State v. Fincher: No Foundation Required for DRE Testimony

The court of appeals held yesterday in State v. Fincher, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ____ (2018), that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it permitted a drug recognition expert to testify in a DWI trial that the defendant was under the influence of a central nervous system depressant. The defendant argued that the State failed to lay a sufficient foundation to establish the reliability of the drug recognition examination, but the court determined that no such foundation was required as the General Assembly had legislatively sanctioned the admission of this type of evidence under Rule 702(a1)(2).

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Daubert and Expert Testimony of Impairment

With the amendment of Rule 702 of the North Carolina Rules of Evidence in 2011, North Carolina became a Daubert state. That change means that trial judges in this state, like their federal counterparts, serve as gatekeepers when faced with a proffer of expert testimony. See Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993) … Read more


Expert Testimony Regarding Impairment

Rule 702(a1) was enacted in 2006 (effective for hearings held August 21, 2006 or later) to render admissible two types of expert testimony on the issue of impairment:  (1) testimony regarding the results of a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test; and (2) testimony from a certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) regarding whether a person is … Read more