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A positive drug test isn’t always evidence of DUI

| Dec 23, 2020 | Drunk Driving

Some North Dakota drivers who are falsely charged for drugged driving have no drugs in their systems. Other drivers have been accused of taking illegal drugs even though the drugs that were in their system were legal prescription medications.

The different between drugged driving and impaired driving

If you have drugs in your system while you’re driving, you aren’t necessarily impaired. In fact, some prescription medications that people take actually enhance their driving abilities. It’s also possible that a person who is accustomed to taking a certain dosage of a prescription medication won’t be impaired by the drug like another person would be.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a driver may have tested positive for a drug that he or she took the day before. If a driver still has a negligible amount of a sleeping medication in his or her system, for example, the drug could show up on a drug test even though it is no longer affecting the driver’s cognitive abilities.

Drivers are not obligated to submit to a field sobriety test

Under North Dakota’s implied consent law, drivers in the state are assumed to have given consent to a chemical drug test. Refusing a breath, blood, urine or saliva test when asked to take one by a police officer could be used against a person in court. However, a field sobriety test is not subject to the same type of implied consent law.

Field sobriety tests are some of the most imperfect tools used by police officers. These tests are subjective and notoriously flawed because they fail to take into account the subject’s age, health, physical ability and stress level. You are not obligated to consent to a field sobriety test, and doing so could give a police officer more evidence to use against you in a DUI case.

What if I already tested positive for drugs and failed a field sobriety test?

It is very common for a nervous individual to fail a field sobriety test. You may have also tested positive for a prescription medication that you were not impaired by. If this is your situation, or you have a similar situation, a lawyer may be able to help you build a DUI defense.