CSP Trying Out New Marijuana DUI Testing Devices on Motorists

February 8, 2016

CSP Trying Out New Marijuana DUI Testing Devices on Motorists

CSP Trying Out New Marijuana DUI Testing Devices on Motorists

For the first time ever, law enforcement officials in Colorado may have a way of evaluating drivers’ suspected marijuana impairment using new field testing devices. These devices reportedly test a sample of saliva for the presence of THC and other drugs.

Unlike blood tests, which had previously been the only method of assessing motorists’ drug impairment, the saliva tests would:

  • Provide immediate results in the field, potentially serving as more viable probable cause to make a DUI arrest
  • Be more accurate than blood tests, which may detect trace amounts of THC from days ago (rather than from immediately prior to driving).

According to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), about 125 of these devices are now being used by troopers, who will reportedly continue to test these devices in the field for the next two years.

Commenting on the potential impacts of these devices, CSP Major Steve Garcia has explained that:

It would be nice to have that additional evidence on the side of the road… It would confirm or deny the officer’s investigation that the suspect would be under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.

How the Marijuana Saliva Testing Devices Work

During a DUI stop, a marijuana saliva test would only be administered to drivers who have consented to this testing (and unlike with BAC testing for alcohol DUI stops, there are not currently any automatic penalties for refusing marijuana saliva testing).

When drivers do consent to this testing, the inside of their cheeks will be swabbed to obtain a saliva sample. The device then analyzes the sample for the presence of various drugs, including marijuana, providing a print out of the results after about 5 minutes.

To date, the marijuana saliva tests have reportedly been used 82 times by CSP troopers in Colorado. The results of these tests, however, have yet to be presented as evidence in a DUI court case.

Additional Marijuana DUI Testing Devices May Be Available Soon

As CSP troopers continue to test the saliva marijuana DUI devices, additional testing devices are being developed by some companies, thanks to state funding. One of these devices is a marijuana breathalyzer that would reportedly provide “instantaneous” feedback to officers.

A potential drawback of the marijuana breathalyzers, however, may lie in the fact that these devices can reportedly only detect the presence of THC when it has been smoked (versus when it has been consumed via edibles).

What do you think about these new marijuana testing devices? Share your opinions and comments with us on Facebook & Google+.

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To receive a complete evaluation of your case, along with professional advice regarding your best options, contact us by calling (303) 280-1070 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.

Categories: DUI, DUI News, Marijuana & Drug DUIs