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What is a DRE?

What is a DRE? While some might think of hip hop icon Dr. Dre, the correct answer in the context of our blog is Drug Recognition Expert. DREs are Colorado law enforcement officers trained to recognize signs of impairment in drivers under the influence of marijuana and other drugs.

The drugs might be pharmaceuticals prescribed by a family doctor, marijuana or street substances, and they can be taken alone or in addition to alcohol. Regardless, if a DRE believes you are under the influence of drugs, you can be asked to take a chemical test and you can be arrested for DUID (driving under the influence of drugs). 

There are approximately 190 Colorado Drug Recognition Experts working across 64 law enforcement agencies in the state, with the State Patrol having the highest concentration of DREs (51), according to the Department of Transportation.

In 2012, about 5 percent of drug and alcohol evaluations examined by the Colorado Department of Human Services involved marijuana. Recent news reports suggest that the state has not experienced a surge in DUID arrests since the legalization of marijuana.

For those drivers who decline to submit to a chemical test when asked to do so by a police officer, penalties can be severe. Test refusal can mean drivers' license revocation for a year, mandated installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device for two years, and more.

Unfortunately, those arrested for DUID or DUI don't have a long time to ponder their legal options. They must act within 10 days to request a DMV hearing to get a restricted license or explore other alternatives. Experienced Denver DUI defense attorneys understand the processes involved and the available options.  

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