If you’re driving in southern California and you’re stopped by a police officer who thinks you’re intoxicated on marijuana, he or she will call for a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) to be sent to the scene. A DRE is trained to look for signs that prove someone is high on marijuana. The signs include dilated pupils, an elevated pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, the scent of marijuana, an overly-relaxed demeanor, a dry mouth, and short-term memory impairment. If the DRE determines that you are under the influence of marijuana, you will be arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) and probably subjected to a blood test. If you’re charged with DUID or DUI in southern California, consult immediately with an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer to get the legal help you’ll need.

A Drug Recognition Evaluator is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than alcohol. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) coordinates the training with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) first developed the program in the early 1970s when two LAPD sergeants collaborated with doctors, psychologists, and other experts to develop a simple procedure for recognizing non-alcohol-related intoxication. The LAPD’s program attracted the NHTSA’s attention in the 1980s, and in 1987, the NHTSA initiated DRE programs in Arizona, Colorado, New York, and Virginia. Today, all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and several other nations participate in the DRE Program.

While DRE training is impressive, it’s not foolproof, and there remain a variety of reasons why a driver who isn’t intoxicated may appear to be: medical conditions, fatigue, and even too much bright light can sometimes make a sober person appear intoxicated. If you are charged with DUID in southern California on the basis of a DRE evaluation, your best hope for justice is getting help from an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer who’s successfully handled similar cases. If you’re facing the charge, make the call today.