Police from a dozen agencies will use handheld devices to test drivers’ saliva for use of several drugs under a pilot program in five Michigan counties.

Roadside drug tests to check for marijuana, cocaine, opiates and more

A Michigan State Police Trooper makes a traffic stop. Police in Michigan will begin testing drivers' saliva for the presence of drugs during a pilot program in five counties that begins Nov. 8.

By Brad Devereaux

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Police from a dozen agencies will use handheld devices to test drivers’ saliva for use of several drugs under a pilot program in five Michigan counties.

The Michigan State Police announced Thursday, Nov. 2, it will carry out a one-year roadside drug testing pilot program in Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. It will begin Wednesday, Nov. 8.

The Alere DDS2 oral fluid test instrument will be used to measure for the presence of drugs in drivers’ saliva, Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said. The device will record results based on threshold limits set by the manufacturer and test for six substances: amphetamine, benzodiazepines, marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine and opiates.

Banner said it should be noted that threshold levels for saliva are different than that of blood.

Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), officers with advanced training in the assessment of alcohol and drug impairment, will carry the devices, MSP said. DREs only will administer an oral fluid test under the pilot program, Banner said.

The drug test will take place roadside, like alcohol preliminary breath test (PBT).

Refusing the oral fluid swab test, a preliminary test, will result in a civil infraction, just like an alcohol PBT, Banner said.

Kent, Washtenaw among 5 counties selected for roadside drug testing

Kent, Washtenaw among 5 counties selected for roadside drug testing

The pilot program will begin next week on Nov. 8, MSP said.

DREs will continue to take blood draws as part of standard procedure in addition to saliva tests, Banner said.

“Drug Recognition Experts will continue to follow the same policies and procedures for investigating a person they believe to be operating a vehicle while impaired on a controlled substance. The only difference in the pilot counties will be if the DRE determines a motorist is impaired on drugs, they will ask the person to submit to an oral fluid test,” Banner said.

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Lawyer Argues Police Have No Right To Stop You At DUI Checkpoints

no-searches

 

Have you ever been pulled over at a DUI police check point? Even if you were not drinking, or perhaps aren’t even a drinker, these checkpoints fill many drivers with anxiety, as police officers scour cars they pull over for anything amiss.

Most of the tickets given out at these checkpoints are for seatbelt violations or other things not related at all to drunk driving and DUIs. If you have nothing to hide, waiting in line for these checkpoints is at best a time-consuming nuisance that might make you late for work or dinner.

But now, a bold lawyer is arguing that these checkpoints are not only unconstitutional, but that police do not have legal grounds to do anything but tell you to drive on if you present your drivers license at the window – with the window rolled up – and a sign that tells them you do not consent to a search, that you have no comment and that you want your lawyer.

Warren Redlich is a South Florida attorney, but he says this holds true everywhere.

Redlich explains that his goal is not to protect drunken drivers, but to instead inform innocent people about their rights to not be presumed innocent and illegally detained without probable cause.

Some clients, he explained, have never had a drop of alcohol, but if they rub police officers the wrong way, then they are slapped with DUI charges, because the officer claims he could “smell alcohol” on them or that their speech was “slurred.” It’s then up to them to prove their innocence in court.

“The point of the card is, you are affirmatively asserting your rights without having to speak to the police and without opening your window,” Redlich explained.

But Sheriff David Shoar of St. Johns County, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association says that “they wouldn’t be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us. We have a legitimate right to do it. If I was out there, I wouldn’t wave them through. I want to talk to that person more now.”

One video from December 31 at a Levy County, Florida checkpoint, shows Redlich’s associate Jeff Gray with the flyer that his attorney suggested, along with his license, registration and insurance card, all in a plastic bag dangling outside barely cracked car window. The officers examine the contents, then waive him on.

The flyer boldly states: “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer.”

“I’m not anti-cop. I’m anti-bad government and anti-bad cop. I support good cops,” Redlich said. “I would like if police didn’t waste their time with something like checkpoints and would focus their attention on violent crime.”

Have you tried this at a checkpoint before? Let us know what happened.

(Article by Reagan Ali)

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