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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

New Michigan drug-testing law targets drivers

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be a common offense, but that doesn’t mean that the criminal justice system treats conviction lightly. Those convicted may face more harsh punishment than they may have expected, as law enforcement believes in using it as a deterrent.

However, there are instances where testing equipment has returned an inaccurate result, or there may have been an error in the booking process, which may be helpful for an accused person’s criminal defense. A new law here in Michigan that was recently implemented may have serious consequences for drivers, as it expands the ability of law enforcement to conduct roadside drug tests.

A one-year trial for new law

The law initially went into effect in a handful of counties in 2017. The law has recently been expanded to include the entire state. It will only be in effect for one year, at which time it will likely be reviewed and possibly made permanent.

The law allows state police to conduct roadside drug testing and requires them to generate a report of traffic stops, arrests and convictions that occurred under this law. Police can swab a driver’s mouth if they suspect someone is driving under the influence. The test can detect several different drugs, including marijuana and opiates.

Supporters of the law say it is an attempt to prevent drugged driving; they point out that police are only allowed to pull over drivers if they suspect impairment.

Critics worry that certain drugs, such as marijuana may be detectable in a test even after any effects have worn off.

Unintended consequences

Though this law is well-intentioned, it may unfairly punish some people. Those convicted could end up in jail or even have their license revoked, both of which can have serious detrimental effects on a person’s employment opportunities.

Anyone facing OWI or DWI charges will want to consider the best strategy for criminal defense, which may include utilizing an attorney here in Michigan who focuses on this area of the law.