Officers Being Trained To Spot Drugged Drivers

Massachusetts Looking To Train More Officers To Spot Drugged Drivers

Many law enforcement agencies across the country are increasing the number of their officers trained to spot individuals who are believed to be driving under the influence of drugs. The number of drivers impaired by illegal substances has been growing, and not all officers are equipped to handle those types of traffic stops.

Massachusetts currently employs 77 drug recognition experts (DREs), the special officers trained to detect motorists operating under the influence (OUI) of marijuana or other drugs, according to the state's professional DRE association. The DREs must be certified before they begin traffic stops, and the state has more trainings scheduled for later this year to increase the number of officers who may be available.

When a person is suspected of drugged driving, there are several things that will happen once a DRE is on the scene. The officer who made the initial stop will discuss the incident with the DRE, who will then take over the investigation. The motorist will then be subject to various tests to check for signs of impairment.

  • This may include monitoring the individual's eye-reaction times, because certain drugs may change these responses. Because each drug can cause a different effect, the DRE may order the individual to submit to a blood test to learn which drugs and the amount of each that is present in the driver's system.
  • DREs receive a lot of discretion when making these arrests. They are allowed to decide whether or not these investigations should continue. In most cases, the officer will move forward, and order a test to learn conclusively if drugs were present. It can be extremely difficult to challenge these cases because of the power that these DREs are granted.
  • Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may act like they are sympathetic to your situation. No matter how innocent your responses may appear, all of this information can be used to try to obtain a conviction or try to coerce you to plead guilty to the charges you are facing.

If you have been arrested for drugged or drunk driving, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case. An attorney can review your case to be sure that all available defenses will be pursued, including challenging any evidence that was obtained unlawfully. You can understand more about how officers are being trained to spot drugged drivers.

It is important to present a strong defense to any criminal charges that you may be facing, because the penalties only increase for repeat offenses. Those with multiple drunk driving convictions may lose their driving privileges for a substantial amount of time.

Contact my Worcester office today to schedule a consultation with me, lawyer Nicole Colby Longton. Call 508-793-2000 now.