The Washington Post recently ran a story by reporter Dan Morse about testing volunteers high on weed to practice the tests they run when they suspect a driver is impaired by marijuana. The story quoted attorney Leonard R. Stamm.
Such drug impairment tests are regularly challenged in court across the country.
“There are real questions about the scientific validity of what they’re doing,” said Leonard R. Stamm, a longtime defense attorney and author of “Maryland DUI Law,” which devotes more than 30 pages to defending drugged driving cases.
Among the sample questions that Stamm suggests be asked of police drug recognition experts, he advises in the book, many relate to balance: “And when you had him tilt his head back, you would agree that you were disrupting the vestibular system — the fluid — in the inner ear? … That fluid in the inner ear also helps us to maintain our balance?”
The drug recognition evaluation process was developed by police in Los Angeles in order to assist developing evidence to be used when a person is accused of driving while impaired by a drug or controlled dangerous substance (CDS). If a person is arrested for suspected DUI but a breathalyzer shows they are not impaired by alcohol, police call for a so-called “Drug Recognition Expert.” These specially trained police officers run a series of tests, including physical tests, blood pressure, body temperature, checking the eyes for nystagmus, convergence, and reaction to light. Police also interrogate the suspect and request a blood draw. As noted in the article, these tests have been criticized by experts for the lack of a validated published study showing they are based in science. DRE evidence has been held inadmissible by the Carroll County Circuit Court.
If you are charged with DUI (alcohol or drugs), call 301-345-0122 for a free consultation.