As discussed in the last blog post, a new type of drug test could use the chemical residue found in one’s fingerprint to identify whether a person has touched or ingested cocaine. While the reliability of this test on a large-scale is unknown, there are other issues that may arise if this test becomes available to law enforcement agencies. One issue the legal community must consider is probable cause, which is something defense attorneys are usually very interested in when a client is accused of a drug related crime.
Even if a portable test can detect drug use, this does not give authorities the right to administer this test to someone. Let’s say that an officer pulls a vehicle over and eventually asks a driver to submit to a breath test because the officer suspects intoxicated driving. If the vehicle was swerving between lanes erratically and the driver smells of alcohol and has bloodshot eyes when pulled over, this all might give the officer enough reason to ask for a blood test. When an officer has grounds to request a test, this is also known as probable cause. Before a portable drug testing procedure could be instituted, there would likely need to be a standard for what constitutes probable cause when administering the test.
When gathering evidence for drug related charges, a law enforcement agency usually needs probable cause when conducting a search or obtaining a warrant. A Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer might ensure there was probable cause when someone is charged, and an attorney could get a case dismissed if officers did not have the grounds to act.
Drug charges are serious, and there are many rules and variables that could influence a case. Contact us when suspected or accused of a crime so that we can start fighting for you.