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False positives from field drug tests

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2021 | Drug Charges |

When a driver in Oswego, New York, show signs of being impaired, the police may pull them over for drug testing. Drugged driving poses a danger to the public, so states implement these measures to combat it. However, studies show that many drug tests are unreliable, which lands some innocent drivers in jail.

Types of drug tests

A mouth swab, or saliva test, is a common test that officers use to detect cannabis, meth and ecstasy. Some officers prefer them to urine tests because they are simple to perform. The officer inserts a swab with a sponge in the mouth to collect saliva.

The Scott test attempts to detect drugs using a colormetric method to identify cocaine. It involves three steps that add an ingredient for each step and check for a certain color to appear in a mixture. The most common field test for alcohol impairment is a Breathalyzer, which measures blood alcohol content using a breath sample.

Fighting inaccurate field drug tests

One way to fight criminal charges from false positives in court is expert testing from toxicology experts. The methods that experts use more accurately identify the substance than field tests. Though the defendant must pay for the test themselves, they get results faster.

Many medications, everyday products, and hygiene products often cause false positives. These include:

  • Sleep aids
  • Mouthwash
  • Diet pills
  • Cough medicine
  • Antidepressants
  • Poppy seeds
  • Antibiotics
  • Large amounts of tonic water

The defendant could ask their pharmacist or doctor what products they use are likely to give false positives. They should ask the pharmacist or doctor to send a written statement to the test lab.

A drug conviction carries stiff penalties that can follow a person around a long time. However, a defendant has rights under the law to fight the charges.