Posted by David Welch | Mar 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

The San Diego Police Department has announced it is now using a device to detect the presence of marijuana and other drugs in drivers that they stop and suspect are impaired. According to the SDPD, they began using this device last weekend for St. Patrick's Day. This is the first time these types of machines have been used in San Diego and for now they will be utilized at DUI checkpoints


The “Draeger Drug Test 5000” machines cost about $6,000 each and are claimed to detect active levels of marijuana according to law enforcement. California police agencies are scrambling to find ways to curb the incidence of “impaired drugged driving” following the passage of Proposition 64 last November which legalized recreational use.


Supposedly an actual level of intoxication is not identified by this machine. The device is a preliminary device to detect the presence of drugs. A driver is given a swab which he or she is instructed to swab the inside of the mouth for several minutes. That swab is placed into the device which then purportedly identifies the presence of drugs.


So what are our rights as drivers? What is the science behind these machines? First, this device is clearly intrusive. As drivers, we only are obliged to submit to a breath or blood test if suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, and a blood test if suspected of impairment by drugs.


If an officer is “requesting” that you submit to this test, it is already a possibility that you will be arrested and that this test is just another method of stacking the odds against you. In a traffic stop or checkpoint, officers are not there to help you, they are there to arrest you if they suspect you of being impaired. What benefit is there in submitting to this test voluntarily? If the machine reads against you that the chances of you being arrested are nearly certain.


This drug machine, of course promoted as being very accurate by the manufacturer selling them for $6,000 a pop, is claimed to only look for active THC compounds in cannabis as opposed to inactive compounds. The fact is even with alcohol preliminary screening machines which have been used for years, an error in calibration and other issues can cause false readings.


The fact is that cannabis affects individuals differently. Frequent medical users with an active presence may not at all be impaired for the purposes of driving. Since the science is still incomplete, lawmakers have not set a numerical threshold at which all people are impaired, such as the .08% with alcohol.


As drivers, it becomes increasingly important to know our rights. My advice is to never drive with any amount of alcohol or drugs in your system. If you have been arrested, contact us immediately!


About the Author

David Welch

First and foremost, Attorney David Welch is an experienced litigator. With over two decades of experience handling hundreds of cases, he prides himself on his zealous representation of his clients. While most cases do not proceed to trial, his record of success enables him fearlessly advocate through negotiations or, if necessary, jury trial. Attorney Welch received his Bachelor's degree from San Diego State University and his Juris Doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law located in San Diego, California. Since 1995, he has developed an extensive background in criminal law as well as in civil litigation. He has handled hundreds of misdemeanor and felony cases ranging from DUI and juvenile matters to domestic violence, white collar crimes, sex crimes and violent crimes. His clients have included professionals such as nurses, doctors, teachers, military personnel in all branches of the US Military. David A. Welch is licensed to practice law in the State of California as well as the United States District Court. He has established a strong presence throughout Southern California Courts. Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice: California State Bar, 1995 American Bar Association, 1995 California Courts (Includes California Superior, Appeals and Supreme Courts), 1995 U.S. District Court, 1996 Professional & Bar Association Memberships State Bar of California DUI Defense Lawyers Association National College of DUI Defense Member Since: 2008 Litigation Percentage 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation Civil Litigation Personal Injury Corporate Law Criminal Defense


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