New DUI Swab Test Accepted in California

Police have a few different ways to determine if a driver is intoxicated. There are field sobriety tests, which test a driver’s ability to perform simple tasks requiring balance and spatial awareness. There is also the breathalyzer test, which can determine how much alcohol is in a person’s system. There is also a blood test to determine blood alcohol and the presence of other drugs. However, because of the way that the body metabolizes differing drugs differently, a blood test taken hours after arrest may not indicate the presence of drugs that were in play at the time of arrest.

Enter the swab test. Many in law enforcement see swab testing as an accurate way to determine what drugs are in a person’s system within 10 minutes. This is before the body can begin metabolizing the drugs. Several law enforcement agencies in places like Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Bakersfield California began testing the new technology in 2013 and 2014.

Kern recently scored a conviction based in part on swab evidence. Bakersfield resident Junior Salas, who is 22-years old, is believed to be the first person convicted with the drug swab as part of the evidence submitted as to his guilt. He was convicted last December of two non-strike felonies: vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, with ordinary negligence, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol causing bodily injury to a separate person.

Salas was sentenced for his crimes last month. The judge handed down a three year sentence in state prison. Because Salas has been in custody for two years already, with a total of 1,345 days credit for time served, he might be out on parole as soon as this month.

The families of the victims were unhappy with the sentence, wishing for something a bit stiffer. The judge, however, cited Salas’ youth, his remorse, and the potential for rehabilitation as reasons for giving Salas a mid-level sentence.

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, it is important to obtain representation. You will want a lawyer familiar with the DUI process. All of our attorneys specialize in DUI proceedings. Contact us today.

Related Frequently Asked Questions