New drug Breathalyzer technology being studied for use in NC

New drug Breathalyzer technology being studied for use in NC

Just as alcohol is proven to impair your ability to drive safely, certain prescription medications and illicit drugs have also been found to obstruct the ability to operate a vehicle in North Carolina. Known as drugged-driving, driving under the influence of drugs can lead to distorted vision, coordination and ultimately, accidents, injuries and deaths. This is true whether the drugs are legally prescribed by a physician or illegally obtained for recreational use. It is estimated that nearly 10.3 million people have admitted to driving while under the influence of mind-altering drugs during 2012, as reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Some experts are questioning this accuracy of this new technology, however, and demand that further studies be done before the drug Breathalyzer is used on motorists.

Breathalyzer for drugs

A new roadside Breathalyzer test that measures certain chemical levels in the breath of a motorist is currently being tested and could be released in the near future. During the study, scientists were able to successfully identify certain substances in the breath of patients who were being treated at an addiction clinic. The identified substances included alprazolam (Xanax), benzoylecgonine (byproduct of cocaine), methadone, amphetamine, methamphetamine, morphine, THC (marijuana), cocaine, buprenorphine, oxazepam (sedative) and diazepam (Valium). The device was able to detect drugs that were consumed within twenty-four hours of the test.

Studies comparing the drug content level in the blood and the drug content level found in breath samples are still being conducted. The study, published in the Journal of Breath Research must account for individual differences, including tolerance and genetic makeup.

Protecting your rights

It is crucial to understand your basic rights should you be stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Drive cautiously and obey all traffic laws.
  • Keep your driver’s license, insurance and registration in an easily accessible spot.
  • Always be polite and have respect for the officer. Being negative and belligerent may give the police officer reason to believe that you are intoxicated.
  • Plead the fifth. Use your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent if the police officer chooses to ask any incriminating questions, such as whether or not you’ve had anything to drink or are on any medications. You are not required to answer any questions.
  • Remember, that if you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test, you may be subject to the revocation of your license, as well as fines. If you do refuse to take the test, a reputable criminal law attorney can help you to navigate through your case.

Although you have been pulled over for a DUI, you are entitled to certain rights. An attorney who is experienced in North Carolina’s DUI laws may be able to help you challenge the charges that have been brought against you. If you have been convicted of a DUI and wish to challenge your conviction or you need representation to help fight DUI charges, be sure to contact a knowledgeable DUI attorney.

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