I have an interesting topic for you today. And it’s how our firm or myself cross-examine an impaired by drug case. So in an impaired by drug case that’s driving while impaired by drugs the police will say stop you and let’s say they feel they have reasonable grounds to believe that you’re impaired by a drug for whatever reason there’s some weaving on a roadway and you’re not acting normally looking off gazing in a certain way when they approach you or maybe even a slight slur to your speech so they don’t smell alcohol but they think you’re on drugs.So what they’re going to do is or make it gonna make a demand for drug evaluations. They’re going to bring you back the police station, you have to submit to this very involved from evaluation, which I don’t put all the steps but they do everything from looking at your pupils to help take your pulse blood pressure, a whole bunch of different balance tests, the walk and turn test, the one leg stand tests, horizontal gaze, the stigmas test where you follow your finger and they see how your eyes move. And at the end of that this trained supposed expert in drug evaluation, who’s a police officer will form an opinion that you’re impaired by a certain class of drugs might be cannabinoids, might be cocaine might be Percocetm in a certain class.
They’re also typically in Ontario right now they’re doing a urine test as well. Now all a urine test shows though, is that you might have a drug in your system, but that doesn’t mean it’s operative at the times, for example, cocaine stays in your system. Marijuana you could have smoked last week and still your urine so it just shows that it’s there. Now their evaluation might show that they feel you’re impaired consistent with marijuana. But urine it’s not very helpful. Blood is helpful, unfortunately, but right now they’re not taking blood samples very much. So how do I cross-examine that? Well, I get a hold of the videotape of it.
And these officers don’t always do it properly. They’re supposed to be highly trained, but you know, I consider myself and our lawyers an expert in evaluating whether they did it properly and I can point out certain errors that their assumptions and their findings are not accurate. Now, sometimes the officers won’t agree with me but we often have a backup I will often have an expert drug evaluator or a toxicologist testify and say, look, they did everything wrong and this test is meaningless. So the bottom line is this you have to know how these tests are done. You have to know whether they’ve done properly and you have to be able to suggest and cleverly cross-examined that their findings are not accurate. Now ultimately if it’s a urine test, the fact that cocaine traces or marijuana is found in their urine is meaningless. The only way that’s meaningful is if the actual evaluation was accurately done. And in many cases, it wasn’t. So we’ve won many of these cases by challenging the drug recognition expert that they didn’t do the test properly. Many times we’ll call our client to testify and they may have an explanation for their driving, they swerved on something or they were tired, etc. Not due to drugs
So you know, there’s been a lot of criticism about drug recognition evaluations it smacks of a bit of junk science its supposedly scientific when you’re following fingers and balancing on one leg I mean, a 50-year-old man on a good day has difficulty balancing on one leg and closing your eyes and walking on all these balance tests. So that’s what we do. We’re, we’re experts in that area. We’re trained in it, but we, we often do hire our own expert as well to take the witness stand and say, say to the judge, look, this test wasn’t done properly, this test wasn’t done properly, and then the judge will look at that expert and say, Well, I believe him I trust him and the officer didn’t do it properly. I think the training frankly could be better for the police, they’re getting better, but it’s taken time and they haven’t trained as many drug recognition experts as they want to in the province but these charges are increasing. And a lot of people are retaining us and challenging the evidence and we’re doing it quite successfully. Thus far. Really appreciate you joining me today and hope you learned a little bit about how to cross-examine a drug recognition expert