DiLorenzo & Rush | Counselors of Law
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State Supreme Court changes standards for drug DUI assessment

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Testing procedures are a crucial part of DUI cases in New Jersey. For drivers who are accused of DUI, there are a litany of consequences to think about. That includes lost driving privileges, fines and even jail time.

Drugged driving differs from drinking and driving and the way people are tested. Knowing the law and recent court decisions is a critical aspect of a legal defense.

New Jersey Supreme Court rules on drug recognition experts

Drug recognition experts (DREs for short) assess a person who might be under the influence of drugs. Because testing can be more complicated for drugs than it is for alcohol, this process is still being developed.

After a recent decision by the New Jersey State Supreme Court, DREs will be subject to the same standards when their scientific reliability is considered. This is vital to cases where the DRE will be a determinative factor in a DUI case.

Prior to this decision, this testimony was allowed based on whether it was generally accepted to be reliable by the scientific community. The dispute about it being used as evidence stems from the lack of scientific information for the tests and their results. They are given by law enforcement officers and their agencies.

The new standard will let the judge decide on expert testimony and how it can be used. The State Supreme Court decision is not final as the case was sent back to the special master who had made previous rulings on this issue.

Critics say there are many ways in which a DRE’s analysis can be skewed. If the DRE makes a mistake or the test is deemed unfair, it could make a major difference in the case.

The case that went to the Supreme Court asked if the DREs and their testing is objective since it is primarily based on the eye test and analysis that does not use blood or breath as alcohol testing does. A report from the special master found that there were enough false positives and negatives that the tests could be concerning when a person is facing charges and the implications of a guilty verdict.

DUI drug charges should be scrutinized from every angle as part of the defense

People facing DUI charges should know how to fight back and avoid the penalties. The evidence is a key part of the case and if the accusation is based on alleged drug use, then the DRE could be questioned for credibility. Discussing the case with experienced people with a history of providing criminal defense can be helpful in reaching a positive outcome and avoiding a conviction.