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San Antonio Criminal Law Blog

Cocaine roadside test gave false positives for 298 suspects

On July 20, it was reported that a roadside test used in a Texas county provided false positives that led to nearly 300 convictions on drug-related charges over a period of approximately 10 years. Many of the defendants reportedly pleaded guilty so that they would be released from custody faster.

The test that was used in these cases uses a chemical called cobalt thiocyanate. When it is exposed to cocaine, it turns blue. However, the chemicals also turn blue when they are exposed to other compounds, which may include certain acne medications and even household cleaners. The creator of the test defended it by arguing that those who were not dealing drugs or using drugs would plead not guilty. This particular test is also used in other states.

The fault in the field test: unreliability of drug testing

You're having a great time. Out with friends for some innocent fun, maybe dinner and a movie before wrapping up the evening with drinks at a local pub. You're feeling pretty satisfied on your drive home until you see the red and blue flashing lights. Suddenly, your perfect night devolves into a nightmare ending with you behind bars. The worst part? You're not even sure how you got there.

Sounds impossible right? Maybe a scene from the newest box office thriller but certainly not a real-life possibility. Tell that to Justin, James and the Jones family (names changed to protect their privacy). Faulty assumptions and drug testing led to legal nightmares for these people whose stories should serve as a cautionary tale.

Texas police say drunk firefighter pretended to be an officer

Police detained a volunteer firefighter June 29 for allegedly being drunk when he pulled over another driver in a restaurant parking lot. The incident reportedly happened at Rudy's BBQ in Waco at about 9 p.m.

Waco police say that the 31-year-old firefighter was driving his personal Chevrolet Tahoe and used its white and red emergency lights to pull over the other driver. It is common for volunteer firefighters to have these lights installed on their personal vehicles in case they are called in for a fire emergency.

Texas DWI law: 3 Things to know

DWI/DUI is a common criminal offense in the United States. However, not every state treats drunk driving arrests the exact same way. Here in Texas, we have a unique process that many motorists are not familiar with. Most people don't know how DWIs are prosecuted and don't realize the following three things until it's too late:

San Antonio experiences drop in DWI arrests

Cities can experience various different trends when it comes to arrests, including DWI arrests. Statistics point to San Antonio currently being in the midst of a trend of decreased DWI arrests.

San Antonio saw 4,316 DWI arrests in the period between October 2014 and June 2015. The city’s DWI arrest total for this same general period that started in October 2015 and spanned into this year, meanwhile, was only 3,237. This is a pretty significant year-over-year decline in arrests.

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