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Florida man jailed on false drug possession charges

A man was arrested and held in jail for three months after being falsely accused of having cocaine in his vehicle. Police initially pulled the Florida resident over  in March because he was allegedly driving with no headlights at about 9:30 p.m. Before the night was over, he was in jail and facing false drug possession charges.

According to the officer who pulled him over, the 57-year-old man was on probation for selling small amounts of marijuana and cocaine, and had an 8 p.m. curfew. The man argued that his curfew was actually 10 p.m, but the officer arrested him anyway and called for a K-9 to search his vehicle. The arrest report states that the policeman found debris in the vehicle which he suspected was small amounts of marijuana, and he found tiny chunks that he thought was cocaine.

The officer then claimed that the debris tested positive for cocaine. The test was done over the man's protest, using an inexpensive testing kit that sells for just over $2. Now he was facing more charges, including probation violation and possession of cocaine. He was unable to post bond and spent the next three months in jail. It turns out, however, that his curfew actually was 10 pm, and the debris was actually small chips of drywall, not cocaine.

According to the report, these field tests often give a false positive, leading many defendants in Florida to make a plea deal, which makes up 97 percent of the state's drug convictions. But the test can be proven inaccurate. Anyone who is facing drug possession charges based on a field drug test has the right to speak with a criminal lawyer. The attorney can fight the charges and try to ensure that the client does not spend time in jail based on inaccurate testing.

Source: mypalmbeachpost.com, "Florida man jailed, justice system discovers dust isn't cocaine", Frank Cerabino, July 3, 2017

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