How Will Police Know If I am Impaired by Drug?

When police suspect that someone is driving while impaired by alcohol, most people know how police will determine whether the person is in fact legally impaired: by administering an Approved Screening Device (ASD) or a breathalyzer to the driver. However, where police suspect that a person is impaired by drug, the methods that police use to ascertain impairment are more complex and less commonly known. This article will briefly describe these methods.

The first way that police determine whether someone is impaired by drug is by administering the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). This type of test is usually done at the side of the road once a motorist has been stopped. The test involves a series of smaller tests. The tests include a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, a Walk and Turn Test, and a One Leg Stand Test. If the driver refuses to undergo these tests, they may be charged with failure or refusal to comply with demand, an additional criminal offence.

Another tool that police may use to determine whether a motorist is impaired by drug is a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). The DRE will use a 12-step procedure to evaluate the motorist. The DRE consists of similar tests as the SFSTs, but also involves examinations of the driver’s blood pressure and temperature, muscle tone, and a search for and examination of any injection sites.

Based on the evaluation, the DRE will decide whether or not the driver is impaired. If the DRE finds that the driver is impaired, The Criminal Code allows police officers to demand the motorist to provide a sample of saliva or urine for the purpose of confirming or refuting the DRE’s opinion that they have a drug in their body. Under this provision, police officers are also authorized to demand that the motorist provide a blood sample for the purpose of determining whether the person has consumed a drug. As with the SFST, if the driver refuses to comply with the police officer’s demand for a bodily sample, they may be charged with the additional offence of failure or refusal to comply with demand.

If you or someone you know has been charged with operation while impaired by drug or failure or refusal to comply with demand, a conviction will result in serious legal consequences. To avoid these consequences, contact Winnipeg drug DUI lawyer Matt Gould now to discuss your case.