Q How do police test to see if someone is driving while high?
While police may be able to put a driver into a patrol car after a positive Breathalyzer test, the rules for testing if someone is under the influence of drugs is more complicated. If the person has caused a crash, police officers may demand a toxicology screening. However, if the officer merely suspects drug use, he will need evidence before compelling the driver to submit to a blood or urine test.
Police Use Behavioral Signs to Test for “High Driving”
Police have a number of drug recognition experts (DREs) on staff to perform tests on suspected DUI drivers. While marijuana impairs over half of all arrested drugged drivers, DRE protocols also test for methamphetamines, cocaine, or prescription drug use. These tests do not conclusively prove that a drug is present, but identifies common behavioral and physiological signs that are typical of use, including:
- Muscle control. Similar to field sobriety tests given to suspected drunk drivers, police officers may ask the driver to stand on one leg or close their eyes and touch their nose.
- Time lapses. Many drugs affect a person’s ability to judge the passage of time correctly. For instance a person using marijuana may wait over a minute before estimating when 30 seconds have passed, while someone on cocaine may wait only 10 seconds.
- Eye movements. Police will examine pupil size, pupil response, and the ability to consciously control eye movements in suspected drugged drivers.
- Medical evidence. Police may test a driver’s blood pressure and reflexes to gather more physical evidence of intoxication. If the rest of the exam provides a reasonable amount of suspicion, the driver may then be asked to submit to a toxicology test to prove drug use.
If you have reason to suspect that the driver who struck you was using drugs before the crash, click the live chat link at the bottom of this page to find out what to do next. You should also visit our client testimonials page to find out how we have helped victims like you get justice in the past.