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How Field Drug Tests Lead to Wrongful Arrests


Don’t Take “Positive” for an Answer

NarcoPouch tests are presumptive field drug tests that police officers rely on to establish probable cause for arrests. Officers must establish probable cause before administering field drug tests, but it could simply be a suspect swerving out of a lane, driving 5 mph below the posted speed limit or failing to yield. Suspects must be aware of the fact that NarcoPouch tests have been linked to countless wrongful drug convictions throughout the United States, and there seems to be no end in sight.

You can think of these tests as “mini drug tests” that police officers carry around with them wherever they go. It seems like an effective idea to save time and money by identifying drugs without first submitting them for a crime lab analysis, but unfortunately, it results in false positive drug test results. Thus, if a police officer pulls you over, tests your “drugs” using a NarcoPouch and learns that the substances were illegal, you could get charged with drug possession and deal with a host of issues as a result.

How It Works

NarcoPouch tests are popular for their convenience and rapid screening of illicit substances. They contain pre-mixed solvent and reagent chemicals that are intended to produce a certain color when mixed with certain drugs. An officer puts a sample of the “illegal” substance into the NarcoPouch and awaits the chemical reaction. The reaction will produce a color change, which the officer is responsible for interpreting. When added to NarcoPouches, illegal drugs produce different colors depending on what they are, if anything.

Where the Problem Lies

Human error: Police officers must be trained in field drug test procedures and administration as well as have thorough knowledge of interpreting the field drug test results. If an officer pulls someone over on suspicion of drug crimes but does not have comprehensive training in NarcoPouch tests, they may charge a suspect based on the slight possibility that their drugs were “illegal.”

Inconclusiveness: In several incidents, including experiments, NarcoPouch tests were used to screen plant and household products. They not only tested positive for marijuana but also peppermint, vanilla, cinnamon leaf, lemongrass, soaps, perfumes, cologne and more. Thus, it’s fair to assert that NarcoPouch tests work proficiently in regard to identifying illicit drugs, however, they also identify legal substances and are thus inconclusive altogether. This flaw could cause officers to arrest a suspect for possessing liquid soap or even tea.

External factors: Since NarcoPouch tests are chemical tests, external factors like warm and cold climates could interfere with the test process and results. Cold and warm climates are both significant in the reaction phase of the testing process, as colder climates may slow the reaction while warm climates may speed it up. Further, if NarcoPouch tests are not stored properly or unused for several years, the solvents and reagents may be compromised. If a police officer is not mindful of these considerations, then a suspect may end up in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.

Challenging Your Charges & Scrutinizing your Drug Test Results

Derek A. Adame, Attorney at Law is committed to achieving justice on behalf of every client we represent. Texas is harsh on prosecuting drug crimes, as it is among the strictest states against illicit substances. However, our Denton drug crime defense attorney will examine every detail of your charges, beginning from the moment you interacted with the arresting officer, to ensure the police didn’t make any costly mistakes that influenced your charges.

Count on us to champion your freedom every step of the way. Get started on fighting your charges today by contacting us at (940) 591 - 0005.

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