Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.

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The dangers of false drug tests

Illinois truck drivers may benefit from keeping any baking soda or similar-looking substances in sealed containers if they plan to transport large quantities. Two truckers were arrested and jailed after a significant misunderstanding with military authorities. One of the drivers had purchased bags of baking soda for personal use, and when they requested entrance to Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, they were stopped and searched by guards.

It is common for law enforcement officials to use cheap quick-ID testing kits to check for illicit substances. These kits may be used on routine traffic stops, especially if the stopped vehicle is carrying substances that are not easily identified on sight. The truckers were imprisoned for two months and had their truck impounded after multiple quick-ID tests returned positive results for cocaine.

It took two months for the truckers to have their drug charges dropped. The tests that were used to analyze the baking soda are known for giving false-positive results, yet many law enforcement officials continue to use them. Once the baking soda was analyzed in more advanced laboratory tests, the truckers were freed. However, they were unable to obtain their truck for another couple of months, which made it difficult for them to return to regular work. This is far from an isolated case as the same quick-ID tests have also been known to show false-positive results for meth and other amphetamines. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 21 percent of tests its laboratories ran yielded false-positive results for meth.

People who have been handed drug possession charges that are based upon false tests may think that they can easily combat the allegations on their own. However, they would be wise to have the assistance of a criminal defense attorney who has experience in handling these types of cases so that no inadvertent mistakes are made.

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