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The Importance of Having an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney

by SaltLakeCityDUIAtty

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There are times when it is important for a DUI defense attorney to pay close attention to the little details that can be easily overlooked to make sure that there are no holes in expert witness testimony that can be used to get the charges their client is facing lessened or even dropped completely. Nobody is perfect and even those we consider to be experts are bound to make mistakes, too. It is these mistakes that can make the job of the defense attorney a whole lot easier when it comes to bringing their client lesser charges which in turn leads to lesser punishments. They also bring forward the possibility of having all charges dropped all together as well. Though the reason these people are called and considered experts is because they know the process of these certain fields of expertise in and out and these mistakes do not happen often, but it is the fact that they do happen that makes it critical to have a knowledgeable attorney with plenty of experience representing you. Keeping an open eye out for these mistakes can bring a case to an end before it even had a chance to start.


Drug Recognition Expert Program includes many hours of training.


The DRE or drug recognition expert program came into existence in the 70’s and was created by the Los Angeles Police Department. The whole purpose of the program was to stop people who chose to drink while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The idea soon caught on and police departments began using it on international levels. In order to become eligible to utilize the program a police officer would have to undergo a three part training program to educate them on how to recognize and handle under the influence situations. These men and women would go through the first phase of drug recognition expert preschool that consisted of about 16 hours of schooling, drug recognition expert school consisting of 56 hours of training and then the final phase was the drug recognition field certification that lasted another 40 hours. Most of the training they receive is field sobriety and how to properly administer and document the tests. They are taught how to follow a step by step process to evaluate potentially intoxicated drivers. Experienced DUI defense attorneys know what to look for and can find discrepancies or missed steps in the process that officers take to determine if someone is under the influence. When referring to the DRE expert we will use the term “Officer”.


At the end of training an Officer should be able to provide a list of documentation showing he has been certified as an expert in DRE.


The DUI defense attorney will need to collect some information on the Officer and documentation that shows he is considered an expert in this field. A copy of  the Officer’s DRE certification number, all his evaluations, grades and test scores received during certification, proof of having current certifications as Officers are required to recertify every two years, all paperwork and reports written in regards to this particular evaluation and arrest as well as information on all the Officer’s past evaluations and their outcomes. With this information the defense can see if the Officer has consistent credibility as an “expert” in this area of his training. It is important that the Officer in the case has thoroughly documented each step of the process he or she had used in the evaluation process to determine sobriety or lack thereof. It is also important that his certification is up to date and that his past testimonies and evaluations were consistent and proved that he in fact does know what he is doing and how to correctly determine if someone is under the influence.


Did the Officer take the 12 step evaluation process and meticulously go step by step, documenting each of those steps?


There are procedures that MUST be followed and knowing what those procedures are is extremely important in being able to notice the mistakes, if any, that were made in the evaluation process. The Officer must follow 12 steps. First step in the process is the breath alcohol testing. It is important that the Officer know what the results of the breath tests were so he is able to determine if it was indeed alcohol that caused the alleged impairment. In the instance where someone has had a breathalyzer test above the legal limit of .08% there is no need for the remaining steps of evaluation to be taken. It is important to note if the breath test was actually taken under all statutory and regulatory requirements. If the Officer was not the one who made the arrest he or she must interview the person who did before he begins the evaluation. During the preliminary exam the Officer makes the determination that there are not any medical conditions that could render the evaluation mute. Next is the eye exam where the suspects eyes are looked at carefully to determine if there are certain characteristics that are caused from intoxication. Next the regular field sobriety tests are administered. Followed by vital signs being taken, dark room examinations, muscle tone tests, examination for injection sites, suspect statements, the Officer then makes statements regarding their opinions on the suspect’s condition as well as the drug or alcohol that has caused impairment and finally they take blood or urine samples to undergo analysis. If any of these steps were done incorrectly or missed, there may be cause for suppression of evidence and a motion will be made by the DUI defense attorney that is handling the case.


About the Author

Matthew L. Nebeker, known as Mr. DUI is a top-rated Salt Lake City DUI Lawyer who concentrates on Drunk Driving, DUI & DLD Defense. Matt dedicates himself and his law practice to aggressively defending those accused of driving under the influence. Call us at (801) 988-9617 for more information or visit us at


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