Should You Refuse A Roadside Drug Test?

An Introduction The State Of Michigan’s Roadside Drug Testing Program:

The State of Michigan launched a roadside drug testing pilot program back in 2017. Since marijuana being legalized for medical and now recreational use, police statewide have been looking for a test to be alongside the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). The roadside drug testing program started out only in 5 counties; Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair, and Washtenaw County. Across the 12 different police agencies that are active between these counties, there are 31 “Drug Recognition Experts.” A Drug Recognition Expert is an officer who has completed 72 hours of classroom study, along with 40 hours of field study before they are certified by their respective police departments. These Drug Recognition Experts were each given a saliva drug testing device to use if they suspect driving under the influence of drugs. If there was a saliva test that tested positive for the presence of drugs, then that sample would be sent to state lab for confirmation.

What Were The Initial Results Of The Program?

A report released in February of 2019 stated the statistics when it came to whether a positive roadside saliva test was confirmed in the state lab. The results are as follows:

Marijuana was the most prevalent drug with 74 cases of a positive roadside saliva test for THC. In 11 of the samples however, THC was not later found in a blood test.

Amphetamines had a total of sixteen cases of a positive roadside saliva test. In six of those samples, amphetamines were not later found in a blood test.

There were seven cases of a positive roadside test for cocaine. Blood tests confirmed five of those cases.

There were three cases of a positive roadside test for methamphetamine. Blood tests confirmed 2 of those cases.

As you can see, the roadside saliva tests are not perfect; far from it seems with a reported 31% false positive rate. The sample size is also quite small to really draw any substantive conclusions. In a press release, the Michigan State Police stated that the program produced “valuable data” and communicated the need for more data to analyze. The state of Michigan then decided that it needed a larger sample size and subsequently expanded the program statewide. As of October 2019, the state police stated that there are over 100 Drug Recognition Experts now working within the program, with a presence in every county across the state of Michigan.

What Should I Do If I Am Asked To Take To A Roadside Drug Test?

If you are pulled over by an officer who then asks you to take a roadside drug test you have the option to refuse. If you refuse the roadside drug test be aware that you will likely receive a civil infraction. If you take the saliva exam and it comes up positive for drugs, you will then be arrested and taken down to the station for a likely blood draw and further investigation. This can all easily lead to criminal charges If the presence of any other drugs or alcohol are found in your blood. A driving under the influence of drugs charge carries many of the same penalties as a drunk driving, potentially more. If you find yourself charged with a driving under the influence of drugs it is important to contact an attorney immediately.

It doesn’t look like the Michigan State Police saliva roadside drug testing program is going anywhere soon. The program is actually looking to expand nationwide and is banking on the results from across the state of Michigan to help facilitate that expansion. With marijuana being legalized the state is expecting more drivers to drive under the influence of marijuana. The current problem, however, is to pin down what level of THC actually impairs a driver’s ability to safely drive. Once a set standard gets put into place similar to what a .08 blood alcohol content limit is for a drunk driving, then we will start to see more consistent results when dealing with the point at which a driver becomes impaired due to the use of drugs.

We Are Here For You Now

We are not a general practice law firm. At Grabel & Associates we lead the fight for justice from the front, and we do it by specifically focusing on the area of criminal defense. It’s all we do, and we do it best. If you or someone you love is facing a driving under the influence charge, then give us a call at 1-800-342-7896 or contact us online.

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