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False drug test lands man in prison for drywall powder

Few life events sting like a wrongful arrest. That feeling of accusation cuts deep, knowing that other people won't look at you the same way. It hurts more than your feelings. It damages your reputation, your relationships and your career.

Allegations have serious consequences.

Drug tests are fallible

In Florida earlier this summer, a man spent 90 days in jail for possession of a powdery substance that police believed to be cocaine. It turned out to be drywall powder from his job as a handyman. While police verified the drug test, the man went to jail for a probation violation--which turned out to be false.

Originally stopped for a traffic violation, the drywall powder alerted a K-9 unit and also tested positive in a field test conducted by the officer. It took three months for lab results to correct the mistake. This example may seem rare, but false positives are all too familiar.

Reasons for a false test result may include:

  • Malfunctioning lab equipment
  • Improper lab conditions or sanitation
  • Officer error

Human and equipment errors aren't the only causes though. Regular household items, medications and diets can trigger false test results.

Everyday items that cause false test results include:

  • Cold medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Ibuprofen
  • Tonic water
  • Poppy seeds

False positives can happen to anyone

Any time that you are accused of a crime, it's important to know your right to an attorney. There are many reasons why a drug test may not hold up in court. Things are rarely as they appear on the surface. An experienced lawyer will research your arrest to make sure that you are protected against false accusations.

In Florida, two different tests (the K-9 and the field test) said that the driver was lying. Further research proved his innocence.

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  • Defendant was charged with sexual assault of a minor. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm got the alleged victim to confess that she made the whole thing up. Charges were dropped against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with possessing a large quantity of marijuana. Following a complete investigation by our firm, the State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with embezzling more than $300,000.00, from a previous employer. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm highlighted a number of inconsistencies and questionable statements. The State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
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