Drug Impairment Tests in Salisbury Drug DUIs
Below a Salisbury DUI drug lawyer discusses the various tests used by law enforcement to determine if someone is under the influence of drugs. To learn more call and schedule a free consultation today.
How Does Law Enforcement Determine if Someone is Under the Influence of Drugs?
If a police officer suspects that somebody is under the influence or is somehow impaired, they will ask the driver to perform certain types of tests. One of the first observations an officer will make is attempting to detect an odor of an alcoholic beverage. The lack of odor of alcoholic beverage will be a clue to the police officer that perhaps the person is under the influence of something like a drug instead of alcohol. Oftentimes the first way they will try and prove this they will ask the driver to take a test for the presence of alcohol in their system which they can do with a preliminary breath test device. They can also do it with the test for the breathalyzer test that is conducted at the police department. If those tests show that there is no alcohol present then the next thing police officer might start thinking about is whether the person under the influence of some type of drug.
There are police officers that have been specifically trained in the detection of drugs in a person’s system. They are referred to as drug recognition experts. Those police officers were sent to very specific training and then they had to take an exam and then we’re required to conduct several observations of people who are under the influence of drugs versus being under the influence of alcohol. So if an officer stops a vehicle and makes the determination that the driver is not under the influence of alcohol, then the police officer may ask a DRE officer to come in and perform an examination.
That examination could also include a blood test where the blood has been analyzed to see if there are any drugs present in the person’s blood.
Can You Refuse These Tests?
Yes, the driver is not obligated to perform any type of testing. So the driver can refuse to take the tests and then the state would be essentially stuck with the only evidence being the officer’s observations. The officer will still be allowed to testify to what he observed, what he smelled, what he saw, what he observed but the evidence would not include any results of any testing.
Other Evidence of Drug Impairment
If the person refuses to take any tests it’s possible that the police could still prove that they are impaired by drugs, by testifying about their observations. Remember that the state must prove that the driver could not operate the vehicle safely. The officer could testify to his observations of the operation of the vehicle – the way it was weaving from lane to lane or cross the center line or was driving in the opposite direction of incoming traffic. It’s also possible that if the officer arrests the individual and then subsequently does a search of the person’s clothing. If the person has prescription medication on them, then it’s possible that the state will find it and that could potentially be used to prove that the person had taken this medicine that was prescribed and then they were driving a car and they weren’t able to operate the car safely.