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Roadside drug tests lead to overturned convictions

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | Criminal Law

If you have been stopped by a Georgia police officer, and he or she suspects that you have an illegal narcotic in your possession, the substance will be subjected to a roadside test. Based on the results, there could be probable cause to arrest you. However, there have been numerous instances in which law enforcement has had to overturn convictions because these tests have proved to be defective.

Some roadside tests result in false positives

The roadside tests are very cheap and consist of chemicals into which the seized substance is dropped to determine its composition. The chemicals will change colors when mixed with an illegal narcotic. However, the test has proven to be faulty insofar as it results in false positives. Police only learn that after the fact as further testing is required to determine conclusively that the substance is drugs for purposes of the trial.

Convictions that were based on illegal arrests are overturned

If you have been arrested, it is a rarity that your case will actually proceed to trial. This is because, more often than not, you will accept a plea agreement before trial. However, when the basis for your arrest is a faulty roadside test, police have committed an illegal seizure that violates the constitution. The consequence of this is that any conviction that has been obtained based on an illegal arrest must be overturned. If you were arrested, and police used a roadside test, your attorney should go back and scrutinize the evidence.

Issues like this are why you need some help to navigate the criminal justice system. Your criminal law attorney could scrutinize both the evidence against you and the specifics of your arrest to see if the police acted improperly. If so, a lawyer could petition to the court to either drop the charges against you or overturn your conviction.