Today, roadside breathalyzer tests are a powerful tool used by law enforcement and prosecutors to get evidence of impaired driving that could ultimately lead to an arrest and a DUI or DWI conviction. While breathalyzers are widely accepted as useful tools in the fight against drunk driving (although the accuracy of these tests is still not necessarily guaranteed), breath tests were once experimental technology.
Now, another experimental technology is being tested that could do for the fight against drugged driving what breathalyzers have done for drunk driving cases. The experimental technology is a saliva-based test that allows police to check motorists for drugs like heroin, marijuana and cocaine. Like a breath test, this saliva-based test can be administered right on the road after a traffic stop and a positive result could lead to an arrest, further testing and possible prosecution.
As the process of detecting drugs in drivers changes, motorists who are accused of drugged driving will need to make sure their rights are being protected and that they aren't being arrested based on faulty evidence. A New Jersey DWI lawyer can provide assistance to anyone who is arrested and can help defendants argue that tests which were performed on them should not provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt that they broke drugged driving laws.
A Brief Look at Michigan’s Pilot Program on Saliva-Based Roadside Drug Tests
Drugged driving cases are proving harder for police and prosecutors than drunk driving cases because of the difficulty of determining if someone is on drugs when behind the wheel. Lawmakers hope that the new saliva-based test, which can detect common drugs, will make a difference in catching drugged drivers.
According to M Live, the use of the test will be tried in five different counties in Michigan over a one-year period of time. Within the five counties that are part of the pilot program, data will be collected in order to determine whether the tests are accurate or reliable or not. The test will be administered by trained and certified Drug Recognition Experts and extensive records will be kept.
If the pilot program shows that the saliva-based testing is reliable when the test is administered to motorists, it is likely more locations will begin to train police in the use of this type of test. The tests will likely not only be used in Michigan, but will be adopted by other states throughout the U.S. that are looking for ways to deal with the increase in drugged driving cases.
Unfortunately, as with any technology, there is plenty of room for error and failure, especially since this technology is still relatively new. Drugged driving charges are serious charges with grave consequences and no defendants should have to worry that they will be subject to arrest as a result of a new test that may not work perfectly in every situation.
If you are arrested for drugged driving and you believe there was something done improperly with respect to evidence collection or that there are inaccuracies in the evidence, it is imperative you get legal help. A DWI lawyer can provide you with assistance in introducing reasonable doubt regarding whether the evidence obtained against you is enough for a conviction. Contact Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, P.A. as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights and options.