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Researchers work to create roadside pot-breath test machine

With the relaxed laws on recreational marijuana use in Colorado the prospect of being accused of driving under the influence of marijuana seem to be on the rise. In Colorado, state law allows prosecutors to seek DUID charges based upon a chemical test showing five or more nanograms of THC present in the driver’s blood.

Researchers are now working on technology to create a roadside breath testing machine that they believe will be able to recognize the presence of THC. A chemistry professor in Washington believes that technologies used by U.S. customs agents in airports and border checkpoint stations that are currently used to detect drugs and explosives can be modified test a driver’s breath for the presence of THC. The theory, at least at this point, recognizes that the breath testing machine likely will not be able to reliably measure any specific level of THC in a roadside test.

That raises a frightening prospect. Drivers who are not breaking the law could be subjected to increased scrutiny based upon a test that purports to detect any amount of THC -- even if the actual level is a mere trace well below Colorado’s standard. The pot Breathalyzer-type roadside machine is still in its fledgling stages of development – based upon a theory. The researchers hope to have a prototype sometime later this month to begin human testing in 2015.

DUI cases in Colorado are frequently infused with scientific analysis. Breath and blood testing procedures are not infallible. If you have been accused of DUI, DUID or DWAI in Colorado, a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who has knowledge of the chemical testing protocol may review the procedures used to protect your rights.

Source: The News Tribune, “Breath test to detect pot is being developed at WSU,” Melissa Santos, Nov. 28, 2014

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