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Will drug-related charges be determined by breath test?

New developments in technology are typically designed to make certain aspects of more simple. However, some of those advances come with a whole set of unintended consequences. Although there is no guarantee it will be implemented in Baltimore or other cities throughout the country, researchers recently developed a breath-test device that can detect the presence of illicit drugs in a person’s system.

Much like it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, it’s also illegal to be intoxicated by drugs when behind the wheel. Right now, Breathalyzer tests are used to detect a person’s blood-alcohol concentration, but up until now there wasn’t really an equivalent for illegal drugs.

The device, which can detect a dozen controlled substances, was able to accurately detect the presence of drugs in a person’s body 87 percent of the time, which is about as accurate as blood or urine tests used by police.

Although researchers are pleased with the device’s ability to detect drug usage, it might not be the best measure of whether or not someone was too intoxicated while behind the wheel. The device was able to detect the presence of drugs 24 hours after being ingested, which may be a long enough period of time for the effects to wear off.

Knowing that the test isn’t accurate 100 percent of the time, and that it may give delayed readings, may be cause for concern. The reliability of Breathalyzer tests — and results delivered by comparable devices — have been brought into question on numerous occasions. If a criminal case for drug charges is largely built around potentially flawed test results from a breath-test device, then the charges may not stand. This is why it’s critical to scrutinize every piece of evidence presented in court.

Source: The Inquisitr, “New Breathalyzer Test Detects Drugs Too,” April 28, 2013

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