If an officer suspects drug use during a DUI investigation, the ARIDE officer is trained to conduct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standardized Field Sobriety Evaluations (SFSE) prior to conducting "drug" sobriety testing. For a review of the SFSE, please see Understanding the Standardized Field Sobriety Evaluations.
After completing the SFSE, if the officer suspects drug impairment, the officer is trained to conduct the following Sobriety Tests: Pupil Size, Lack of Convergence and Romberg Balance Test.
The ARIDE officer is not a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) and the ARIDE curriculum does not include estimating actual pupil size using a "pupilometer" chart, but rather noting gross differences in pupil size (eg. dilated, normal or constricted). The officer is instructed to account for and document light conditions when observing pupil size. If the officer held a card next to each side of the driver's face, the officer was utilizing a pupilometer to estimate pupil size and, if the officer is not DRE certified, he or she was exceeding the scope of the ARIDE training.
Lack of Convergence (LOC)
The officer should position his stimulus (finger/pen/stylus) approximately 12-15 inches from the driver's nose, inform the driver that he will be moving stimulus in a circular motion and moving it towards the bridge of their nose. The officer should instruct the driver to keep their head steady and to follow the stimulus with their eyes only. The officer will make two circles in front of the driver's face (this is only to insure the driver is following/tracking the stimulus with his/her eyes). The officer will slowly move the stimulus in towards the driver's nose, stopping at approximately 2'' from the bridge of the nose, hold for approximately one second and then remove it while observing the driver's eyes.
Lack of Convergence (LOC) Continued
The officer should not touch the driver's nose. The ARIDE manual indicates this is important because the driver will move their head away. Additionally, studies indicate a much higher percentage of the population will fail this test without any level of impairment if the officer actually brings the stimulus to the nose.
Test Interpretation LOC
The driver's eyes should come together and cross (converge) as they track and remain aligned with the stimulus. If the driver's eyes cross, LOC is not present, but if one or both eyes cannot cross and drift away, LOC is present. If LOC is present, the officer is instructed to document the path of the eyes.
Romberg Balance Test
This test is designed to check the driver's "internal clock," balance and the presence of tremors (eyelid and body). The test consists of three simultaneous parts. The driver estimates the passage of 30 seconds while the officer observes for tremors and swaying.
Administrative Procedures Romberg Balance Test
The officer instructs the driver to stand straight with feet together and arms down at side and to remain in that position until the officer is finished giving instructions. When told to begin, the driver is to tilt their head back, close their eyes and estimate to themselves the passage of 30 seconds. When they think 30 seconds have gone by, they must bring their head forward, open their eyes and say, "Stop." The officer should time the driver and when the driver has finished the officer should ask, "How much time was that? And "How did you get that?"
Romberg Balance Test Interpretation
The officer is trained that there are no pass/fail criteria or clues associated with the modified Romberg Balance Test. The officer should document the passage of time it took the driver to estimate 30 seconds and any observations of tremors, swaying or other evidence of drug use (looking up the driver's nasal cavity, checking skin color, muscle rigidity, etc). If the driver's estimate of the passage of 30 seconds was within 25-35 seconds, the driver's internal clock is considered normal.
Drug Category Matrix
The ARIDE and DRE officer utilizes the Drug Category Matrix to help determine the source of impairment. NHTSA recognizes seven major drug categories: Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants (including alcohol); CNS Stimulants (Cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, etc.); Hallucinogens (LSD, Ecstasy, Psilocin, Peyote, etc.); Dissociative Anesthetics (PCP, Ketamine, DXM); Narcotic Analgesics (Heroin, Hydrocodone, Dilaudid, Percodan, Methadone, etc.); Inhalants (volatile solvents, aerosols, anesthetic gases) and; Cannabis (Marijuana, hash oil, Marinol, etc.) In the analysis, the SFSE clues are used in conjunction with the "drug" sobriety testing. Depending on the combination of clues and observations, the officer may attempt to determine the drug category impairing the driver. This task can be further complicated by poly drug use (using two or more drugs from two or more drug categories).
The SFSE Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Matrix
HGN should be present for impairment by CNS Depressants, Dissociative Anesthetics and Inhalants, but not present for CNS Stimulants, Hallucinogens, Narcotic Analgesics or Cannabis.
The SFSE "Walk and Turn" and "One Leg Stand"
These evaluations are divided attention tests and should be scored for all categories of suspected drug impairment, but are not listed on the Drug catagory Matrix.
Lack of Convergence (LOC) Matrix
LOC should be present for CNS Depressants, Dissociative Anesthetics, Inhalants, and Cannabis, but not present for CNS Stimulants, Hallucinogens or Narcotic Analgesics.
Pupil Size Matrix
Pupils should present as normal for CNS Depressants (Soma & Quaaludes may dilate), Dissociative Anesthetics and Inhalants (some inhalants may dilate).
Pupils should be dilated for CNS Stimulants, Hallucinogens, and Cannabis (Cannabis may be normal)
Pupil size should be constricted for Narcotic Analgesic.
Additional Matrix Data
The Drug Category Matrix is designed to be used by DRE certified officers and also lists evaluation results for reaction to light (pupils), pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and muscle tone.
The ARIDE course replaces NHTSA's "drugs that impair" 8-hour course and is a hybrid course between the NHTSA SFSE and the DRE certification. ARIDE is designed to increase the officer's interest in completing the much more difficult DRE certification. ARIDE students are not DRE certified and often have learned just enough information to confuse them and lead them to a bad arrest decision. The ARIDE manual warns the officer they are not DRE certified and they do not have the training required to support the selection of a specific drug category as the source of the driver's impairment, but too often the officer will state the source of impairment. This gap in the officer's training leaves a tremendous opportunity for the well trained DUI defense attorney or DRE expert witness to challenge the officer on his or her arrest decision.
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