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Criminal & DUI Lawyers, including:
Three Former Crown Prosecutors

Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Evaluations

I want to talk to you a little bit today about how retaining an expert in your drug impaired driving case may assist you. In Canada right now, there are standard field society tests at the roadside done if an officer suspects you are impaired by drug when you are driving, and if you fail those tests then the officer can demand a drug evaluation which is a very complex procedure, a physical coordination test, evaluation, potentially taking urine or blood back at the police station.  It’s about a twelve step process, very involved. In these particular cases, in order for these tests to have any scientific validity, and some question whether they are scientifically valid, there’s competing arguments with that, but they have been approved in Canada and the States, in these cases. They have to be done properly, testing procedures and evaluations are only as good as the examiner’s training and whether they did their testing procedure properly. 

So at the police station, this drug evaluation is typically going to be videotaped.  Pretty much, always going to be videotaped in fact. And as a lawyer who is very experienced in this field at our firm, we examine, we know how to do these test, we understand if they are done properly, and we are going to examine that, and provide the client with our opinion. “Look, this was done perfectly, and your case doesn’t look too good, or, you know what, there’s problems with this case, you have passed many of these tests, I think we should bring in an expert because I think potentially we could win your case”. So what we do in that particular situation, is we have an expert who is an expert drug evaluator, in private practice , not working for the government,  and we retain them to provide an opinion, you know backing up the opinion we’ve already provided. And potentially they will testify at trial, as well, and then we can attack the evaluation procedure by saying, look, you weren’t doing the “divided attention test” properly, there’s the horizontal gaze, and stigma tests, where you are following fingers, one legged stand, the touching fingers to the nose, taking pulse properly. All sorts of things, temperature, muscle tone, it’s a very complicated 12 step process, and we’ve often been able to win these cases by pointing out problems with the testing procedure that, effectively, “Look, the police officer even though he is accredited as an expert, his training is out of date, he didn’t do it properly in this case, was lazy, what have you, and their opinion is not valid”, and you can raise reasonable doubt in many cases, so…. 

So that’s the benefit of potentially retaining this type of expert, having them testify to critique the Crown’s case, in support of hopefully winning a particular client’s case.

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