Attorney Jay Ruane explains how roadside drug tests can go wrong. Watch the video here:

Or read the video transcript below.

Video Transcript

Police officers use a test in the field to make field level determinations as to whether or not a substance is legal or illegal. And so what they do is they’ll put a little bit of substance into a pouch like this. They’ll break the ampules that have the chemicals in them, and then depending on the color change, something will be picked out as being “that’s an illegal drug.”?

Testing the Marquis Reagent

So what we’re going to do is we’re going to test out the Marquis Reagent and we’re going to test it with a little bit of Domino sugar. So, got the packet here. We’re going to open it up. Fresh packet. I’m going to pour a little bit, just a tiny little bit. As everybody knows, when you have drugs in the field, it’s often just a wee little bit that they’re going to use to test it.

So we’ll put a little bit of the sugar in the bottom there. And then we’re going to seal this up. And as you could see there is sugar in the bottom, as if it were a drug that’s there. And so now what we’re going to do is we’re going to break the ampules. Alright, and then we’re going to mix it around.

Sugar vs. Amphetamines

Now, this was sugar that we just put in here. And as you will see, the sugar is turning yellow. So that’s the thing. Now, if you’re out on the night time and you see this yellow and it looks like it’s getting browner and browner and you’re looking to see if it’s an amphetamine, because amphetamine turns to brown. Look at this color of the sugar, look how brown it’s getting. Look at amphetamines, they turn brown.

So if we were out on the side of the road, a police officer, putting a little bit of amphetamine into this, a little bit of something that they think is amphetamine, but could be something as simple as table sugar, right? It’s a sugar high, but it’s not an amphetamine high.

Well, let’s come back in and take a look at this again. It’s only been about 30 seconds. amphetamines turned brown. Sugar – what color do we see here? Brown. Which means something as simple as table sugar can be a false positive on one of these tests for a police officer. And they could arrest you for possession of amphetamines by merely having sugar in a pouch.

Can you believe that? I can. I see it every day. I’m Jay Ruane. This is how police officers misidentify drugs in the field. And this is how we can defend you when we can demonstrate this to a court. Contact us for more information.