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Man's case shows the problems with preliminary drug tests

North Carolina residents can be charged with drug possession because of roadside tests that are performed by the police. As a recent case shows, however, those tests are not always accurate and may provide false positives.

A man in Florida was pulled over for allegedly committing a traffic violation in Orlando in December 2015. The man consented to a vehicle search, which led to an officer finding a substance that looked like drugs. The officer reportedly picked up a piece of donut glaze from the floor of the man's car and told him it was drugs. When he told her it was donut glaze, she performed a roadside test on the glaze. It tested positive for methamphetamine twice, and the man was arrested and spent 10 hours in jail.

After being charged with possession of methamphetamine by the prosecutor, the confirmation test came back weeks later showing that the substance was in fact donut glaze. The charges against him were subsequently dropped. He recently filed a lawsuit against the city and the company that manufacturers the roadside tests. In addition to seeking $15,000 in damages, the man said that he wants to get the faulty tests off of the streets so that no more innocent people are arrested.

Facing drug charges can be very frightening. When a person is accused of possessing drugs, he or she may face serious penalties. A criminal defense attorney who has experience defending against drug crime allegations may be able to help a client by challenging the testing that was performed. The lawyer may also be able to secure suppression of the evidence by making constitutional challenges.

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