Should I submit to a urine test?

If an individual is suspected of driving under the influence, the first chemical test the arresting officer will likely request is a breathalyzer.  However, if the suspect blows below the legal limit of .08 BAC but the arresting officer continues to suspect impairment, they may order a urine test.  Unlike a breathalyzer, which measures only the percent of alcohol in the blood stream, a urine test can be used to determine the presence of any potentially impairing substances in the body, including marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs and many others.

Urine testing can be potentially problematic for a number of reasons.  Evidence of illicit substances found during a urine test can potentially result in drug related charges in addition to the originally suspected DUI.  Parolees or other individuals under restrictions against drug use may find themselves in serious legal trouble if evidence of any controlled narcotic is found in the urine, even if the substance was not related to the reason for arrest.  Further, urine tests have been shown to be inaccurate in predicting at what time the substance was ingested.  Suspects may be charged with a DUI because their urine test found evidence of a certain cough syrup you had ingested hours before your arrest.

When asked to take a urine test, you need to take your individual situation into consideration.  Refusal to acquiesce to this request may result in automatic assessment of DMV penalties like driver’s license suspension.  However, the results of a urine test will be used by the prosecution in crafting their DUI case against you.

Posted in: DUI