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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
In drug-related DWI cases, authorities may have difficulty proving impairment. Unlike alcohol-DWIs, there is no breathalyzer score or other number indicating a person is intoxicated. This presents an opportunity for a skilled criminal defense attorney to challenge the evidence from Midland DWI drug tests.
If you were arrested for a driving while intoxicated by drugs, do not risk appearing in court alone. An experienced DWI attorney could craft a defense strategy and fight for a positive resolution to your case.
Tests for Drug Impairment
The tests officers use to detect drug impairment are the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), a series of three tasks that evaluate balance, coordination, and the ability to do more than one task at a time. These tests are:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
- One-Leg Stand
Generally, blood tests are the most accurate means of measuring the amount of alcohol or drugs in a person’s body. Normally, blood tests are given at a hospital. Sometimes, officers need a warrant to get a blood sample. If they obtain a warrant, they can use all reasonable means necessary to extract the blood from the individual. It is usually done by a registered nurse or someone with the appropriate qualifications to extract blood from an individual’s body.
A person has a right as a citizen of the United States to refuse all tests. Refusing a test is not an admission of guilt. The person has the right to refuse to answer any questions the officer asks about where they are going or coming from. They can refuse to take the Standard Field Sobriety Tests without being considered guilty.
Errors in Test Results
Many factors might lead to a bad result on a test, not just an impairment or an intoxication due to alcohol or drugs. Blood samples that are not properly preserved and sit around for a length of time before being analyzed will coagulate or decompose, which can lead to a false high reading. Another way these tests may be wrong is that most laboratories that analyze blood or urine run numerous samples every day, and the different parts of the analyses are carried out in different bottles and beakers. This can lead to errors in some samples, particularly if the laboratory does not follow proper record-keeping and organizational procedures.
Prosecution’s Burden of Proof
In a drug case, even if a test comes back positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, or opiates, the test does not show intoxication. There is no case law nor any expert who can testify that the number indicating the amount of a specific drug in the system means anything. What the prosecution has to prove is that because someone was impaired on a drug, they lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties.
The defense has an opportunity to examine the test results. They can get experts to examine the specimen if it is done in a timely manner. If it is not, experts may be called into court to testify how and why the process was done incorrectly and how that compromised the results.
One of the most common strategies used in a legal defense for a person accused of being impaired by drugs while driving is starting with the stop. Was there a valid legal stop? Another strategy is identifying whether the substance is a legally prescribed drug. When that is the case, the attorney gets proof and supporting information about the prescription from the client’s physician. A person’s medical history could come into play in that situation.
Contact a Midland DWI Attorney
If you were accused of driving while impaired by drugs, contact an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney could challenge Midland DWI drug tests and work to minimize the evidence against you. Call today to schedule a consultation and begin building a defense.