The Truth Behind the D-L Test

By Jonathan Blecher on October 22, 2020

If you got charged for DUI, you must remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. You’d be surprised to learn how many fatal mistakes are made in the justice system, one being the use of a field sobriety test that doesn’t necessarily test for drugs alone.

A NarcoPouch test is a presumptive field sobriety test that is widely-used by police officers who have established probable cause for an arrest. You can think of NarcoPouch tests as portable drug tests that allow police officers to detect illegal controlled substances without first submitting the drugs to a crime lab. However, this test has a history of producing false positive results, causing many people to get charged for DUI crimes they didn’t commit.

The NarcoPouch test gives false readings for legal substances like liquid soaps, colognes, perfumes, herbal incense, teas, and more.

The Duquenois-Levine (D-L) reagent is used in NarcoPouch field drug tests to detect marijuana, hashish, and hash oil. But considering this substance is produced by for-profit companies that have their own best interests at heart and aren’t entirely regulated by the government, D-L tests are arguably unreliable.

A good example of why D-L tests can’t be trusted is back in 2009, a Broward County woman was arrested for possessing what police initially thought was marijuana. But this woman, Robin Rae Brown, was simply going on a hike and giving prayers of thanksgiving to God. She brought with her a “smudge stick” consisting of sage, sweet grass, and lavender that she purchased from an Albuquerque airport gift shop. It is common for spiritual people to light smudge sticks and worship the smoke that arises, as the smoke is believed to carry their prayers to heaven.

But when Robin returned to her car, a police officer and Florida Fish and Wildlife lieutenant approached her and asked if her smudge stick was marijuana. She denied it but since the officer thought it smelled like marijuana, he assumed it was marijuana. That false assumption established probable cause to conduct a D-L test on Robin’s incense. To no surprise, the incense tested positive for marijuana, and Robin was arrested.

Another great example of how D-L test is defective is a family chocolatier business in Canada was framed as a drug-dealing operation due to a false positive D-L test. As a result, the owners went to jail.

It’s worth noting that D-L tests work properly, however, they detect far more substances than what the police look for. It would be nice if D-L tests could tell officers that the substance they tested was nutmeg or soap, but that is not the reality. The reality is people could go to jail for items they bought at the supermarket, and the state can convict defendants on the possibility that their D-L test result was reliable.

Arrested in Miami? You Know Who to Call.

As a former prosecutor with 30+ years of experience, I’ve seen firsthand how problematic D-L tests can be. Not only can they result in wrongful arrests but also convictions, creating turmoil for innocent people. Now that I’m on the other side of the law defending the accused, I know what steps to take to ensure my clients do not suffer for drug-related crimes they didn’t commit.

When you put me on your side, I will go the extra mile to challenge every component of the prosecution’s attacks against you, including their D-L test and crime lab analysis. Don’t let the police get away with pressing criminal charges against you. Fight back with the help of Jonathan Blecher, P.A. instead.

To get started, schedule your free consultation online or by calling 305-321-3237!

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