If you are apprehended in Texas and officers find something that they think may be an illegal narcotic, they may use a field test on the spot to test whether it is a drug. However, some of these tests may be flawed, resulting in false positives that can place a conviction at risk. In fact, some convictions have been overturned due to faulty evidence.
The cheap test results in illegal arrests
These tests are affordable, and many cost as little as $2. The officer takes the substance and drops it into a bag that is filled with certain chemicals. If the seized substance is an illegal narcotic, the chemicals will change colors. This test is not enough to convict a defendant in a trial. However, it is used to establish probable cause to arrest the suspect. Then, the substance would be subject to further tests to conclusively determine that the substance is an illegal narcotic.
The test has led to false positives
The problem happens when the test yields a false positive. Some defendants end up pleading guilty based on the arrest and before the case goes to trial. However, because the test has yielded a false positive, the arrest was never valid in the first place. Thus, the conviction is not lawful either. In Nevada, numerous defendants have had their convictions overturned and some have had charges dropped on this basis. In any state, defendants should be questioning the chemical evidence against them in light of the fact that these tests can be faulty.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of narcotics possession, you need a criminal law attorney to defend you as your case makes its way through the criminal justice system. The attorney could make sure that your constitutional rights are protected and that you are free from illegal searches, seizures and arrests. The criminal justice system may be difficult to navigate on your own without legal help.