Can You Be Arrested for Driving High, Even if You’re Sober?
There are more than 250 police officers in the state of Georgia currently on the job who have been trained in drug detection. Because there is no reliable test to help determine if someone is operating a vehicle under the influence of an illegal narcotic, agencies are relying on these trained “drug recognition experts” to do the job. The problem? People make mistakes.
A recent report by a news station in Atlanta tells of drugged driving arrests being on the rise, undoubtedly due to these experts. Unfortunately, with all of the drugged driving arrests that are being made, there are bound to be false arrests. It leads to the question of: Is it possible to be arrested for being high when driving, even when you aren’t? The answer to that question is that yes, it can and does happen.
The news station spoke with three such individuals, all of whom were arrested by a single Cobb County officer. That officer received a silver medal in 2016 for racking up 90 DUI arrests while on duty. One individual stated to reporters that she told the officer she hadn’t been drinking. She passed tests and was asked when she had smoked marijuana last. She told the officer that she never had and was willing to take a drug test. Despite this, the officer indicated that the woman was giving several indicators of being under the influence of marijuana and placed her under arrest.
After being released, the woman secured her own drug test and passed. She filed a complaint with the department and was told that test results come back with false negatives frequently. They ultimately sided with their officer. The department declined to allow reporters to speak with the officer in question, but backed him, saying that their experts were more reliable than physical tests.
The officer has since been promoted, with supervisors citing his record of DUI arrests as a positive for the department. He was called the department’s “go-to officer” when it comes to making DUI-drug arrests for the county. While this may bode well for the officer, it does little to comfort citizens who now may have to worry about being falsely accused of drugged driving.
The Most Reliable Method?
While there may be no physical tests that are 100% reliable when it comes to determining if a person is operating their vehicle while high, relying on the observations of police officers may not be the way to go. Whether or not this type of drug detection remains legal or constitutional is up in the air. For now, the county will continue to rely on these “expert” drug detectors.
If you have been arrested for drunk or drugged driving in Atlanta or the surrounding area, wrongfully or otherwise, reach out to our team of expert defense attorneys. We will talk with you at no cost about your charges and help you determine the best next steps. Reach out to our team today to schedule your free case evaluation.