If someone drives under the influence of alcohol, and gets stopped—it can be life-altering. Police officers who suspect a driver has had too much to drink will typically call for a field sobriety test to determine if one’s motor skills are abnormal. Depending how that test goes, said officers will often ask drivers in question to then submit to a breathalyzer which tells blood alcohol content (BAC). A reading of .08 or above will normally lead offenders to a jail cell and/or loss of license and eventual serious fines.
The above series of events occurs every day of the week across the country. With each year that passes penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol become more stringent—fines get steeper and potential for serving time becomes more likely. This can be true even for a first offense DUI. Second and third-offenders can pretty much guarantee lengthy stays in jail.
While alcohol is still the number one offender when it comes to driving under the influence of mind-altering substances, it is also illegal to drive when taking certain drugs. However, the process of determining if a driver is “high” on drugs is a more involved one, usually including laboratory blood screens. Since illicit drugs are, in fact, illegal—it doesn’t matter how much of a drug someone takes, as in the case of alcohol. Meaning the levels of a drug in one’s bloodstream. But, as more states legalize marijuana for recreational use, there is a need to set limits on what is safe for the road. A complicated process to be sure.
Mouth Swab for Drugged Drivers
California passed Proposition 64 last November. Which means that law enforcement across the state need to have a way to easily detect if a driver has marijuana in their system. If such a test comes back positive, then further tests can be administered by way of taking blood—which will reveal if the level of the drug in the blood stream is at impairment levels.
Police officers in San Diego began using some new equipment, this past St. Patrick’s Day, that are to aid in the aforementioned process. The San Diego Police Foundation donated two Dräger DrugTest 5000 machines to the police department, The Los Angeles Times reported. The devices, priced around $6,000 each, test for the presence of seven common drugs by way of a mouth swab. If drugs, like marijuana are detected, further tests will be ordered to find out the levels of the drug in the blood.
“It’s a huge concern of ours with the legalization of marijuana that we’re going to see an increase in impaired drugged driving,” Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said at a news conference in March 2017.
The machine was first used by U.S. law enforcement in 2009, according to the article. Since then, police in Arizona, Los Angeles, Nevada and New York have used the Dräger 5000.
Drugged Driving Help
If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis, please contact Ronald G. Brower for assistance. We have successfully defending a number of such cases.