Aidala Bertuna & Kamins | Attorneys At Law
Schedule a Consultation

Science moves forward in developing marijuana breath test

Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in New York as well as all other states. But unlike intoxication by alcohol, which can be measured by authorities at a stop, there is no reliable breath test for marijuana intoxication. That could change as some companies are working to develop breath testing devices for marijuana impairment.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, measuring a person's breath for marijuana is far more complicated than measuring breath for alcohol. In order for a breath test to work, the vapor pressure of a compound must be measured. Until recently, the vapor pressure of marijuana had never been measured. But the agency reported on July 5 that some of its scientists were able to accomplish this for the first time. Specifically, they were able to measure the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

According to a NIST chemical engineer, vapor pressure involves the transition of a compound from a liquid to a gas. When a molecule of a substance leaves the blood and is exhaled, measuring the vapor pressure is necessary to measure blood levels by a breath test.

The NIST considers this breakthrough in THC vapor pressure measurement to be the groundwork for manufacturers to develop reliable marijuana breath testing devices. The agency says that more research will need to be done to determine what levels of THC indicate impairment of the ability to drive.

Roadside tests for intoxication are not proof that a driver is guilty of driving under the influence. The results of breath tests can be wrong. A charge of drunk driving or DUI can be challenged in court. Some defenses that could be presented include the contention that the machine used to conduct the test was improperly calibrated.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Watch Us On Screen

Arthur Aidala and Marianne Bertuna are familiar faces onscreen. But it is in the courtroom where their knowledge and their effective defense is most impressive.

They and associates Michael Jaccarino may be the difference for you when you are charged with a serious state or federal crime.

New York Office
546 5th Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036

Toll Free: 800-410-4804
Phone: 917-200-0269
Fax: 212-750-8297
New York Law Office Map

Brooklyn Office
8118 13th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11228

Toll Free: 800-410-4804
Phone: 917-200-0269
Fax: 718-921-3292
Brooklyn Law Office Map