LEEDS – Leeds County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding motorists that local officers are trained evaluators in drug recognition.
When a police officer suspects that a person is impaired by alcohol and or drugs, a trained police officer may use a test battery known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests or SFSTs or a ‘Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)’ will conduct a series of tests to determine if there are probable grounds to conduct further testing. The tests will show impairment that can be caused by other things such as prescription or illicit drugs.
The Criminal Code of Canada gives a drug recognition evaluator certain powers when a driver is suspected of being impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
The DRE has the power to conduct an evaluation of whether a “person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by a drug or by a combination of alcohol and a drug.”
The Criminal Code of Canada states that if the DRE “has reasonable grounds to believe” that the person’s ability to operate the vehicle is impaired, “the evaluating officer may, by demand made as soon as practicable, require the person to provide” a blood, oral fluid or urine sample.
Based on the evaluation, the DRE forms an opinion as to whether or not the subject is impaired. If the DRE determines that the subject is impaired, the DRE will indicate what category or categories of drugs may have contributed to the subject’s impairment.
Whether its drug or alcohol impairment, the end result is similar, a possible criminal conviction for Impaired Driving, a drivers’ license suspension and a vehicle impound.