Many states are struggling with an increase in motorists under the influence of drugs. The great challenge facing law enforcement offers concerns their ability to detect the presence of drugs in a driver's system. There are many different substances that a motorist may take, and the level of impairment can be very hard to determine without extensive investigation.
Some communities in California used DNA swabs to check if a motorist is under the influence of a drug as part of a pilot program. Under the program, if the driver was suspected of using drugs, law enforcement would use an oral swab to check for the presence of drugs.
A recent case in the state led to the first conviction for DUI due to a positive hit on one of these tests. A motorist was tested after being involved in a serious auto accident. The individual was given tests to check his blood-alcohol content and then also swabbed to check for drug use.
The DNA test led to a positive result for drug use, specifically methamphetamine. A subsequent blood test showed marijuana use as well. The man was charged with drugged driving as his blood-alcohol content was well below the state's 0.08 percent threshold. The driver was convicted of the offense.
Experts are concerned that these swabs may not provide enough information to support DUI charges. While the swabs will tell if a person used drugs, they cannot tell if the person was impaired by the substance. Additionally, some substances give off stronger readings than others, which may mean that misleading information is being relied upon to obtain convictions.
As this case demonstrates, officials are likely to use this information to try to prove that a motorist was under the influence. It is extremely important that those facing drug DUI charges speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner you can begin preparing a strong challenge to the charges you are facing.
An experienced attorney knows how to proceed with DUI cases. This will allow you to develop a strategy that is focused on protecting your rights and pursuing an outcome that is in your best interests.