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Can people actually tell if you’re on drugs?

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Criminal Defense

You know that the police can conduct drug tests to see if you’ve been using illegal substances or not. For instance, many different types of drugs will show up for 90 days in hair tests. They could also use blood tests or urine tests, which will show evidence of past drug use, though not for as long.

But the police don’t have access to this information at the time of arrest. They have no idea what substances may be in your bloodstream or your hair follicles. So how can they actually tell if you’ve been using and make that arrest?

They know what signs to look for

Just as with alcohol, the police are often just looking for signs of impairment or changes in behavior that seem to allude to certain types of drug use. If they think that you’re acting in a way that shows you’re being influenced by the substance, then they may be able to take action, even though it will be a long time before they’d have any tests to prove their suspicions.

For instance, someone who uses methamphetamine may show some of the following symptoms:

  • Experiencing bursts of energy
  • Acting paranoid or obsessive
  • Twitching or having jerky movements
  • Struggling to do difficult tasks, like driving a car
  • Seeming confused and out of it
  • Not remembering events that have happened in the past

The different symptoms can vary widely depending on the substances that are used. But officers may also just be able to see physical signs – such as red and dry eyes from someone who is high. They could pull you over for rolling through a stop sign, talk to you for a few minutes, and determine that you must be under the influence of something. Even if they don’t know what it is yet, genuine belief that you are under the influence may be enough to detain you and conduct those tests.

What should you do next?

Drug charges are incredibly serious and they can really change the course of your life. If you have been arrested and you’re worried about the outcome of your case, it’s critical that you understand your legal defense options.