If you are a criminal defendant in Virginia facing a drug charge, you should be aware that flawed roadside drug tests have resulted in numerous defendants having their convictions tossed. If the police arrested you on the basis of this test being administered to a substance that they took from you, there is a chance that charges can be dropped.

A $2 test can easily malfunction

The roadside tests are designed to confirm whether a substance that a police officer believes is an illegal narcotic is in fact drugs. The chemicals are supposed to change colors when the substance is dropped into their midst. It is a simple test that costs roughly $2. However, the test has proven to be unreliable. Many people are being arrested after the test has yielded falsely positive results.

False positives mean an illegal arrest

The major issue is that this taints the arrest that leads to a conviction. Police need probable cause to arrest a suspect. Otherwise, they are violating the suspect’s constitutional rights. When the arrest is because of a drug test that has yielded a false positive, the police have actually made an illegal seizure. When a suspect pleads guilty to charges that result from the flawed test, it is a conviction that is the result of an illegal arrest, and it must be set aside. Defendants in two states have been successful in having charges dropped and convictions overturned, even after they pled guilty to a crime.

Issues like these are the reason why you should not be attempting to represent yourself in a criminal case. Instead, you should retain the services of a criminal law attorney to make sure that your rights are respected. After you are charged, the attorney can either help you negotiate a plan bargain with prosecutors or they may help you fight the charges. Your lawyer may know when prosecutors have made their best possible offer with a plea deal.