St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Roadside Saliva Testing Law Passes for Drug Testing Influenced Drivers in Michigan


Driving is a privilege that many people enjoy; however, it comes with a significant amount of responsibility to operate a motor vehicle safely. Consuming alcohol or drugs before driving can seriously interfere with a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely and is also against the law. When the police pull a driver over and suspect that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, there are roadside sobriety tests that an officer can administer such as a breathalyzer tests to determine whether the amount of alcohol that has been consumed by the driver is over the legal limit. Now, in the state of Michigan, police officers can administer a saliva test for drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs. When a resident of Berrien County has been pulled over for driving under the influence of drugs, he or she should seek the counsel of an experienced and reputable criminal defense lawyer in Berrien County such as Peter J. Johnson, Law Office, PLLC.

Saliva Test Pilot Program

Currently, in the state of Michigan, a one year pilot program allowing police officers to administer a saliva test to drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs has been signed into law. The program will be put into use in five counties throughout the state. One of the primary reasons for the pilot program is to test the reliability for the saliva test. The instrument used to administer the saliva test is a hand-held device, which is similar to the device used to administer a breathalyzer test.

The saliva test for drugs cannot be administered by all police officers of the Michigan police force; instead, a police officer must be trained as a Drug Recognition Expert in order to be allowed to administer the test. Counties with higher numbers of drugged driving crashes and arrests as well as those with a high number of trained Drug Recognition Experts are most likely to be selected for the program.

Saliva Test Pilot Program and Your Rights

The same threshold standard of reasonable suspicion that must be met for a police officer to request that a driver take a breathalyzer tests must be met for the officer to request that the driver submit to a saliva test. If a driver in one of the five counties in which the pilot program is in operation refuses to take a saliva test when requested to do so by an officer, the driver has committed a civil infraction in much the same way as a driver who refuses to take a breathalyzer test when requested to do so by a police officer has committed a civil infraction. The driver then may be subject to a search warrant and may be required to take a blood test. If a driver is administered the saliva test and the results are determined to be positive, the driver can be immediately arrested for drugged driving.

If you or someone you know has either refused to take a saliva test or your results were determined to be positive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need the counsel and guidance of an experienced and reputable criminal defense lawyer on your side. Peter J. Johnson, Law Office, PLLC, one of the leading criminal defense firms in greater Southwest Michigan, will fight for you and your rights till the end. For further information or to schedule an appointment please contact Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC at 269.982.1100 or visit

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