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What to know about roadside drug detection

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | DWI

In New York, the increasing concern over drug-impaired driving has led to the implementation of roadside drug testing. This initiative aims to enhance road safety by identifying and deterring drug-impaired drivers. 

The process typically involves using Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) and, in some cases, portable testing devices.

The role of DREs

DREs are law enforcement officers specially trained to recognize signs of drug impairment in drivers. They employ a 12-step evaluation process, which includes physical and psychological tests, to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs. This evaluation is crucial, as the symptoms of drug impairment can vary significantly from those of alcohol impairment.

Portable drug testing devices

Sometimes, portable drug testing devices are used, which can detect the presence of certain drugs, like cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine, in a driver’s saliva. While these devices provide quick results, they are mainly used as preliminary tests, and further laboratory analysis is often required for accurate results.

Legal implications of failing a roadside drug test

Failing a roadside drug test can have serious legal consequences. Drivers may face charges of Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (DWAI-Drugs), which can result in fines, license suspension and even jail time. The severity of these penalties typically depends on the driver’s history and the specific circumstances of the offense.

Protecting your rights

Given the complexities and potential consequences of a roadside drug detection incident, you should understand your rights. Like alcohol testing, roadside drug testing methods are not foolproof. As a result, there may be mistakes made that can benefit your situation. 

While imperfect, at best, drug detection in New York is a critical tool in maintaining road safety. Understanding the process and legal implications is essential for drivers in the state. In cases of drug detection, it is wise to know your rights and legal options to help protect yourself.