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New Test for Los Angeles Drug DUI: Voluntary Swab Test Could Cause Spike in Arrests

If you were arrested for a drug DUI in Los Angeles last year, you were in pretty rare company. Only 598 drug DUI cases came before the city attorney’s office in 2013. By comparison, during the 2012 winter holiday alone, there were nearly 600 DUI arrests.los-angeles-dui-drug-test.jpg

Those numbers may soon shift, thanks to local prosecutors, who want to use an oral swab test to look for evidence of marijuana and other drug use. According to Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, “traditionally, our officers focus on drunken driving cases… we are expanding drug collection aggressively, enforcing all impaired-driving laws.” According to a new Los Angeles Times story on the new drug DUI swab testing, the eight minute test of oral fluids can detect a surprisingly wide array of substances, including:

• Amphetamines;
• Methadone;
• THC (the active chemical component in marijuana);
• Benzodiazepine (Xanax);
• Methamphetamine;
• Cocaine;
• Narcotic analgesics.

Thus far, Los Angeles prosecutors have not used oral swabs as evidence in any case, but all indicators suggest that that hiatus will not last. Big questions remain, however, such as:

• Will the court accept the oral swabs as evidence?
• What can defendants do to attack prosecutorial arguments and evidence?
• Will this enhanced testing actually make Los Angeles roads safer?
• How accurate and precise are the tests, and what are the expected variations among different people in the population? For instance, it’s likely that a 300 pound diabetic male will metabolize certain drugs far differently than will a 82-year-old lean, athletic woman.

The point is that any time the prosecutor uses a test – be it a breathalyzer for DUI or a swab test for drug DUI – you need to examine that evidence in a broader context that considers both the arrest and the person’s physiology.

To develop an active defense against your Los Angeles DUI charges, look to the team here at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers for innovative, intelligent defense strategies.

Have you been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles? Are you under investigation for driving under the influence in Southern California? If so, contact attorney Michael Kraut by phone at (323) 464-6453 or online. We’re located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, California 90028.

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