Question: At what point in the DUI investigation would a DRE be called?
Answer: What typically happens is, if an officer believes somebody is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, i.e. he smells the odor of marijuana or something like that, or if he sees that the person’s DUI and doesn’t have a PBT on him and the guy fails the field sobriety tests, they go back to the station, the guy takes the breath test and then blows a .00. Well, if that’s the case, then they are immediately assuming that the impairment has something to do with drugs. Whether the person, whether they’ve had any indication that there were drugs involved, they immediately are thinking, “OK, it’s drugs.” So, it’s at that point depending on where the DRE is, how far away he is from their station, at that point they’ll sort of decide to call in the DRE.
Now they’ll call the DRE in early to meet them back at the station if there’s some evidence of impairment; like, sometimes the client will say, “Oh, well I did smoke a little joint an hour or so ago,” and then they’ll have the DRE meet them back at the station. But it’s usually when a person has blown a .00 or something very low like that and the officer believes that that number doesn’t match up with the type of impairment the person has. And the officer’s aren’t really taking into account that there’s physical disabilities, there’s mental disabilities, there’s stress, so all kinds of other reasons why someone may appear physically impaired and it has nothing to do with a substance. So, but it’s at that point that they would call the DRE. And really, it depends on the officer, how much they feel like proceeding. If the person’s below a .00, they could theoretically let them go and probably should. But if the officer really is hell-bent on giving a DUI, then they’ll call in the DRE and make up their junk science.