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An overview of field sobriety tests while high

If a patrol officer conducts a traffic stop and suspects that the driver is under the influence of a drug, it is difficult to ascertain whether their suspicion is correct. In the departments that have them, a drug recognition expert (DRE) determines if the full DRE evaluation process needs to occur at the station using a roadside assessment. Otherwise, the officer will use their Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) to determine whether an individual is a drug-impaired driver. 

Description of ARIDE protocol

DRE experts teach the ARIDE program and it ensures that the officer understands the importance of securing a biological sample to identify whether there is an impairment. The program stresses that the officer should determine the category of drug impairing the driver, but their assessment is not what the court uses to prosecute individuals. Once the individual supplies a biological sample, the court uses the analysis of the sample to prosecute an individual who drove under the influence.  

Examples of ARIDE evaluations

Common ARIDE evaluations include the Romberg Balance test and the lack of convergence test. The lack of convergence test requires the individual to watch a stimulus held 12-15 inches from their nose. The officer moves the stimulus in two large circles to ensure the individual can track it. During the Romberg balance test, the individual closes their eyes, tilts their head back, and estimates 30 seconds. The officer administering needs to judge the individual’s internal clock and watch their eyes.  

The legitimacy of these tests is debatable, so individuals may refuse to take these roadside tests. Individuals should immediately contact an attorney for DUI or DWAI defense. 

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