If you are stopped for a traffic or equipment violation, you may end up with more than a citation. A police officer who is trained in drug recognition may notice certain symptoms that indicate recent drug use. If you display these symptoms, you could be arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
The symptoms displayed will vary depending on the type of drug consumed. Cannabis use results in dilated pupils, increased pulse and blood pressure rates, altered time and distance perception. Stimulant use may cause rapid speech, agitated movements, eyelid and body tremors, and teeth grinding.
The first question the officer may ask you is whether or not you have recently consumed any controlled substances. You do not want to make any admissions of recent drug use as this will provide the officer with an additional basis to expand the scope of the stop to include field sobriety testing. You are under no obligation to respond to any police questioning about recent drug use.
The officer may also ask you to exit your car and perform field sobriety testing which will be used to confirm any suspicion that you were driving under the influence of a controlled substance. You should obey the officer and get out of your car. But again, you are under no obligation to comply with field testing. You should politely refuse field testing. Why give them ammunition to establish probable cause for an arrest?
What can follow a drugged driving arrest? If you are arrested for drugged driving, the officers will then be free to conduct of full search of your car, including the trunk and closed containers, for controlled substances. Police are allowed to conduct a warrantless search of your car as the nature of the offense for which you were arrested provides a basis for the officer to believe that drugs may be found in the car.
What can you do if you are charged with drugged driving? You can challenge your arrest and the search of your car in court. A skilled drug defense attorney will file a motion with the court seeking to suppress the evidence and dismiss the charges against you. On what grounds you ask? You may claim lack of probable cause to arrest as there were no admissions of recent drug use and no field sobriety tests were performed. If there was no probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, the search of your car was illegal and the use of the evidence by the prosecution will be suppressed. Without the use of the drug evidence seized during the search of your car, the court will grant the motion to dismiss the charges and you will be set free.