As Attorney Dineen and I represent Wisconsin citizens accused of driving while impaired across Wisconsin, we frequently interact with officers claiming to be Drug Recognition Evaluators – or DRE officers. These officers claim that based upon their training they are able to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. While not only claiming to recognize impairment, DRE officers also claim that they are able to identify the particular drug/medication or class of drug/medication responsible for the impairment. In our experience, we’ve found that officers’ conclusions are often inaccurate, or at best lucky guesses.

The So-Called Drug Whisperer

These anecdotal observations were highlighted when I came across the embedded video highlighting the exploits of Cobb County Georgia’s “Drug Whisperer” Officer T.T. Carroll. Officer Carroll’s supervisors call him the department’s “go to officer when it comes to DUI-drugs.” In fact, Cobb County law enforcement is so confident of Officer Carroll and their DRE program that they claimed that Officer Carroll is better at detecting marijuana in a driver than scientific tests. Alarmingly, Officer Carroll has received commendations for his number of OWI arrests – rather than convictions. Wow.

As the video demonstrates, Officer Carroll frequently stops, investigates, and arrests people for operating while under the influence of marijuana who are stone cold sober. These citizens are astounded when an officer slaps cold hard handcuffs on their wrists and tells them he’s taking them to jail. The innocent civilians wait for months until blood tests return to confirm their innocence. Months of anxiety, social stigma, and the expense of hiring an attorney to defend their rights. All based upon the conclusion of a so-called expert.

Hiring a Lawyer Knowledgeable of the DRE Protocol:

The DRE protocol is a twelve step process that DRE officers use to detect impairment. As our experience, and the video demonstrate, the conclusions that officer’s draw at the end of the process are often wild guesses. If you’re subjected to the examination of a DRE officer, you need an experienced and tough DUI-drugs attorney on your side contesting the self-proclaimed expert’s conclusions.