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Faulty field drug tests

When one is arrested in Kentucky, law enforcement needs probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed in order to apprehend them. Otherwise, it is an illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. Recently, faulty field drug tests have led to convictions being overturned as false positives have meant illegal arrests.

The issue is the field test that officers use to test drugs. These are cheap chemical tests that officers have in their possession. It helps them determine whether a substance that a suspect is enough to establish probable cause because an illegal drug will cause a certain reaction when it is dropped into chemicals. However, this $2 test is proving to be unreliable as it has been shown to be overly sensitive to certain substances. In other words, the chemicals will indicate the presence of an illegal narcotic when the substance is perfectly legal.

When a suspect is arrested on the basis of this field test, it is actually an illegal arrest. In many cases, a suspect will plead guilty to a crime without trial when their arrest was illegal in the first place. The illegal arrest taints the conviction, and it requires that any conviction be overturned. This is exactly what happened in Nevada as a number of convictions were overturned and some charges were dropped due to faulty tests.

Those who have been arrested on the basis of these field tests can and should be questioning their effectiveness. If defendants can establish that there was no probable cause for their arrest, they can compel the state to drop charges. They should retain a criminal defense attorney to ensure that their legal rights are not violated during the course of criminal proceedings. The attorney may challenge the arrest as they seek to clear their client from the charges.

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