This new device is similar to a preliminary breath test given to those suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. However, this device is specifically designed to test for drugs in the system of drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs. Phillips has been developing a method of testing saliva at the roadside since 2001. The company believes the system will be available for shipment by the end of this year (2009).
Two things come to mind when thinking about such a device ending up in the hands of law enforcement. First, how reliable is this machine? A preliminary breath test is not considered all that reliable by the courts and is thus, inadmissible in trial against a criminal defendant and not a mandatory test, but rather one that a defendant can refuse to take without repercussion. Will this machine be treated the same way? Or will this device be considered scientifically reliable, and thus admissible in trial. If that latter is the case, then criminal defendant’s should be exceptionally worried about this device. If deemed to be a mandatory, reliable test, this test would be a very useful tool to law enforcement. It would allow law enforcement to get the information necessary to convict someone of driving under the influence of drugs, easily, quickly, and outside the presence of defense counsel. Secondly, how quickly will these devices end up in law enforcement’s hands. As a defense attorney, this is a very important thing to keep track of this issue so that if and when these devices are unleashed on the public our clients can be properly advised and this issue can be litigated properly in the courts.
While we hope you benefit from the information we posted above, it is important to note that we always suggest you contact an attorney to advise you and walk you through the legal process so that you can achieve the best possible result.