Portable Drug Test

Posted on Posted in Drug, DUI

LAPD Portable Drug Test Use

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is launching a new program to crack down on driving under the influence of drugs through a portable drug test.  With this new portable drug test, drivers who are stopped at DUI checkpoints will be asked to voluntarily consent to a swab of their cheek and gum line if the cop thinks they are under the influence of drugs.  The keyword here is “voluntarily”, but more on that later.

The Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, announced this new portable drug test program in a press conference held on Friday, December 27, 2013.  “Traditionally, our office has focused on drunken driving cases,” Feuer said at a news conference Friday. “We’re expanding drug collection and aggressively enforcing all impaired-driving laws.”

Legalized medical marijuana use is the main target of this new portable drug test program, as the cops struggle to find a way to still penalize people.  The machine will test for marijuana (THC), cocaine, Xanaz, amphetamines, and methamphetamine (meth).

During the press conference, LAPD Commander Andy Smith stated that he anticipated making a large number of arrests on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  So far, in the two weeks leading up to Christmas, 1520 DUI (drugs and alcohol) arrests have been made in Los Angeles County alone.  The new portable drug test cheek swab will increase this number substantially.


Voluntary Portable Drug Test

Unless you are placed under arrest, you do not have to consent to testing.  This means that all of the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are voluntary.  This des include the breath tests (PAS) and the new portable drug test cheek swab.  The cops actually have to tell you that they are voluntary.  You can refuse all FSTs, including the portable drug test.  If you do refuse, and the cop has the probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, he or she can place you under arrest and transport you to the station.  At that point you still have the choice of consent.  However, if you refuse after arrest, you will lose your license through the DMV.


Portable Drug Test- Driving with therapeutic levels

The portable drug test machine claims that it can differentiate between THC used in the last several hours.  However, for one to be guilty of driving under the influence of a drug, one must actually be under the influence of said drug.  What this means is that your abilities must be negatively affected by the drug.  Having therapeutic levels in your system does not automatically place you in an illegal position.   There is much debate about what levels do actually impair.


Other Counties Use of Portable Drug Test

With the LAPD using the new portable drug test to assist with the arresting of people thought to be under the influence of drugs, it will not be long until other law enforcement agencies begin employing them as well.  Agencies want to crack down on drivers who they believe are under the influence.  The signs of a driver who is impaired by drugs are vague and amorphous.  With alcohol, there is often a distinct odor and lack of facilities.  With drugs, there are often no visible signs.  This means that an officer theoretically could harass people and arbitrarily ask them to submit to the tests.  This is a slippery slope law enforcement agencies are beginning down.


Arrest Due to Portable Drug Test

If you or a loved one were arrested after being tested by a portable drug test, then you have many, many defenses available!  Contact the Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache today to discuss all available defenses in your case.  Do not let the portable drug test win!

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