I've mentioned DUI Drugs a few times over the past couple of days in my posts. I'd like to take time today to elaborate on the offense of DUI Drugs in Georgia.
As usual, let's start by looking at the law.
“A person shall not drive while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive; a person shall not drive under the influence of a combination of substances (i.e. drugs and alcohol) to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive; a person cannot be under the influence of prescription drugs, even if a drug or drugs are prescribed legally" (O.C.G.A. §40-6-391).
To be convicted of DUI Drugs, the state of Georgia must prove whether or not an individual is driving under the influence of a drug to the extent that he or she is a less safe driver. Since there is no quantitative legal limit for drug consumption, officers' observations are usually the determining factors. All officers are trained to look for clues including the accused person's driving, mannerisms, performance of standardized field sobriety tests, and conversational skills.
However, some officers are Drug Recognition Experts in Georgia - or DREs.
A Drug Recognition Expert has gone through specialized training, so that he or she can better determine and detect if someone is under the influence of drugs. Also, it's worth noting that these DREs are usually deemed as experts in determining if someone is under the influence of alcohol as well. Although there is no requirement that an officer be a DRE in order to arrest someone for DUI or DUI Drugs in Georgia, if the accused person's officer happens to be certified, credibility will be added to the officer's accusations and observations in court. Most of the time, an officer who suspects someone of DUI Drugs will call in a DRE in order to avoid compromising his or her case.
Although these DRE Certifications hold credibility in Georgia Courts, let's analyze what that actually means.
This certification can be gained in a few short weeks of training. Statistically, DREs are only 50% better at detecting whether or not someone was impaired to the point where they were a less safe driver. I find this “credibility” to be ridiculous. A DRE will make an observation without having a baseline medical history of the individual - without having a blood test - without knowing beyond a reasonable doubt how this individual reacts and responds to drugs and medications. Compare this to doctors, who attend four years of medical school along with several years of residency afterwards, and would never even dare to attempt to predict whether someone was under the influence of drugs without a blood test. Yet, these police officers take a short course and call themselves "experts." This is why hiring a Georgia DUI Lawyer who knows how to defend a case using actual science in regards to drug consumption is so important.
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI-Drugs, it is important that you seek an attorney with experience in Georgia DUI Defense. An untrained lawyer will probably not be able to even recognize when a field sobriety test is performed incorrectly or challenge the observations of the arresting officer. An experienced Georgia DUI Attorney understands how to best defend your case, so contact us today.