If you got pulled over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) protocol may be used to determine whether you are under the influence of any drugs. The DRE protocol is a 12-step process where the officer will examine some of your physiological states to determine whether there is a possibility that you are under the influence. Even though the results of the DRE protocol is admissible in court, there are many vulnerabilities to this type of evidence. Your DWI attorney may recommend that you challenge the accuracy and even the admissibility of the results in these 3 ways.
Challenge the Officer's Administration or Interpretation of the DRE Protocol
As the officers that perform the examinations may not have any medical experience or knowledge, their training may be insufficient for them to come to a conclusion regarding whether you were under the influence or not. One of the first things that your DWI attorney will look at is whether proper protocol was followed. Any deviations from the protocol can significantly alter or affect the conclusion. This includes not only whether the proper steps were followed, but also whether the examinations were properly administered.
The arresting officer will need to file paperwork regarding how the examinations were performed and their interpretation of the results. From this paperwork, a DWI attorney can determine whether there are other possible conclusions that could be derived from the results and whether the interpretations are inaccurate. The attorney will also look at whether the examinations were performed properly. For example, your attorney may look at whether the equipment were properly calibrated prior to the examination.
Prove Symptoms Are Normal for Your Physiology
The DRE protocol makes a conclusion based on all of your physiological states. In particular, some conditions that the DRE officer will look at include your vital signs and your muscle tone. For example, methamphetamine causes poor muscle tone, rapid pulse and a higher heart rate. Different types of drugs affect one's physiological states differently. While this is true, the officer may mistake your normal physiological state for something abnormal. The officer may believe that you have a higher heart rate than normal, but the recorded heart rate may be normal for you.
As your attorney will have access to the results of the examination, he or she will be able to help you determine whether the symptoms that the officer considered to be abnormal are normal for you. Witness testimony from a medical expert and medical reports can disprove any claims that an officer may have made regarding abnormal physiological states that they believe to have witnessed.
Show Evidence of Alternative Medical, Mental and Physical Conditions
You might have been charged with a DWI because an officer came to a false conclusion based on what he or she may have perceived to be abnormal driving. For example, you might not have broken any traffic laws, but you might have been pulled over because the officer observed minor swerving. The minor serving may have been due to medical, mental and physical conditions. In short, you were not driving while intoxicated or under the influence of any type of drugs.
If this is the case, evidence of alternative medical, mental or physical conditions that might have led to the officer's conclusion can also be used. For this defense, you are not proving that the symptoms that the officer saw on that day are normal, but rather that they were a result of something other than being intoxicated.
If you have been charged with a DWI, you should contact an attorney immediately to review the DRE protocol and to determine the best defenses to use in court. It's important to gather evidence early on in order to build a strong case that will support your claims and prove your innocence. A DWI charge should not be taken lightly, especially since the penalties and fines associated with such a charge can be rather severe.
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