“Officer was not qualified to make a determination that the defendant was under influence of anything other than alcohol”
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test in a DUI
Driving Under Influence Defense Attorney in Tampa reports that the Refusalto submit to a urine test may not always be a bad decision for those suspected of DUI. Especially relevant one court just ruled that a DUI Officer did not have probable cause to ask a defendant to submit to a urine test. The cop asked for a Urine sample to perform a chemical test under Florida Statute Chapter 316.
The court noted that the defendant’s breath test did not meet the level for the presumption of impairment. Nevertheless, the police officer saw the DUI defendant lying in a vehicle. Then the driver did not move the vehicle through multiple traffic light phases. The cop testified that the suspect exhibited signs of intoxication, and told the DUI officer that he was in pain and needed to take medication.
The key to the court’s ruling suppressing testimony about the refusal to submit to a chemical test was a finding of the unqualification of the Officer to make a determination that the defendant was under influence of anything other than alcohol. Notably, the cop did not observe any evidence that defendant was under influence of narcotics. A search of the DUI suspect’s vehicle and his person did not reveal the presence of any drugs. The court ruled in favor of suppressing the refusal to submit. Read about efforts to improve qualifications of officers.
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test Case Excerpts:
Before The Trial, The Court Allowed The Refusal To Submit Into Evidence
“[T]he Appellant was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence in violation of Florida Statute §316.193(1). Prior to trial, the trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress evidence of the Defendant’s refusal to submit to a urine test. The Trial Court denied the motion to suppress evidence, and the evidence of the Defendant’s refusal was admitted into evidence.”
Collecting And Testing Urine Are Considered Searches
“The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution guarantee citizens the right to be free against unreasonable searches and seizures. Art I § 12, Fla. Constitution. In order to request a driver submit to a urine test, the officers must [have] reasonable cause to believe such person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of chemical substances or controlled substances. Additionally, it is clear that the collection and testing of urine intrude upon expectations of privacy that society has long recognized as reasonable . . . these intrusions must be deemed searches under the Fourth Amendment. Skinner v. Ry. Labor Executive Ass’n, 489 U.S. 602, 617 (1989). “
An Officer Must Look At The Whole Picture
“Therefore, the test is whether the facts and circumstances within an officer’s knowledge are sufficient to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been committed. McNeil v. State, 512 So.2d 1062, 1064 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987). In determining if probable cause exists, the totality of the circumstances, i.e., the whole picture, must be taken into account. State v. Ellison, 455 So.2d 424, 427, (Fla. 2d DCA 1984); Elliot v. State, 597 So.2d 916 (Fla. 4th DCA1992). “
The Officer’s Hunch Is NOT Enough
“The facts and circumstances in the instant case fall short of the probable cause finding necessary for the officer to believe that the Defendant was under the influence of drugs.” “The grounds for requesting the urine sample in this case resembles a hunch or a mere suspicion, rather than probable cause. Therefore, the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress.”
Using Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), in FloridaDUI cases and across the nation, law enforcement and prosecutors are trying to circumvent the ability of jurors and Judges to reach their own conclusions as to the impairment, if any, of criminal suspects.
We have obtained training manuals and reviewed the evidence used to support these “experts” and you may also conclude the ability of these witnesses to meet the stringent requirements for admissibility of “scientific” evidence is far from generally accepted within any communities other than law enforcement. Such witnesses should be stricken from Prosecutors’ witness lists. In five minutes you will know: What is the History and Origin of the DRE? What is done during Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) training? Who does the DRE training? What special skills are Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) taught that judges and jurors don’t already have? Does DRE “evidence” meet the standard for admissibility under Florida law and the Daubert standard?
What is the History and Origin of the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE}?
The Los Angeles Police Department developed this area of alleged expertise in the 1970’s. The federal law enforcement agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) soon jumped on the bandwagon. Strikingly, the “certification” is now issued by the cop’s own International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and not by a generally recognized educational or scientific institution.
7 Days to a Better You (DRE)
What is done during DRE training?
A Seven (7) day school is supposed to cover a 706-page manual. The curriculum begins by citing the Frye standard for admissibility, a standard that was abandoned in Florida in 2013 (see discussion below: Does DRE “evidence” meet the standard for admissibility under Florida law and the Daubert standard ? ).
During the 7 day romp, cops are allegedly trained in the following areas: Eye examinations; Physiology; Vital signs; the Central Nervous System; Depressants; Stimulants; Physician’s Desk Reference; Dissociative Anesthetics; Narcotic Analgesics. That is only half of the allegedly scientific in-depth training.
Let’s visit the second half of this highly accelerated educational program: Inhalants, Vital Signs, Cannabis; Signs and Symptoms; Drug combinations; Writing a resume (Curriculum Vitae); and wrap it up with a list of questions defense attorneys will ask when the newly minted expert tries to spew this garbage in court.
Seven days to a better you – In short, street cops become quasi-medical professionals in only one week.
Who does the Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) training?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
What special skills are Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) taught that judges and jurors don’t already have?
None. Generally, witnesses are not allowed to opine on the guilt or innocence of the accused. When police try to use these “experts” they are attempting to tell the jury how to rule and why. Since the alleged expert issues a highly prejudicial opinion on an ultimate issue in the case, courts must allow only legally admissible evidence to reach jurors.
Does Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) “evidence” meet the standard for admissibility under Florida law and the Daubert standard?
No. In July 2013, Section 90.704, Florida Statutes, was amended to read: “Facts or data that are otherwise inadmissible may not be disclosed to the jury by the proponent of the opinion or inference unless the court determines that their probative value in assisting the jury to evaluate the expert’s opinion substantially outweighs their prejudicial effect.” Since, 2013, there is little guidance from courts and judges on the validity of this testimony.
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220 requires disclosure of “reports or statements of experts made in connection with the particular case, including results of physical or mental examinations and of scientific tests, experiments, or comparisons . . . .” The rules also discuss, “expert witnesses who have not provided a written report and a curriculum vitae or who are going to testify . . . .” In 1996, the rules also contemplated, “experts who have filed a report and curriculum vitae and who will not offer opinions subject to the Frye test.” FRCP 3.220 at 151 Note ( July 1, 2014).
Florida Drug Recognition Experts DRE are only alleged experts who issue highly prejudicial opinions on ultimate issues in the case, courts must allow only legally admissible evidence to reach jurors under the 2013 amendments to Florida law and the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), General Electric Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136 (1997), and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999), and to no longer apply the standard in Frye v. United States, 293 F.2d 1013 (D.C. Cir 1923) . See generally, http://laws.flrules.org/2013/107 .
Standardized 12-Step Drug Recognition Experts Protocol
The 12-Step Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) Protocol is standardized because it is conducted the same way, by every drug recognition expert, for every suspect whenever possible. In the above video, the 12-Step Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) Protocol is not shown.
1. Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Test administered to suspect
2. Interview with the Arresting Officer about BAC, the reason for stop & suspect’s behavior, appearance, and driving.
3. Preliminary Examination and First Pulse. DRE asks questions about health, recent food, alcohol, and drugs, including prescribed medications while DRE observes suspect’s attitude, coordination, speech, breath, and face. DRE examines pupils uses horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) and takes suspect’s pulse. If needed seek medical assistance immediately. Otherwise, the evaluation continues.
4. Eye Examination. behavior, appearance, and driving. DRE uses HGN, vertical gaze Nystagmus (VGN), and looks for a lack of convergence.
5. Divided Attention Psychophysical Tests. DRE administers the Modified Romberg Balance, the Walk and Turn, the One Leg Stand, and the Finger to Nose test.
6. Vital Signs and Second Pulse. DRE takes the subject’s blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.
7. Dark Room Examinations. DRE measures at pupil sizes under three different lighting conditions.
8. Examination of Muscle Tone. DRE examines the subject’s skeletal muscle tone (normal rigid, or flaccid).
9. Check for Injection Sites and Third Pulse. DRE looks for injection sites and takes suspect’s pulse.
10. Subject’s Statements and Other Observations. DRE reads Miranda, asks questions about drug use.
11. Analysis and Opinions of the Evaluator. DRE forms an opinion as the suspect is impaired. If DRE believes there is impairment, then the category of drugs will be indicated.
12. Toxicological Examination. DRE requests a urine, blood and/or saliva for toxicology lab analysis.