You Don’t Want A Ride From ARIDE Officers

If you get a ride from an ARIDE officer, it’s because you’ve been arrested for DUI/OVI. The acronym stands for Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement, and ARIDE is a course which some police officers complete to improve at investigating and prosecuting Ohio DUI/OVI cases involving drugs. To better understand what officers are learning at ARIDE, I recently completed the program myself, and I expect it to improve my effectiveness in defending cases involving driving under the influence of drugs.

ARIDE photo with certificateBefore an officer can take the ARIDE course, the officer must first complete the training program for DWI Detection And Standardized Field Sobriety Testing sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). I completed that program in 2005. That program explains the three phases of DUI/OVI investigations and includes hours of hands-on training for administering the three standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). The three SFSTs are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (follow the pen with your eyes), the Walk And Turn test, and the One Leg Stand test.

Field sobriety testing is the focus of the first part of the ARIDE course. Participants undergo updated training for administering the SFSTs and are introduced to two additional tests. The first new test, the Romberg Balance test has requires a subject to tilt his head back, close his eyes, and estimate 30 seconds. The second new test, the Lack of Convergence test, involves moving a stimulus close to the subject’s nose to see if the subject’s eyes cross. Course participants must pass an SFST proficiency test to continue to the second part of the ARIDE course.

The second part of the ARIDE course focuses on the investigation and prosecution of driving under the influence of drugs. Drugs, for the purpose of the ARIDE course, are any chemical substances which can impair the ability of a person to operate a vehicle safely. ARIDE participants learn to identify signs of driving impairment caused by drugs and also learn how to predict what classification of drug is causing the impairment. There are seven classifications of drugs, and each drug classification has a unique combination of expected symptoms. Hypothetical fact patterns involving drug classifications are included in a fairly challenging final exam which concludes the ARIDE course.

For officers who regularly investigate Ohio DUI/OVI, the ARIDE course is beneficial because the officers learn signs of drug-related impairment which may go unnoticed by an untrained officer. On the other hand, the course is really just an overview of drug classification. For officers who want to become Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), they need to complete the longer and more intense Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP).

While I would not want a ride from an ARIDE officer, I’m glad I completed the ARIDE course. Completing the SFST course in 2005 definitely improved the effectiveness of my cross examinations regarding SFSTs. I am encountering an increasing number of officers with ARIDE training, and I anticipate that completing the same training as the officers will make for effective cross examinations regarding drug classification. For attorneys who contest OVI charges in Columbus and Central Ohio, the ARIDE course will soon be a must.