The Police’s New Drug Screening Device in Indiana

The Police’s New Drug Screening Device in Indiana

In late October 2021, Indiana police officers introduced a new device used to test drug use. The device is known as the SoToxa Mobile Test System. Much like a breathalyzer examines if a person has recently drank alcohol, the new SoToxa examines if a person has recently used marijuana or other drugs. It is being used primarily on drivers operating a vehicle while impaired.

The use of SoToxa is being expanded statewide, but began being targeted in the Lake County region. Lake County is a popular crossover Indiana destination between Michigan and Illinois, where recreational marijuana use is legal, and Ohio, where medicinal marijuana use is legal. Marijuana use in Indiana is illegal.

SoToxa tests saliva for the presence of six drugs: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamines, amphetamines, and benzodiazepines. The test is administered by getting one oral saliva sample through swabbing under the tongue. Within five minutes, the SoToxa will return a “positive” or “negative” rating for each of the drug’s presence that the police officer can print out.

The SoToxa test is currently not admissible as evidence in court. Indiana drivers have the right to refuse to take it, although police officers have cautioned that refusal could allow the police officer to establish probable cause, arrest the subject in question, and receive a warrant for their blood to test for the drug’s presence anyway. We wrote about this practice with the breathalyzer last month.

The SoToxa test is not an empty threat. When the device was announced to the public, Indiana police officers had been using nearly a hundred of the devices over a period of two weeks. In that time, they administered 798 SoToxa tests, 443 of which came back positive. That’s over fifty percent of those polled arrested for driving while impaired with a device that is brand new on the market. It certainly looks like it is here to stay in Indiana.

At Blankenship Law, we’re here to help you, not judge you. Everyone makes mistakes. If you need help with a Driving While Impaired case, contact Blankenship Law today! Feel free to call us any time, 24/7, 365. When your life is on the line, we’ve got your back!