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How do Texas law enforcement officers identify drugged driving?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2023 | Drug Crimes |

Roughly, Texas defines intoxication as the loss of normal physical or mental faculties due to alcohol, drugs or a combination of intoxicating substances. Police officers use standardized field tests to detect alcohol intoxication, but how do they spot drugged driving in a traffic stop?

Currently, no standard field test can prove a motorist is under the influence of drugs. However, that does not mean you have no reason to fear a drug DWI conviction or arrest.

They may use drug recognition experts

All states recognize the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program, with many cities staffing one or more experts. The program trains police officers in techniques used to identify possible drug intoxication in the field.

When the police suspect drugged driving, they may call for a DRE officer. That officer will then evaluate the motorist to confirm or rule out drug intoxication.

It’s a lengthy and involved process

The first part of the process happens when the traffic officer administers a breathalyzer test. They must perform this test to rule out alcohol intoxication before calling in a DRE. Upon arrival, the DRE will speak with the on-scene officers before approaching the motorist.

DRE evaluation techniques:

  • Take three pulse measurements
  • Administer standard tests (walk and turn, etc.)
  • Examine pupil size under several lighting conditions
  • Check muscle tone to spot abnormalities

The DRE ends the evaluation by speaking with the motorist about possible substance use and submitting an opinion about their drug intoxication. After the arrest, the driver undergoes a toxicological test to confirm drugged driving.

You might think the process is foolproof and will lead to your conviction, but you still have a chance to overcome your circumstances. Someone familiar with Texas drunk and drugged driving laws can help you explore your defense options, including the possibility that the officers violated your rights.

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