Michael A. Ferraro, Esq., P.C.
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How can cops tell if you’re driving while high on drugs?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | DWI defense |

With the recent legalization of marijuana in New York, there is an increased focus on catching those who drive while high on drugs. However, there is no field test for determining when someone is under the influence of anything other than alcohol.

If you like to consume cannabis or other drugs, you may think you are safe from driving while impaired charges. However, the police do have a few methods of identifying drug impairment.

Drug recognition experts

In past blogs, we addressed drug recognition experts (DRE) but did not address the topic in-depth. This post will discuss the ways a DRE can determine when someone is driving while high.

If the police officer who stopped you suspects drug impairment, they will likely request assistance from a DRE. The expert will speak with the officer before examining you personally. During the exam, the DRE may use the following methods, among others, to identify possible impairment.

  • Take the first of three pulse readings
  • Examine your eyes for irregular movements
  • Perform divided attention tests (for example, finger to nose)
  • Take your vital signs and another pulse reading
  • Examine your muscle tone (because muscle relaxers, anxiety meds and others can decrease muscle tone)
  • Check for needle marks, and take the final pulse reading

The DRE will also interview you to identify impairment while carefully observing your behavior and reactions. However, a positive blood test is typically the main piece of evidence needed to charge you for driving while ability impaired (DWAI).

An arrest for DWI (by drugs or alcohol) certainly needs a serious approach, but it is possible to overcome your circumstances. Learning more about the drugged or drunk driving defense options best suited for your situation by seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.