Unlike alcohol, where the Intoxilyzer 9000 is used to show s person’s blood alcohol concentration, in Georgia, there are currently no tests authorized for the law enforcement to give to drivers that would actually prove impairment by drugs. As a result, much of the evidence used to show impairment will be based on the observations of the officer. This makes it important that a DUI drug attorney is contacted, as they can attempt to discredit the officer’s claim and demonstrate whether their was a lack of evidence. To learn more about Atlanta DUI drug tests, connect with an experienced attorney at our firm.
The only test that can be given to determine drug impairment in Atlanta is the field sobriety tests used by the police officer immediately prior to arrest. Blood and urine tests may also be used in certain cases to determine the presence of drugs in the driver’s system through fluid samples taken by a nurse or phlebotomist. However, these tests only detect the presence of certain drugs and metabolites and will not determine impairment.
Additionally, these tests can take a while to get back, as the Georgia Crime Lab typically runs on about a two month long backlog to get urine or blood results back.
The blood test is actually a very accurate test. The Georgia Crime Lab measures blood using GC/Mass Spectrum testing. However, the urine test is not very accurate. Although it uses a similar type of testing, the urine contains too many other substances and can be too diluted for accurate DUI drug testing.
The most common DUI drug cases in Atlanta are those involving marijuana. A close second would probably be Xanax and other types of prescription medications—Valium, Trazodone, Ativan, and other pain relievers. Hydrocodone and Oxycodone are also very common types of medicines that cause DUI.
Overall, there is a standard battery of eight types of families of medications that the blood test at the crime lab uses or looks for. These include not just illegal medications but also prescription and over-the-counter medicines as well.
Due to the increased liberalization of marijuana laws in Georgia, law enforcement has been anticipating an increased number of people driving under the influence of marijuana, and they are currently researching additional methods to detect impaired drivers. One of the methods under review is a saliva test that can be given by the officer on the side of the roadway to detect marijuana consumption.
Additionally, officers sometimes rely on legal tools like search warrants to obtain a blood test. Finally, the Georgia legislature is actually debating implementing a per se marijuana DUI law, which is being pushed by law enforcement and prosecutors.
State law allows a person to refuse to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test if arrested for DUI. However, the local police departments, especially in Gwinnett County and Cobb County, have started asking local judges for search warrants when a person refuses to take a drug test. So if someone refuses to take a breath or blood test, the officer can contact an on-duty judge, get a warrant, have them strapped down, and physically have a needle stuck into their arm to take blood by force.