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Woman sues after months in jail for false positive drug test

Law enforcement in Ohio often turn to field tests to identify substances suspected of being illegal drugs. A new lawsuit filed by a woman who sat in jail for three months calls into question the reliability of drug field tests. Her lawsuit has named a county board of commissioners, two deputies and Sirchie Acquisitions as the parties responsible for her unnecessary incarceration. Sirchie Acquisitions produced the drug test that supplied a false positive, which got her arrested on charges of methamphetamine trafficking when she only had a bag of cotton candy.

According to her court filings, her ordeal began on New Year's Eve 2016 when police pulled over the vehicle that she was riding in. Darkly tinted windows were the reason cited by police for the traffic stop. When the deputies determined that she and the driver both had suspended licenses, they searched the car and found a bag with a blue crystalline substance. Their field drug test mistakenly reported that the cotton candy was methamphetamine.

A state laboratory would later negate the field test results, but the woman waited in jail the whole time because her bail was set at $1 million. During her three months behind bars, she missed the birth of twin grandsons.

When police arrest a person on drug charges, the representation of an attorney may help protect the person's rights. An attorney may strive to gain the person's release for a reasonable bail amount and then work toward creating a defense strategy. Scrutiny of evidence might reveal weak associations with the person and empower an attorney to seek for a dismissal of charges or a plea deal that includes lenient penalties.

Source: AOL, "Georgia woman sues after drug test falsely labels her cotton candy as meth", Rachel Desantis, Nov. 25, 2018

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