DRE is an acronym for Drug Recognition Expert or Drug Recognition Evaluator. The DRE program is largely funded by the federal government and began as a way for officers to detect people who were under the influence of illegal drugs. The program has shifted focus in recent years to detecting anyone who has taken any kind of drug – legal or not!
Things to Know Now
- You don’t have to use illegal drugs to be found guilty of DWI by drug impairment in Texas.
- You are not required by law to submit to the DRE tests.
- The No Refusal Weekend does not apply to the field sobriety or DRE testing (It only applies to chemical tests).
The DRE Course
The typical DRE case begins when an officer has stopped someone who appears intoxicated, but has no evidence of alcohol in their system. A DRE officer is then called in and asked to perform a DRE evaluation on the driver.
The DRE process is a systematized manner of evaluating a driver’s mental and physical condition. There are three components to the DRE training.
- Field Training
While the DRE is currently regulated and the practitioners are instructed to follow their training to the strictest standards, chances are that courts will not hold them to this standard.
When the SFST program was first launched, officers were told they had to follow the standardized procedures when administering the tests. Over time, courts relaxed those standards and now no longer require officers to properly administer the tests. Instead, officers can administer all of the tests in whatever manner they choose and the courts will still allow the officer to testify about your performance on the test. The courts allow the officer to be cross examined about his errors, but still let the evidence is and allows the jury to consider it in their deliberations.
The DRE program is an inherently flawed program, but is gaining a wider acceptance among law enforcement officers and courts. The federal government is giving away millions of dollars to states to train their officers in the DRE protocol. Unlike the SFST program, the full DRE training program is restricted to police officers only. There is some excellent training, however, for criminal defense attorneys regarding the DRE process and DRE refusal.
I have attended that training course.
If you need to talk with me regarding a criminal case brought on by DRE analysis, contact my office today by calling 281-280-0100.