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May 25, 2017 | admin DUI and the Mouth Swab Test
When you think about a driving under the influence charge, you might think of being accused of driving after drinking alcohol. However, even though a DUI for alcohol use might be the most common, drivers can also be charged with and convicted of a DUI for driving after using drugs. In fact, nowadays law enforcement agencies throughout California are becoming increasingly concerned about people driving after smoking or otherwise using marijuana, particularly now that the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized throughout the state. Because of this and other concerns, law enforcement agencies have been working on new ways of detecting drugs in drivers’ systems, such as the mouth swab test.
How Do Law Enforcement Agents Detect Drug Use for DUI Purposes?
There are a couple of different ways that police officers can detect the use of alcohol by someone who is behind the wheel. A blood test can be chosen, but in many cases, both drivers and law enforcement officers prefer a breath test. With this type of test, all a driver has to do is blow into a machine so that a law enforcement officer can determine whether or not he or she has been drinking and what his or her blood-alcohol level is.
In the past, however, determining if a driver has been using marijuana or other drugs has been much more difficult. A breathalyzer test does not work for drug use, so law enforcement officers had to have drivers submit to a blood test. With this type of test, it could take weeks before the law enforcement agency had the results back.
What is the Mouth Swab Test?
Nowadays, law enforcement agents are using portable mouth swab test systems to detect the presence of drugs in a driver’s system. So that the law enforcement officer can conduct the test, he or she will give the driver a mouth swab and ask him or her to rub it around the inside of his or her mouth for up to four minutes. Then, the officer will place the swab inside of a testing machine with a certain solution. In six to eight minutes, the officer will be provided with a printed copy of the results.
The test is designed to check for seven different types of drugs, including opiates, marijuana and cocaine. The mouth swab test cannot determine the levels of the drugs that were used, however; instead, it can only determine if there is any of the drug in the person’s system or not.
If the mouth swab test comes back positive, the law enforcement officer will then ask the driver to submit to a blood test. Unlike a mouth swab test, the driver cannot refuse to take a blood test once positive mouth swab tests have been found. If you refuse to take a blood test, the police can get a warrant that will require a forced draw of your blood for testing purposes. Additionally, you will be charged with both a DUI and with refusing to submit to a blood test, which actually requires mandatory jail time.
What Type of THC is Detected in These Tests?
If you use marijuana recreationally or for medical purposes, you might be concerned about failing one of these mouth swab tests due to having THC in your system, even if you aren’t “high.” However, you should know that these tests are designed so that they do not detect inactive THC components, so you should not have anything to worry about if you abstain from driving for several hours after consuming marijuana.