabolite 11-nor-9-Carboxy-THC.

There were two key points to this cross examination that put the nail in the state’s proverbial coffin.  First, she testified that there were no impairing substances detected by the laboratory.  Second, the witness testified that the laboratory has the ability to detect the presence of THC and the active metabolites of THC, but they did not and do not perform the test necessary to do so.

Witness III, Forensic Chemist, Supervisor, Expert Witness

The third witness was the supervisor who signed off on the toxicology report.  However, he did not perform any of the laboratory analysis.  From the laboratory perspective, he was not a very useful witness from the state.  However, having worked with him before, I knew that he was the most knowledgeable regarding the physical and mental effects of drug use.

Once again, this witness testified that the defendant tested positive for cannabis and did not differentiate between impairing substances and inactive substances.  On cross, he too admitted that there were no psychoactive substances detected in the sample.  He then went on to testify as to how to identify the impairing effects of cannabis and the proper use of a urine drug test in a DUI case.  Unfortunately for the state, none of the indications of cannabis impairment were present in the video.

Summary of the Testimony

  • All three witnesses for the state initially, on direct examination, testified that the defendant tested positive for an illegal, psychoactive chemical substance capable of causing impairment alone or in conjunction with alcohol;
  • All three state witnesses changed their testimony on cross examination.  One stated that she didn’t know what a positive result actually indicated.  The second two witnesses admitted that the defendant did not test positive for any illegal and/or psychoactive chemical substances;
  • There was nothing from the toxicology results that could indicate that the defendant was impaired by anything;
  • At the very most, the state proved that the defendant MAY have been exposed to THC within a 30 day period prior to the day he was arrested for DUI.

Every Lie Contains Some Truth

11-nor-9-Carboxy-THC. is an inactive secondary metabolite of THC.  When the inactive metabolite is detected in the urine, the is a high probability that an individual has been exposed to THC at some point prior to the test.  So did the defendant test positive for THC?  Obviously, the state’s answer is “kinda”, but my answer is no.  There is a very big difference between testing positive for THC and testing positive for an inactive secondary metabolite of THC.  One is a controlled substance under Chapter 893 Florida Statutes.  The other is not.  The controlled substance can be used as a basis for a conviction, the inactive metabolite cannot.  In this case, the urine test offered absolutely nothing indicative of impairment at the time the defendant was driving the vehicle.

Despite all of the above, state experts across the country continue to provide testimony that is misleading at best.  It is most certainly not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Testimony of this sort is being offered in courtrooms across the country every single day and every single day innocent individuals are being convicted based on this type of evidence.

Other sources of information:

http://www.thetruthaboutforensicscience.com/

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/gcms-evidence-attacking-and-defending-68604/

For more information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 E Broward Blvd #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286

Drugged Driving Florida 2015 | Prediction No Change

Florida DUI Legislation

Who is Writing the DUI Laws?

Drugged driving has rapidly become an issue that has a significant impact on public safety.  With 2015 just around the corner I am going to go out on a limb and make my drugged driving predictions for 2015.

My Conclusion:

At least one poorly drafted, overbroad and unconstitutional bill purportedly drafted to curb drugged driving will not make it through the legislature.  To the public, that means no change.

Here is what history has taught us:

Florida Statute 316.193 is Florida’s DUI statute. For at least the last three years, there has been at least 1 bill introduced in the Florida Legislature which has attempted to redefine the crime of DUI.  The majority of the proposed changes to Florida’s DUI statute have focused on drugged driving.

All 50 states have laws prohibiting driving while impaired by drugs. The differences between the various state statutes is a) which drugs and substances qualify as an “impairing substance” and b) the legal definition of “impairment.”  Two recent attempts, Florida Senate Bill 1810, 2012 & Florida Senate Bill 1118, 2014 would have changed the definition of impairment, for drugged driving cases, from an “actual impairment” standard to a “per se” definition of impairment.  A “per se” standard is also referred to as “metabolite DUI.”

Florida’s Current DUI Statute Requires Actual Impairment

Florida’s DUI statute permits an individual to be charged with and convicted for DUI under an alcohol or drug theory.  With regard to drug impairment, under the current statute, an individual’s ability to drive a car must actually be impaired by a controlled substance while driving in order for the state to secure a conviction for DUIThe recent attempts to change Florida to a per se DUI state would have made it a crime to have any detectable amount of a controlled substance, a controlled substance analogue or a metabolite of a controlled substance while driving.  The obvious benefit of creating a per se standard is that prosecutors do not have to prove actual impairment.  Under a per se statute, a person can be convicted of DUI even if he was completely sober at the time he was driving but remember that there is a cosmetic surgeon performing nose surgery in New Jersey to help you.  The number of people convicted of DUI will rise simply because a per se statute expands criminalizes what was previously lawful behavior.

The flawed logic behind a per se DUI statute is that a conviction equals justice.  However, does convicting a sober individual of DUI truly amount to justice?  How is the public good served by convicting a sober driver of DUI?  Who are we trying to protect from the menace of sober drivers?   Almost any politician would be glad to take responsibility for creating a law that lead to an increase in drugged driving convictions.

In a rush to be seen as “tough on crime” politicians throughout the country have proposed some of the worst legislation imaginable.  Florida Senate Bill 1810, 2012 is pretty much the “gold standard” for poorly drafted legislation.  The bill died in committee.  I do not believe that Senator Stephen Wise, who proposed Senate Bill 1810, is ignorant or that the bill was in any way malicious.  He recognized that there is a problem and tried to solve it.  By taking an extremely broad approach to the problem of drugged driving, Senator Wise drafted a bill that would have created some unintended and otherwise comical results.  Let’s look at some of the ridiculous results that would have arisen from a strict interpretation of Florida Senate Bill 1810 had it become law in 2012.

Proposed Statutory Amendments Expanding the Definition of Impairment:

FL Stat 316.193(1)(c): “The person has in the blood or urine a substance  identified as a controlled substance as defined in Schedule I of chapter 893 or the Federal Register, or one of its metabolites or analogs;”

Florida Stat 316.193(1)(d): “The person has in the blood or urine a substance identified as a controlled substance in Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV of chapter or the Federal Register, or one of its metabolites or analogs.”

Proposed Statutory Amendments Creating New Affirmative Defenses

FL Stat 316.193(15)(a): “If a person who is charged with violating subsection (1)(d) introduced into his or her body a controlled substance prescribed by a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe the controlled substance and if the person consumed the controlled substance in accordance with the health professional’s directions, the person is entitled to an affirmative defense against any allegation that the person violated subsection (1)(d). The introduction of a non-prescribed substance into the person’s body does not constitute an affirmative defense with respect to any non-prescribed substance.”

FL Stat 316.193(15)(b): Except for paragraph (a), the fact that a person charged with violating subsection (1) is or was legally entitled to introduce into the human body alcohol, a chemical substance, a controlled substance, a medication, a drug, or any other impairing substance does not constitute a defense against any charge of violating subsection (1).

Absurd Results Created by Poorly Drafted Legislation:

Absurd Result # 1 DUI Marijuana

A chemotherapy patient who smokes 1 puff of marijuana for medicinal purposes and drives 10 days later will be guilty of DUI.  Despite the fact he would no longer be impaired by marijuana, he would still be found guilty of a DUI because marijuana metabolites can be detected in biological fluid for up to one month.  The patient is not entitled to either of the above listed affirmative defenses because marijuana is a Schedule I Controlled Substance at the state and federal level.  If marijuana were to become legal in Florida, the same individual would still not have an affirmative defense due to marijuana remaining a Schedule I Controlled Substance at the federal level;

Absurd Result # 2 DUI Antidepressant

Wellbutrin is a substituted cathinone.  Cathinone is a schedule I controlled substance on both the state and federal levels.  Wellbutrin, a/k/a Bupropion, is an analogue of cathinone.  The proposed legislation does not define the term “analogue” as used in the proposed amendments to Florida Statute 316.193(c).  The affirmative defense of “legal prescribed use” is not available for analogues of Schedule I Controlled Substances.  According to the language in the proposed amendment, all individuals prescribed and taking Wellbutrin would be found guilty of DUI.  If the legislation were amended to specifically exclude bupropion or define “analogue” in accordance with the Federal Analog Act 21 U.S.C. 813 then taking Wellbutrin and driving would not be illegal.  Nevertheless, these amendments were never made.

Absurd Result # 3 DUI Anabolic Steroids

Professional athletes and gym rats beware!  Steroids are Schedule III Controlled Substances on both the state and federal level.  According to the proposed amendment, you would be convicted of DUI for taking steroids if you get caught driving a car.  If you use Nandrolone Undecanoate a/k/a Deca Durabolin or “Deca”, you should be prepared to take the bus for a long time as “Deca” can be detected in your biological fluids for up to  17 or 18 months after last use.

Absurd Result # 4 DUI Testicles

Adult males naturally produce testosterone.  Accordingly, all men will have a certain level of testosterone in their system.  Testosterone is a Schedule III controlled substance and the amendment proposed by Senator Wise made no distinction between endogenous testosterone production as opposed to “supplementing” your natural testosterone levels with external sources.  All men with healthy, functioning testicles have testosterone in their system 100% of the time.  Accordingly, a strict construction of the proposed amendment would result in all men with functioning testicles being guilty of DUI whenever they get behind the wheel of a car.

Absurd Result # 5 DUI’s for Everybody

It also bears mentioning that, on the average, women naturally produce testosterone at around 1/7 the rate of men.  Accordingly, all normal healthy women will have some testosterone in their system 100% of the time.  Since the amendment made no distinction between endogenous testosterone or illegally obtained testosterone, all normal, healthy women would be guilty of DUI.

Absurd Conclusion: Anybody who operates a motor vehicle on the streets or highways of the State of Florida is guilty of DUI.

Do These Results Seem Absurd to You?

I admit that the hypotheticals #4 and #5 above are a tad on the “extreme” side.  However, that is the plain language of the statute.  The results are absurd.  Yet, that is what is on the horizon.  Approximately 1/3 of all states have passed per se DUI statutes.  These statutes are written in such a way as to criminalize innocent and socially acceptable conduct.  Different states have enacted different versions of per se statutes and some drugged driving laws are better than others. For example, some states exclude specific commonly abused illegal drugs. Some limit the specimens that can be collected (urine, oral fluid, blood) or specify specific cut-off levels.

The Solution is Education

Educating younger drivers on the dangers of drugged driving is only 1/2 of the equation.  However, there will be no meaningful change until the law makers educate themselves.  The proposed legislation that I listed above shows exactly how out of touch politicians are with the problems faced in today’s society.  How does criminalizing driving with high testosterone levels help society?  There will be no change until the law makers can accurately identify the problem.

Accordingly, I stand by my conclusion.  The legislature will attempt to fix a problem which they cannot identify by proposing more dumb laws.  Unfortunately, sometimes those dumb ideas pass and become law.

My Offer

If any member of the Florida Legislature reads this and would like my assistance drafting a tough, effective and reasonable drugged driving statute, contact me and I will help you draft it from A to Z.

For additional information, please contact

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286

 

 

 

Drugged Driving | Why DUI Drug Impairment is Difficult to Prove

Drugged Driving | DUI Drug

Drugged Driving | DUI Drug

Drugged Driving | DUID

The following post, as well as the entire website, is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon for either legal or medical advice.  The author of this post has no medical training. 

Florida Statute 316.193 is Florida’s DUI statute.  An individual is only considered impaired if that individual is impaired by 1) alcohol; 2) a chemical substance under Florida Statute 877.111 or 3) a controlled substance listed in Chapter 893 Florida Statutes.  The State must prove impairment and name the specific substance in order to get a conviction for DUI under a drug impairment theory a/k/a drugged driving.  The State is required to prove the specific substance because the substance must be listed in Chapter 893.  Proving the specific substance causing impairment is becoming a more difficult task as more “designer drugs” or “legal highs” hit the market.

Drug Testing

Drug testing is a two step process.  The first step is the preliminary screening.  Positive screens are sent for a confirmatory test.

Preliminary Screen

The majority of Florida DUI drug cases will involve a urinalysis.  The preliminary drug screen typically consists of a 10 panel immunoassay test.  This is commonly known as a dipstick test.  The preliminary screen detects biological markers indicative of exposure to or use of certain drugs and/or classes of drugs.  For example, a 10 panel immunoassay test can test for cocaine, which is a specific drug, as well as benzodiazepines, which are a class of drugs.  An immunoassay test can identify the characteristics of a substance, but is typically not able to determine the exact substance.

Confirmatory Test

The second step of the process is the confirmatory test.  The confirmatory test is typically a GC/MS or gas chromatography mass spectrometry test.  The GC/MS separates the molecules so the exact chemical compound can be determined. While a immunoassay test will show positive for benzodiazepines, the GC/MS is can determine whether the benzodiazepine is alprazolam a/k/a Xanax or diazepam a/k/a Valium.  For more information regarding GC/MS testing, please see Frederic Douglas’ article by clicking this link: Scientific Criminal Defense.

Chapter 893 Florida Statutes

If it is not a listed controlled substance in Chapter 893 Florida Statutes, it is not capable of causing impairment as defined by Florida Statute 316.193(1)(a).  A specific example of this is zolpidem a/k/a Ambien.  Ambien is a powerful sedative hypnotic drug.  It is a federally controlled substance.  However, an individual cannot be convicted for a DUI based on being impaired by Ambien since zolpidem is not listed in Chapter 893 Florida Statues.

Designer Drugs and Research Chemicals

Certain “designer drugs” or “research chemicals” are within a class of drug detected on the 10 panel immunoassay, but are not scheduled controlled substances under Federal or Florida Law.  Some of the more common “designer drugs” are benzodiazepines.  There are several high potency benzodiazepines that are unscheduled under Florida and Federal Law.  Impairment via an unscheduled benzodiazepine may not be impairment as defined in Florida’s DUI statute.

For example, pyrazolam is an extremely potent benzodiazepine derivative that is not a scheduled controlled substance under Florida Law.  Accordingly, even if the State is able to prove that a driver is physically impaired by pyrazolam, the individual is not legally impaired for purposes of Florida’s DUI statute.  The reason why is because pyrazolam is not listed in Chapter 893 Florida Statutes and has no metabolites that are listed in Chapter 893 Florida Statutes.

Amature Chemists Beware

One of the problems with “legal highs”, “designer drugs” and “research chemicals” is that there isn’t much information available on the specific substances.  There is little to no information available on the short and long term physical and mental effects on humans.  Additionally, there is little to no information regarding the metabolism of a specific substance.  What information we do have on research chemicals is frightening.

Diclazepam is currently being marketed as a “research chemical” which is “not intended for human consumption.”  Some of the more intellectually honest websites are marketing it as a “legal high.”  Nevertheless, it is clear that the substance is a benzodiazepine and is not a scheduled controlled substance under Florida or Federal Law.  It should be noted that an individual could be prosecuted for buying, selling or possessing diclazepam under the federal analogue act under certain circumstances.

The limited studies concerning diclazepam show that it metabolizes into three main active metabolites after ingestion.  The three metabolites are lorazepam, delorazepam and lormetazepam.  All three of the active metabolites are controlled substances listed in Chapter 893 Florida Statutes.  An involuntary intoxication defense to DUI would not be permitted if an individual ingested diclazepam, but was impaired by any of the three active metabolites.  Although the approximate detection time limit for a single dose of lorazepam is 5 days, studies show that an individual who ingests diclazepam  may still test positive for lorazepam 19 days after ingestion.

For Lawyers

Make sure that the confirmatory test states a specific substance.  If you are unfamiliar with the substance, check Chapter 893 Florida Statutes.  Do not assume that the substance is included.  Cannabinoids is not a drug, it is a class of drugs.  Benzodiazepines are not a drug, it is a class of drugs.

For Others

All that is required for you to be arrested is probable cause.  If the officer has reason to believe that you are under the influence of a scheduled controlled substance while you are operating a vehicle, you will be arrested.  There is an inherent risk with any type of criminal litigation and you might be convicted.  In the event that you are not convicted, you will still go to jail and you will still have to pay for an attorney.  An attorney who can handle this type of case will not be cheap.  Additionally, just because you are not criminally liable does not mean that you would not be subject to civil liability in the event that somebody gets hurt or killed.  In addition to the legal consequences, intentionally ingesting unstudied chemicals from an anonymous internet based drug dealer/chemist is recklessly placing your physical and mental health in harms way.  Just because it is legal doesn’t mean that it is safe.

For more information on drugged driving or other criminal defense matters, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286

 

Roadside Sobriety Exercises | Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

DUI Attorney

Police officer incorrectly administering the SFST’s.

DUI Attorney Miami | Criminal Lawyer Miami

Prior to being arrested for a DUI, and sometimes afterwards, the police often ask a defendant to submit to a series of exercises in order to determine the individual’s sobriety.  These exercises are known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests or SFST’s for short. The SFST’s is a series of 3 tests that the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration has determined can be used to identify impairment in an individual.  The officer demonstrates and then observes the defendant perform the exercises.  The officer is trained to identify certain indicators of impairment that can be used to establish probable cause for an arrest or to simply pile on additional evidence of impairment.

The exercises must be administered and evaluated in a standardized fashion in order to ensure an accurate result.  The tests were developed by NHTSA in conjunction with the Southern California Research institute.  There are only 3 SFST’s that are statistically correlated to impairment.  Those tests are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk-And-Turn and the One-Leg Stand.   These 3 tests are to be administered the same way every single time and evaluated through the use of strict criteria limiting an officer’s discretion as to what is a “pass” or what is a “fail.”

The unfortunate reality is that the standardized administration and evaluation of the SFST’s is largely ignored by police departments and individual police officers.  The exercises are frequently administered and evaluated incorrectly leading the officer to form an opinion that can not be validated by any of the studies or research.  Additionally, officers that are not properly trained often use improvised exercises that have been found to have no correlation to impairment.  The most common of these tests are the “finger to nose” test, any test involving the alphabet and a wide variety of different counting exercises using your fingers.  Do not be mistaken, those tests are not approved to detect impairment.  Many DUI attorneys are not familiar with the concepts involved with the SFST’s.

When consulting with a criminal lawyer concerning your DUI case, you should ask the lawyer:

1)  Are you familiar with the SFST’s?

2)  What additional training have you received in the administration and interpretation of the SFST’s?

3)  Do you own a copy of the NHTSA SFST Manual?

4)  Approximately how many trials have you had where you cross examined the arresting officer concerning the NHTSA criteria?

DUI Attorney, Michael Dye received additional training in the administration and interpretation of the SFST’s from Doug Scott, a pioneer in the field of the Drug Recognition Expert Program, who is recognized as an expert in the administration and interpretation of the SFST’s.  Mr. Dye has the most current version of the NHTSA SFST Student Manual and actively utilizes it as reference and impeachment material in both depositions and trials.  Mr. Dye has cross examined the arresting officer regarding the SFST’s in over 20 trials and numerous depositions.

For additional information, please contact

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 E Broward Blvd #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286

Drugged Driving | DRE | Drug Recognition Expert

DUI Lawyer DRE

Detecting DUI Drug Impairment

Drug Recognition Expert Testimony

The Drug Recognition Expert program was developed by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1979. With the growing rise in illicit drug use prosecutors were often not able to successfully prosecute an individual for DUI if the defendant was not impaired by alcohol. The DRE program was designed to assist police officers in determining the type of substance which is impairing a driver. The Drug Recognition Expert is allowed to testify as to his findings as an expert witness. This means that he is allowed to give an “expert opinion” as to what substance impaired the driver. DRE testimony in and of itself may be useful to the prosecution in certain cases where impairment is clearly from a certain controlled substance. An example would be an empty bottle of 90 xanax in the driver’s name filled 30 minutes before the time of the stop which is laying in the center console while the driver is passed out at a stop light. However, it doesn’t take an expert to reach a conclusion in such a scenario. Drug recognition expert testimony is most powerful in conjunction with scientific testing of blood or urine. DRE testimony has glaring holes even in conjunction with the testing of biological fluids.

Not All Judges are Buying It

Several courts have held that the 12 step drug recognition expert protocol does not pass the Frye Test as it is not widely accepted by the scientific community. As such, certain courts will not permit a drug recognition expert to testify as to his findings.

For Good Reason

One particular case arising out of Maryland in 2012 specifically highlighted the problems with the DRE protocol. Initially, 12 step examination of a suspect is not standardized. This means that a drug recognition expert does not have to perform the 12 step examination on every single individual he investigates. The DRE has the unfettered discretion to utilize the steps that he wants and to discard the remaining. However, the 12 step process is “preferred.” A DRE will not change his opinion even if scientific testing of a biological fluid reveals no impairing substances. The rational provided is that there are limitations on what laboratories can and cannot detect. While this is true, the proponents of DRE testimony and its accuracy would have the court and jury believe that a non-standardized optional 12 step evaluation conducted by a non-medical professional which is not corroborated by any other evidence is somehow more sophisticated and advanced than the current scientific techniques used by the crime laboratories.

In its opinion, the court further elaborated that the DRE training program improperly classified certain drugs into single categories, misstated the physical and mental effects of certain drugs. The court excluded the DRE testimony ruling that any opinion based on the DRE training given at the time was specious at best.

Drug Recognition Expert Ruling

Hire an Attorney Who is Experienced in Defending DUI Drug Cases

Your choice of an attorney can make or break your case.   Especially when your case concerns scientific and quasi scientific evidence.  This is a complex area where science meets law and there are not many attorneys that have any additional training or experience to handle these types of cases.  You might not remember whether you were examined by a DRE under certain circumstances.  Accordingly, if you are arrested for a DUI by drug impairment, you should always consult an attorney who is familiar with the science behind the drug testing and the DRE protocol.

For additional information, please contact

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 E Broward Blvd #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286