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What Are the Signs of DUID?

Since 2004, Pennsylvania has been training municipal police and state troopers as drug recognition experts (DREs). The signs that may indicate someone is driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) are not always the same signs someone driving inebriated may display. Unfortunately, most law enforcement officers do not get DRE training, and many DUID arrests are based on inaccurate field test perceptions or faulty lab results.

There is a need for better recognition of DUID drivers. An estimated 30 percent of the 50,000 DUI arrests made in 2012 involved drugs. Of these DUIDs, 40 percent were using more than one category of drugs, and some motorists had both drugs and alcohol in their system. The breakdown of drug categories was:

  • 39 percent — central nervous system depressants, such as tranquilizers and sedatives
  • 39 percent — marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids
  • 35 percent — narcotics and analgesics
  • 13 percent — central nervous system stimulants, such as amphetamines and cocaine

DRE training includes using field sobriety tests similar to those used to determine alcohol intoxication, such as asking the driver to track a moving finger. Officers may also look for red eyes or lack of coordination and orientation. These field tests rely on subjective interpretation, not scientifically valid criteria, so motorists are advised to politely refuse to participate. Refusing to take a blood test, however, results in more severe penalties, but be aware that these lab results do not always hold up in court.

If you are arrested on DUID charges, make sure you get the representation of an experienced DUI lawyer. DUID charges can sometimes be dismissed or reduced because of a lack of probable cause, questionable blood test results or other mitigating circumstances.

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