Drug Charges Could Hinge on Faulty Field Tests
July 18, 2016
When we take a test, whether it’s a blood test or an exam in school, we expect to receive results that tell us we are positive or negative, right or wrong. These results can be critical in what we know and what we do with that information, and we often don’t think that the integrity of the test could be compromised from the get-go.
However, there are situations in which the test administered is faulty which calls the results into question. After all, if the test is flawed, how can we be sure the results will be right? This is the very question people are asking after it was revealed that field tests used to test suspected drug materials are inaccurate and often unreliable.
According to reports like this one in The New York Times, field tests are used routinely by police in situations like traffic stops when officers believe they have found illicit substances. They can use chemical test kits right there by exposing the material to a specific chemical process and then watching for reactions that confirm the material is a drug like cocaine or methamphetamine.
However, the tests and the results are far from perfect. In some cases, including some right here in Florida, false positives were recorded when the tests were performed improperly or when a sample became contaminated. In other cases, the officer misinterpreted the results. There are also many limitations of the test that can affect their accuracy.
With all this in mind, we want to remind readers of how critical it can be to consult an attorney if and when you are arrested and/or charged with a drug offense like possession. Even if police say their field tests prove that you had an illegal substance in your car, your home or your pocket, you have the right to defend yourself and challenge the so-called evidence against you.
Before you agree to a plea deal or make any type of statement to the police, it can be crucial that you consult an attorney. With legal guidance, you can protect yourself, your rights and your future.