Enforcement officers have expressed concern that the legality of the recreational use of marijuana in neighboring states will result in more drug crimes here in North Dakota. One particular concern: drugged driving.
To address this potential issue, some enforcement officers are piloting a new program using a test to check for the presence of marijuana.
How does the test work?
The test is like a breathalyzer but with some notable differences. While the breathalyzer requires a breath sample and results in a quantitative reading, a number to get an idea of just how much alcohol is in the driver’s system, the marijuana test is a simple positive or negative. It is important to note that this may not provide enough data to know if the presence of marijuana is enough to influence the driver.
Enforcement officers use the machine by asking the driver to provide a sample of their saliva. The officer puts the sample into a mobile machine, which takes about five minutes to test the sample and provide a reading of detected drugs. In addition to marijuana, the device can also detect meth, cocaine, and prescription medications.
Do I have to take this test?
Currently, use of the test is by consent only. At this time, officers cannot require drivers to take the test or have repercussions for a failure to take the test. However, it is important to note that some lawmakers believe the use of this device would be beneficial. There is potential that the state could pass a law allowing officers to use the devices in the future like they currently use breathalyzers.
What if I am accused of a drug crime?
These allegations are serious and can come with fines as well as potential imprisonment. It is important to take the allegations seriously. An attorney experienced in these types of charges can review the situation and discuss various defense strategies, helping tailor one to your situation.