A total of 212 individuals in Harris County, Texas have pled guilty to drug possession charges, despite the fact that that laboratory tests found absolutely no drugs in samples that came up positive during roadside drug tests that were conducted.
These results were found by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in 2014 during an audit of various drug cases that dated back to 2004. In a majority of these cases, the defendants were not able to post their bail and, in order to be able to be released from custody quicker than waiting on lab results, they pleaded guilty. The kinds of tests that were used in the field are also used in multiple other cities and rely on a chemical known as cobalt thiocynate. This type of chemical turns blue whenever it’s exposed to cocaine, as well as 80 other different compounds, which include methodone, household cleaners, and even acne medications—legal substances.
Although this specific test has been defended by its creator, it has not been the only one accused of creating false positive results. In fact, three different civil lawsuits were filed in other states naming two other test manufacturers as defendants. Even worse is the fact that Harris County, Texas was not the only jurisdiction that allowed individuals to plead guilty solely based on field tests. Similar guilty pleas are allowed in multiple other cities all across the United States. These cities include the following:
*Salt Lake City
I can certainly understand wanting to get out of jail as quickly as possible, if you feel like there is no other way out. However, it is best to wait for confirmation of roadside drug test results by a laboratory before ever considering taking a plea deal—especially on a felony drug possession case.
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