If some lawmakers get their way, Michigan will become the first state to allow law enforcement to test for drugs when they suspect a driver is under the influence. Similar to breath tests used in suspected DUI cases, these tests would reportedly alert cops to the presence of illegal drugs in a suspect’s body.
Representative Rick Jones is sponsoring the legislation and states the tests are both effective and affordable. Another selling point—they could minimize the current methods of dealing with suspected drugged drivers, requiring warrants and blood draws.
According to The Free Press, the detections machines work on a bit of saliva from the person’s mouth. It can reportedly detect marijuana, cocaine, meth, and other drugs within six different categories. Currently, the state uses such tests on parolees but never before as a roadside detection method.
One has to question the reliability of these machines and the training that will be required for the officers planning on using them. If they are anything like breathalyzers, they may occasionally give false readings due to calibration or error in usage. If legislation is passed, I foresee this being an issue down the road.
According to the deputy director of NORML, the National Organization for the Repeal of Marijuana Laws, the roadside testing could potentially help law enforcement though he also questions the reliability of the devices and their actual effects on public safety.
Currently, if you are found to be under the influence of any illegal drug while behind the wheel, you can be charged with drugged driving. Similar to driving under the influence of alcohol, you can face OWVI or OWI charges. Both of these carry the potential for jail time, fines, and license suspension.
While drunk driving is a far more common charge than drugged driving, this could potentially change if the legislation allowing roadside drug testing is passed. Regardless of what you are accused of being under the influence of, however, you will need someone on your side to make sense of the charges and help you weigh your options.
If you’re facing OWI charges, contact our attorneys today to discuss the case against you.
Depending on the specific circumstances, we may be able to challenge the evidence against you in hopes of getting the charges reduced or dropped altogether.