Archive for September, 2010

MI State Law – To Curb Drugged Driving, Michigan May Enact Roadside Testing

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Seeing flashing patrol lights behind you while driving is an unpleasant experience for any motorist to go through. If the law enforcement officials at the scene believe the driver is under the influence of alcohol, various sobriety tests will be administered to either confirm or disprove police suspicions. While any experienced DUI lawyers in Michigan can attest that this is fairly routine, it is increasingly more difficult to determine if a driver is intoxicated by other substances, such as illicit drugs.

Drugged driving is also illegal and grounds for arrest, but it is difficult for prosecutors to pin such charges on a person, as drug tests are not performed at the scene of a traffic stop. Generally, a person suspected of driving under the influence of drugs is taken into custody and required to undergo hospital-administered blood tests to find the results.

Noticing this problem, Michigan legislators are actively working to expedite the process. Last Wednesday, a bill was introduced that would authorize law enforcement officials to give suspected drugged drivers a roadside saliva test, much like breath tests administered for alcohol. If approved, Michigan police would be given a test kit that can detect up to six types of illicit drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

Currently, this same test kit is used by police to test parolees but is not approved for use by traffic cops. Supporters of the proposal believe that implementing the change would make the procedures less time consuming and costly, as search warrants and hospital blood tests slow the process considerably. Although Michigan would be the first state to enact such a measure, similar efforts have already been implemented in other countries, helping to nab drugged drivers abroad.

However, several people remain skeptical of the legislation and its effects. Many question the equipment itself, and whether it would actually help public safety or result in more traffic stops for less legitimate reasons. For example, roadside drug testing could allow police to arbitrarily apply the law, particularly against the several drivers on the road who are lawfully using doctor-prescribed medications.

As this recently introduced legislation could result in major changes affecting Michigan motorists, it is important for all citizens to closely watch its development. This is particularly true for those who are lawfully using doctor-prescribed medications, as a drugged driving arrest is no laughing matter. Not only could one lose their driving privileges, but it is also possible to face high fines and lengthy jail sentences as well. To protect yourself, it is essential to contact hard-working and knowledgeable Michigan DUI attorneys for assistance. Doing so quickly will provide the legal advice and legal representation needed to defend your rights, keeping you on the roads and out of police custody.