The Los Angeles Police Department recently announced that they would start using oral swab drug test kits at DUI checkpoints to determine whether drivers consumed drugs such as marijuana prior to driving. The test kits will alert police to the presence of THC in the driver’s system. In LA, as in Delaware, it is illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
This article on the website for 89.3 KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, indicates that in California, the mouth swab drug testing is voluntary: http://www.scpr.org/news/2013/12/27/41219/la-dui-checkpoints-will-expand-testing-of-drug-imp/.
Of course, the article also states that fifty people have “volunteered” to have the test performed, but in none of those cases did the Court hear a challenge to the evidence because all fifty defendants pleaded guilty. One has to wonder how voluntary the drug testing was – did the police tell these drivers that if they didn’t voluntarily take the test, they would sit and wait for hours while the officer obtained a warrant, then face a hostile recommendation for a high bail in front of the judge because they were not cooperative? I’m not saying the police did anything wrong. It just seems strange that fifty people would “volunteer” to give a drug test when pulled over at a checkpoint when there was no reason not to refuse.
In any event, I wonder how long it will take for other states such as Delaware to follow this practice and start testing people at DUI checkpoints for drugs in addition to alcohol. I wonder what those of you in the community think. Should the police in Delaware start testing for marijuana and other drugs at DUI checkpoints? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your comments on our facebook page at facebook.com/schwartzandschwartz and let me know what you think.
James M. “Matt” Stiller, Jr. is the Delaware DUI Defender. He handles Driving Under the Influence cases in all Delaware Courts, including those in New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County. Matt is available for a free consultation in DUI, traffic and other types of criminal cases. Submit an online inquiry through this website if you would like to speak to Matt about your case.