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Why Missouri drivers may soon face a roadside drug test

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2023 | DWI |

Missourians who are pulled over by police for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs may find themselves facing a tool they’ve never seen before. It’s not a tool to measure blood alcohol content (BAC). It’s the Sotoxa Mobile Test. 

This test is designed to help determine whether a driver is under the influence of drugs by taking a sample of “oral fluid,” or saliva. The test is supposed to show if a number of types of drugs are present in a person’s system. These include amphetamines, cocaine, methamphetamines, cannabis, opiates and more. The test can’t determine specific quantities of drugs in a person’s system. It just produces positive or negative results.

It also can’t determine, of course, whether a person has a prescription for a particular drug. However, if a drug impairs your ability to drive, you can be arrested whether you have a valid prescription for it or not.

Police in one city have the authorization to use the test now

The city of Lake Saint Louis has already passed a resolution to allow its police to use this test when they suspect a driver of being impaired. As the police chief notes, however, “This isn’t something that absolutely makes the case. It’s just one more piece of evidence that we utilize in order to bring that case.”

As we’ve discussed here previously, under Missouri law, a driver may refuse to submit to a chemical test if they’re suspected of being under the influence. However, if they do refuse, they may lose their driver’s license for up to a year. That’s called “chemical revocation.”

If this tool becomes more widely used across the state, it can provide, as the police chief said, another piece of evidence that can allow police to arrest people and prosecutors to charge them. If you’re facing charges, it’s smart to have experienced legal guidance to protect your rights and present your case.