The First Marijuana Breathalyzer Test Could be Arriving Soon
When someone is pulled over for suspected driving under the influence, a breath test is almost always expected to determine what the driver’s blood alcohol content may be. And these devices tend to be fairly accurate.
However, when it comes to detecting levels of drugs, specifically marijuana, in the driver’s system, these tests are not always trustworthy.
Blood tests may be able to detect the drug, but these results can be tricky since it can be hard to say whether the driver was actually currently high or whether the marijuana detected in the blood test was residual from prior marijuana use that did not affect the person’s driving.
New Device Able to Detect Marijuana
That fact may change soon with new technology which will be able to accurately detect marijuana in a driver’s system.
This new technology has been developed by Hound Labs. It is about the size of a cell phone and can possibly assess the user’s level of intoxication due to marijuana use. The device works much like a breath test. The driver breaths into a tube that is hooked to the device, and it detects whether the subject has smoked marijuana in the previous two hours.
The test will also detect alcohol, as well, which can help kill two birds with one stone when it comes to determining if the driver was impaired.
While the State of Nevada allows for the use of marijuana for medical or recreational reasons, this does not mean that marijuana can be used to the extent that it would make operating a vehicle unsafe, which makes this latest breakthrough in technology important.
For the time being, police officers have been using field sobriety tests to determine if the driver was impaired from marijuana, but these tests can be very unreliable if the officer does not administer them properly.
Like a DUI charge from alcohol consumption, a driver arrested for driving under the influence can and likely will try to fight the field sobriety test results due to this unreliability.
Further, marijuana is unique in that the drug can still be detected in the person’s system for days after use. This new technology can determine that the marijuana use was recent in relation to when the driver got behind the wheel, which can lead to an arrest.
Nine states have made recreational use of marijuana legal, including Nevada, and it has been approved for medicinal use in 31 states. Other states are currently considering recreational use and have them on ballots for upcoming elections.
Law enforcement officers have become concerned that legalizing marijuana will allow individuals to abuse the substance and get behind the wheel, only to cause an accident or even death. Like alcohol, consuming marijuana is fine to a reasonable level, but the user should not be careless afterwards, putting his or her life or the lives of others in danger by getting behind the wheel.
How Could This Device Impact DUI Cases?
This device could become an almost necessity in detecting marijuana impaired driving in the future and hopefully deter others from getting behind the wheel after consuming marijuana.
It is not known at this point when this device will become a commonplace resource for law enforcement officers in Nevada or other states. Understandably, these states will have to vet the devices and see if they will truly be a useful to their force. But if these tests show this to be the case, it could open the door to preventing injuries or deaths due to impaired driving from marijuana use.
Of course, DUI attorneys will also need to figure out how these devices work and whether they can likewise be reliable in their clients’ cases. Improper administration of a field sobriety test has been a common defense for impaired or intoxicated driving charges.
If someone has been pulled over and arrested under suspicion of driving while under the influence of marijuana, alcohol or other substance, it is recommended that he or she contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin preparing a proper defense.
If a field sobriety test or breath test was used in the arrest, the results may be able to be fought, depending on the circumstances of the arrest and how the testing was administered.
Contact Us Today!
If you have been arrested for a DUI while visiting Nevada, it is important you contact the Hill Firm today. We can meet with you to discuss your rights and all potential legal consequences from your arrest. Contact us today at (702) 848-5000.