Roswell Alpharetta: Challenging Urine Tests

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If you were arrested for DUI in Roswell Alpharetta and your urine was tested to determine your impairment, you must speak with a Roswell Alpharetta DUI attorney as soon as possible. Compared to other types of chemical testing like blood and breath tests, urine tests are the least reliable method for determining a driver's sobriety. Usually, when law enforcement suspects you are under the influence of drugs as opposed to alcohol, they will test your urine because a traditional breathalyzer will not detect drug impairment.

If law enforcement requests a sample of your urine, this is generally because you are not showing other signs of impairment - which is a credit to your case - and they will need more evidence to convict you. Not only are urine tests the least reliable form of determining impairment by alcohol, it is also entirely possible to challenge urine test results in a Roswell-Alpharetta court. The science behind this type of testing is not foolproof, and human error can ultimately skew the results. An experienced Roswell Alpharetta DUI attorney will have a number of legal strategies to challenge your DUI urine test result in Roswell-Alpharetta. It is critical that you waste no time in contacting a skilled legal representative to handle your Roswell Alpharetta DUI case.

When Are Urine Tests Used in Roswell Alpharetta?

Any driver who is suspected of driving under the influence (with probable cause) will be asked to give a sample of blood, breath or urine. Under Georgia law, all drivers have already consented to have their blood, breath or urine tested because they were operating a vehicle, and such consent is a condition of the privilege to drive. This is called the doctrine of Implied Consent, and police will read DUI suspects an implied consent card which explains this provision upon arrest. Suspects are allowed to request additional blood, breath or urine tests by independent professionals, and the police must accommodate this request by law.

If there are signs of a "traditional" DUI, such as slurred speech and the odor of alcohol, police will usually ask the suspect to blow into the breathalyzer after conducting field sobriety tests. Breathalyzers are considered a reliable method of determining impairment by alcohol, although they can make mistakes. Breathalyzers cannot, however, detect impairment by drugs. If a suspect's breathalyzer reading does not indicate that he or she is impaired by alcohol, police may suspect drug use and want to conduct a urine test. Blood tests are the more common alternative to breath tests, but urine tests are sometimes still conducted if the arresting officer sees fit. If a suspect is impaired by either illegal or prescription drugs, he or she may be charged with DUI Drugs in Roswell-Alpharetta.

The Georgia Code, Motor Vehicles & Traffic Title 40 § 40-6-391 states:

It is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive... [A person is unfit to drive if] there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance...present in the person's blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the persons breath or blood.

This means that a suspect can be charged and possibly convicted if there is any amount of marijuana, illegal drugs, prescription drugs or the metabolites of these substances present in a person's urine alone. Even if a blood and breath sample does not show the presence of an illegal substance, a person can be charged based solely on urine test evidence. This is why it is so critical to contact a Roswell Alpharetta DUI attorney and protect your rights after being charged.

The Problems with Urine Testing

Urine tests are misleading, especially if the suspect consumed even a small amount of alcohol prior to testing. Alcohol can show up in the urine as late as two hours after it was consumed. This can considerably skew the test result, depending on when the person's urine is tested. The amount of alcohol present in urine can be as much as 1.33 times greater than the amount of alcohol in their bloodstream (which represents their actual impairment, if any). This interferes with urine tests' primary function, which is to determine the presence of drugs.

If there is any amount of drugs or alcohol in a person's system, the next question that police are concerned with is whether or not the person was able to operate the vehicle safely. Police need to determine the the concentration of drugs or alcohol, to know if it interfered with the person's ability to drive. Interference by alcohol is far easier to determine because there is a nationally accepted legal limit of .08. Exceeding this limit is considered unsafe for a person to drive.

Drugs present a challenge in this respect. There is no universally accepted limit for drugs. Furthermore, there are many different types of drugs with wildly different effects on the human body, all of which may reasonably interfere with safe driving. As a result, law enforcement has almost no standard of comparison when evaluating the presence of drugs in a person's urine. The question becomes: how much was enough to interfere with safe driving? With no scientifically established standard, every DUI drug case becomes in some ways subjective. This means there is more wiggle room for law enforcement to find you guilty, but also more wiggle room for your attorney to defend the charges.

How to Challenge a Urine Test

There are a number of ways for a Roswell Alpharetta DUI attorney to challenge a urine test in your DUI case. Because DUI drug charges and urine testing have both become more common, attorneys have begun to scrutinize their methods and procedures, hunting for vulnerabilities. A lawyer can question the chain of custody of the sample, argue that it was incorrectly handled, mixed up, tampered with or improperly collected. Because it can take two hours for alcohol to present in urine, the lawyer can argue that a test returned inflated alcohol concentration results, because of the timing of collection.

Roswell Alpharetta DUI Attorney

Chemical testing is not the final word on the matter of a DUI. Mistakes are common, and the ability of urine tests to determine drug impairment is minimal at best. If you have been charged with DUI in Roswell Alpharetta, it is critical that you contact a Roswell Alpharetta DUI lawyer today online or call at 404-816-4440.

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