What May Occur If One Is Pulled Over And The Officer Suspects They Are Under The Influence Of Something Other Than Alcohol
In this article, you will discover:
- How drug-related DUI investigations are conducted
- When the police may choose to perform a drug-related DUI investigation
- The driver’s right to refuse drug tests during the DUI investigation and the possible consequences of refusing
A DUI drug investigation will be very similar to a DUI alcohol investigation. However, there may be some additional field sobriety evaluations. For example, in an alcohol-related DUI investigation, the officer will check the eyes for jerking or horizontal gaze Nystagmus. They’re going to do that in a DUI drug investigation as well. They will have the person walk a line, too, as all the field sobriety evaluations include walking a line. The experience in law enforcement is that people under the influence of drugs typically do less well on the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand than they would if they were not under the influence of drugs. So, it can be an indicator.
They will do different tests to check to see if your eyes can follow a stimulus close to your face, and the officer will have you close your eyes and hold your head back and estimate 30 seconds and while you’re doing that he will look for eyelid tremors swaying and how close to 30 seconds you estimate. They will look for tongue discoloration and changes in your pupil size and your eyes or pupil reaction to light. They might even check your heart rate. Police Drug Recognition Expert protocols involve twelve different steps, including field sobriety evaluations. And so, they might do a series of things that seem somewhat strange, but the aim is to see if you’re under the influence of one of the different drug classes. They will also typically ask for a blood test instead of a breath test. They might ask for a urine test, but typically if they suspect drugs, they’re going to ask for a blood test, and they’ll use a portable breath test device to exclude the possibility of alcohol and then move on for the drug evaluations.
How Standard Field Sobriety Tests Are Conducted During A Drug-Related DUI Investigation
In a drug DUI investigation, you will do the same standard field evaluations plus some additional evaluations. You will still do the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, and they will check for jerking of your eyes following a stimulus on a horizonal plane. They’ll have you walk nine steps, turn and walk back, and they’ll evaluate you for “clues.” They’ll also have you stand on one leg and count for 30 seconds, see if you put your foot down, hop, raise your arms, or sway. They will also typically check your pupil size and pulse rate, tongue discoloration, how your eyes react to light, or check your pupils for dilation or constriction. They’re going to check to see if your eyes cross when following a stimulus circling or cork-screwing toward your face. If you’re under the influence of cannabis or marijuana, your eyes will involuntarily move out as the stimulus gets closer to your nose if you’re a non-frequent user of marijuana They’re going to have you estimate the passage of time with your eyes closed and head held back. They might have you touch a finger to your nose or these types of things. So, in a drug DUI case, it’s not just going to be a standardized three field sobriety evaluation like the HGN, walk and turn and one leg stand. Actually, there is a 12-step drug recognition protocol that’s utilized.
When The Police May Conduct A Drug Test During A DUI Investigation in Fulton County
In Fulton County, they’ll check for the basic standardized field evaluations. For example, they’ll look for Nystagmus or jerking the eyes while following a stimulus on the horizontal and vertical planes. They will check and see how the person performs on the nine step walk and turn examining whether a driver can walk a line and keep their balance. They’ll check and evaluate their ability to stand on one leg without putting your foot down, hopping, swaying, or raising your arms. In addition to that, they’ll check for pupil dilation, pulse rate, pupil size, and pupil reaction to light. They’ll check the person’s ability to estimate the passage of 30 seconds. They will also check and see if a person can hold their eyes on the stimulus as it moves towards their face and keep their eyes crossed without their eyes moving to the side, indicating marijuana use. The officer will perform a portable breath test to see if they can exclude the presence of alcohol, which would suggest that whatever impairment they’re seeing is related to non-alcoholic substances. And then typically, they’ll get blood or a urine test, or maybe both after arrest.
The Ability And Consequences For Refusing A Drug Test During A DUI Investigation In Georgia
You can always refuse a drug test in Georgia, but if you refuse a blood test, that can be used against you at trial, for now. And there’s a possibility that you can lose your license administratively for a year for refusing. But typically, we will request a driver’s license hearing, and 95% of the time, we can manage that refusal without a one year license suspension. If you refuse, the police can get a warrant for your blood, but not every county aggressively pursues blood test warrants. Fulton County typically does not use blood test warrants. However, other counties generally are a little more aggressive on the warrant side. So, it depends on the county you’re in, whether or not there’s a possibility that they’re going to obtain a warrant.