News & Blog

Tallahassee DUI Defense Attorney Discusses a Drug Testing Pilot Program

August 30, 2016 • DUI Defense

When police believe someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, law enforcement can ask the driver to take a breathalyzer. The ease of administering breathalyzer tests, coupled with the clear limits set regarding a legal blood alcohol content (BAC) can make it easier for police to arrest drunk drivers and easier for prosecutors to secure convictions. When it comes to drugged driving, on the other hand, things become more complicated.

Now, Detroit News reports there is a pilot program that will last for a year and will involve the use of roadside saliva tests on drivers suspected of drugged driving. If the pilot test works effectively and helps police and prosecutors secure more convictions for drugged driving, it is likely that other cities throughout the United States will also move towards conducting similar testing.

For those accused of drugged driving, this can be a worrisome development as the roadside tests are newer technology and there are ongoing questions about exactly how to tell when someone is too drugged to drive.

As laws and procedures on drugged driving continue to develop, those who have been accused of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol will need to make sure they know their rights and that they defend themselves vigorously against any accusations of wrongdoing. A Tallahassee DUI defense attorney can provide invaluable help in responding to an accusation of drugged driving.

New Tests Could Show When a Driver Is Drugged

The Detroit News indicates the pilot program will occur in five different counties. The officers who will be conducting the saliva testing of suspected drugged driving offenders would be required to complete specialized training before being able to administer the test. If the saliva test came back with a positive result, this could trigger an arrest on-site for drugged driving.

A former sheriff indicated the test would be invaluable to the police because “you’ve got to have a way to test for drugs.” He touts the simplicity of the system, which involves using a little plastic spoon with a sponge on it to collect a sample. The spoon and sponge are placed into a test tube and you get an almost immediate result showing whether someone is on any type of drug.

The problem, however, is that it is very common for many drugs -- particularly marijuana -- to be detected in someone’s system long after the person has actually used marijuana. This could lead numerous situations where someone may have used a drug days or weeks before the time they are driving.

The test could still come back positive and they could end up being arrested for no reason, even though they were not actually impaired in any way at the time they were behind the wheel.

Defendants need to make certain they do not end up facing serious criminal penalties just because of new tests that may not provide an accurate assessment. Anyone arrested for drugged driving should consult with a skilled drunk driving attorney in Tallahassee for help defending his or her rights.