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Understanding the role of a DRE in DUI arrests

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According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, a drug recognition expert (DRE) is defined as a law enforcement officer whose duty is to recognize drivers who may be operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a substance other than alcohol. Started in 1987, more than 450 DREs have completed the state program.

Currently, there are an estimated 185 active DREs working in conjunction with Colorado State Patrol or other agencies.

In a recent article for Aspen Daily News, staff writer Dorothy Atkins spoke to sheriff deputy Levi Borst, who has been working in the field since 2011. Since he passed the certification process, he told the source he's been sent to the scene of an arrest seven times. There, he performs an evaluation by examining the symptoms of the driver and sorting them into categories in order to determine if the individual is high on hallucinogens, depressants, narcotics or stimulants.

The Aspen Police Department arrested 66 people on DUI charges last year, the newspaper indicated. And while the exact figures are unknown, of these, 10 of the individuals charged with a Colorado DUI took a blood test.

Under state law, those who are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs can be subjected to a roadside test to determine their impairment, or sent to the hospital for a blood test. In the event that the accused declines the test, license revocation can be assessed as a penalty.

Alternatively, drivers may be subjected to urine tests if it is suspected that they are high on marijuana. Still, even if they are charged with a DUI based on that information, the source notes, experienced Colorado DUI lawyers can make the case that the individual wasn't impaired.

Still, with the law, and likely the duties DREs perform, set to change in the coming months, those who are arrested for impaired driving on marijuana need to have a law firm in Denver they can turn to. At The Orr Law Firm, we specialize in DUI cases and can keep you abreast of changing state law.