Fort Lauderdale, FL- “Highly sensitive and specific.” That is how one of the men who helped develop the roadside drug test described the tool that is being used by police forces across the U.S. and Florida. Such tests help law enforcement officers bust 1.2 million Americans for possession of illegal drugs, but a new investigative report finds that too many of these commonly used roadside tests are resulting false positives, resulting in wrongful drug arrests and convictions.
In an in-depth investigation, journalists at ProPublica looked at these roadside drug tests that have been in use since the 70s to see how reliable the results are. But as it turns out, these drug tests aren’t all that reliable, and thousands of people in Florida find themselves facing wrongful drug possession charges based on these tests which have a proven record of inaccuracy.
ProPublica investigated records from police departments all over the U.S. including law enforcement agencies in Texas and Florida and found significant numbers of false positive results. In Florida, for instance, ProPublica found that 21 percent of drugs tests in Florida Department of Law Enforcement labs which tested positive for methamphetamine were not methamphetamine. Instead, at least half of those false-positives ended up not being drugs at all.Criminal defense attorney Michael Leader will give you the information you need to decide if you should agree to a plea bargain or choose to take your case to trial.
ProPupublica says these roadside drug tests are unreliable because they require each step to be done in the right order because any deviation can result in an inaccurate result. When a substance has been tested using one of these roadside kits, the chemicals in the test turn blue when an illicit drug is detected, but drugs aren’t the only substances that turn the test blue, many household cleaners, acne medicine and several dozens of other everyday household items can give false positive results. In the case of Florida law enforcement, ProPublica found that the directions on roadside drug tests were “somewhat ambiguous,” and some drug charges were the result of officers misunderstanding which colors represented a positive result.
Even though these drug tests are widely used in the field, the Department of Justice said these roadside drug tests could not be used as evidence in criminal trials. Even so, these tests are still used to secure thousands of wrongful drug convictions each year since many defendants, despite their innocence, agree to plea bargains, and courts accept them despite the accuracy issues of roadside drug tests.Don’t accept a plea bargain for a drug charged until you’ve consulted with a criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.
In light of ProPublica’s findings, USAttorneys urges you to speak with a criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale before you agree to a plea bargain for drug charges. Your drug possession offenses could be based on the false test results, and you could be pleading guilty to an undeserved charge.
There are many legal and personal ramifications of pleading guilty to a drug test. Even a simple arrest can have long-term, damaging effects on your job, personal life, and your job. If you have been charged with drug possession or other crime in Fort Lauderdale, we urge to contact the Law Office of Michael Leader to set up a consultation. Mr. Leader will use his vast knowledge of Florida’s criminal statutes to help you avoid a criminal conviction and all the troublesome consequences that go with it. You can set up a consultation today by calling 954-523-2020 or visiting the Leader & Leader website.