Can law enforcement “breath test” you for drugs?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2017 | Breath Test Refusal

Everyone is aware that police can test people’s alcohol levels with the breathalyzer. There are dozens of iterations, but they all do the same thing. You blow into the device, and it measures your blood-alcohol content in your breath. Anything that is above 0.08 percent is a crime and could increase to a felony. This post will go over breathalyzers for drugs and how the technology is fairing.

Several companies and universities are experimenting with devices that can measure marijuana content in the breath. Alcohol breathalyzers work by measuring blood alcohol content (BAC). The BAC is the amount of alcohol about blood, the higher the percentage, the more that your blood is mixed with alcohol. Unfortunately, marijuana does not operate on similar principles therefore new technology is necessary to create breathalyzers.

A study published in the Journal of Chromatography B found that breathalyzers could work to detect the presence of drugs in the bloodstream, but there are significant technical hurdles to overcome. But, there is no measure on how many of these particles constitute impaired. Furthermore, it is unclear on how many different drugs this system would work. In response, some officers resort to swabs ate checkpoints. The police can analyze cheek swabs for the presence of marijuana, but it will come days or weeks after the swab is taken.

If you were arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs, you may want to contact an attorney to review your possible defense. Breath test refusal may still be your best bet, especially if you believe you would fail the test. If you refuse to blow, your license is automatically suspended, but you might avoid more serious consequences by denying the police concrete proof if you were intoxicated or not. Regardless of the situation, you would benefit from the help of a lawyer.

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Charles Waechter | Premium
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