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Are drug breath tests used by police?

| Jan 29, 2021 | Traffic Tickets |

With DUI arrests, the police could use a breath test when pulling over New York drivers. Tests used by the police detect alcohol, but what about drugs? A new breath test intended to detects drugs exist, but law enforcement can’t rely on it yet.

A new breath test device arrives

Designers in Sweden developed a breath test that could potentially detect the presence of up to 12 drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines. Reports indicate that the test is 87% effective, which infers a possible 13% false-positive rate. False positives are possible with urine and blood tests as well. Regardless, the police currently do not use the test to detect drugs.

If a police department deployed a breath test not legally cleared for use, then at the very least, it is likely the test’s results would be inadmissible. Other repercussions may follow.

The police do have other ways to make an arrest if they suspect that a driver is under the influence of drugs. When a driver fails a field sobriety test, an arrest likely follows. Blood, urine or hair tests could return positive results and be used as evidence in court.

Concerns about the arrest

Whether police use a breath test or not, probable cause is first necessary to pull the vehicle over. A moving violation could lead to the police pulling someone over, and the smell of marijuana or other drugs may lead to a search. Pulling a vehicle over for no reason and performing a search without probable cause may lead to an attorney challenging any procured evidence.

Evidence for drug crimes and arrests can vary, but the police must stay within the law when pulling over or stopping suspects. An attorney may challenge evidence acquired from an improper arrest.