DUI Drug Tests in Anne Arundel County
The chemical tests for drug impairment in Anne Arundel County are blood tests. Maryland does not generally use urine for any purpose for drug testing. The DUI drug testing protocol in Maryland requires that the individual submit to a blood test. The blood test is administered by a phlebotomist, a person who has special training in how to draw blood. The test is analyzed by the police lab or they sometimes subcontract the analysis to various other forensic laboratories.
The kinds of drugs most commonly implicated in DUI cases really do vary. There are times where there are a lot of prescription drug violations. There are other times when illegal drug DUI cases such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine tend to be more prevalent than marijuana impairment cases. This is because impairment from those drugs is significantly more obvious than marijuana impairment.
It can take weeks up to a month or two to get the test results back from a laboratory. Sometimes there is a significant delay between the officer writing the charge and the state having the actual evidence of impairment.
The tests—which are blood tests—are not necessarily specific to alcohol or illegal drugs. They pick up anything the individuals consumed such as allergy medications or prescribed or over the counter medications. Anything in someone’s blood is potentially going to be picked up by the blood test the officer requests during an arrest for suspicion of a DUI.
Refusing Chemical Drug Tests
A person can refuse to take the chemical tests. The penalties for refusal to submit to blood test are the same as the penalties for refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test for an alcohol DUI.
Specifically, for a first offense the penalty for refusal is 270 days hard suspension of the person’s driver’s license. That means absolutely no driving at all. No driving to work, to school, to alcohol treatment programs, or to court.
The only opportunity to modify that type of suspension is participation in the MVAs Ignition Interlock program for a period of one year. Instead of going for 4 months with absolutely no driving, the individual has the opportunity to install the ignition interlock device in their vehicle. They operate a vehicle equipped with ignition interlock device for a period of one year rather than the 4 months they have to spend without driving. Finally, a penalty for second or subsequent refusal is one year with no driving or participation in the ignition interlock program.
Accuracy of Drug Tests and Weight as Evidence
There are potential errors in every single step of the blood tests including collection, storage, and transportation of the sample. Sometimes there are errors in terms of identifying the person who provided the sample. The state may not be able to prove that the blood drawn from a suspected driver is the blood that was actually tested.
Other situations may include improper storage of the vials of blood. Perhaps they were stored in a police officer’s vehicle where it was too hot and the sample was compromised. Also, there is a serum inside the drug testing kit that is an anti-coagulant. It prevents the blood sample from clotting while it is being stored. The type and amount of anti-coagulant used has an effect on the results of the test. There are many instances in the blood testing process where the results could be inaccurate.