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How Do Police Test for Drugged Driving?

A police stop for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) begins like many other traffic-related encounters. An officer will signal for a driver to pull over, approach the window, and begin asking questions to determine if a driver is drugged. While testing methods for alcohol such as breathalyzers are typically well known, many people may not know that the police can also conduct roadside tests for other substances. Below, our blog looks at three of the main methods used by police during a traffic stop.

Methods police use to determine if a driver is guilty of DUID can include:

  1. Observations: Many accusations of DUI and DUID are based on an officer's observations. Erratic driving, speeding, failing to stop, and the smell of alcohol or drugs can all be used by an officer to support an accusation of drugged driving. Furthermore, it is likely that an officer will ask questions about your business that day. Any information that is freely given may be used against you in court. Unless you are stopped at a checkpoint, the observation of suspicious behavior was likely why you were pulled over. As such, it is important to remember that law enforcement may suspect you of DUID from the moment they see your car.
  2. Field sobriety tests: If an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, you may be asked to take a roadside sobriety test. The three standard test are the one leg stand, walk and turn, and horizontal nystagmus gaze. During each test, an officer will watch for signs of intoxication and inebriation. It is important to note that all three of the tests mentioned above are completely voluntary and drivers are not required to participate.
  3. Saliva drug swab tests: California has recently ramped up its efforts to combat drugged driving by approving the use of swab tests on drivers accused of DUID. The process takes only a few minutes and can detect substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroine. While you can refuse to take chemical tests, doing so can result in the suspension of your license. Unlike with breathalyzers, the test does not determine intoxication. Additionally, the use of saliva drug tests as evidence in the courtroom is still highly controversial.

Request a No-Cost Case Evaluation with Our Firm Today

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs, do not waste any time in contacting Campbell Whitten. The evidence used in DUID cases may not always hold up in court and our Bakersfield DUI attorneys know where to find the holes in the case against you. Did an officer have probable cause? Was an unlawful search conducted? Despite what law enforcement may have you believe, it is possible to overcome the charges you face.

Call (661) 735-1038 and get your questions answered in an initial consultation.

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