Today, I testified to the Oregon House Judiciary Committee on behalf of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, regarding DUI law in Oregon. There were two bills under discussion that I testified about. They were both super concerning. HB 2115, or the "Any Drug DUI," bill was the topic of my last post. The first was House Bill 2114, which would allow Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRE's) to testify about unscientific evidence in a controlled substance (drug) DUII case. DRE's are specific officers trained to evaluate whether people are under the influence of certain categories of controlled substances (for example, Central Nervous System Stimulants, Central Nervous System Depressants, Hallucinogens, or Cannabis). Police officers testify about unscientific evidence in DUI cases all the time. But, under this bill, DRE's would be able to testify about all the evidence they gather, even if they did not complete their Drug Recognition Evaluation.
The problem is that the Oregon Court of Appeals has said this evidence, a partial but incomplete Drug Recognition Evaluation, is not scientific. It sounds scientific. DRE officers talk about the tests they "observe." They talk about "methodology." They talk about their "call," which essentially is their hypothesis of which drug category impaired the defendant. But in these partial DRE cases, the courts have decided their tests aren't science. So this unscientific evidence walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck. But it's a platypus. Not a duck. And a partial DRE isn't science. It's just irrelevant evidence, and the state would love to have their officers introduce it.
What you need to know, is that you have the right to say "NO." You have the right to tell police officers that you will not participate in their Drug Recognition Evaluation. By law, you are required to give officers a breath, urine or blood sample when under arrest for DUI. You are required to perform field sobriety tests (which, in a separate article, I'll explain why you should NOT – mainly because it doesn't result in a license suspension). But you do NOT have to submit to the Drug Recognition Evaluation. It is intrusive. They take your pulse, blood pressure, investigate your body for marks or signs of ingestion, they shine lights in your eyes, and in the end, they're just collecting evidence, against YOU. Then, even if their partial results are unscientific and irrelevant to your case, they'll want to use them to prejudice the jury against you. Do not let them. Say "NO" to DRE's!