R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
713-489-7763
Se Habla Español

Scientists able to establish cocaine use from fingerprints

Texas residents may be surprised to learn that scientists have developed a means of establishing a person's cocaine use by performing chemical tests on their fingerprints. Researchers say that these tests would provide a less invasive and more hygienic alternative to traditional drug testing methods, and they say that portable testing kits could be available to law enforcement personnel within a decade. The research was published in a scientific journal in May 2015.

According to the British and Dutch scientists behind the research, one of the benefits of fingerprint tests is that the results cannot be faked. This would make it more difficult to mount a drug charge defense based on unreliable test results due to a contaminated sample or improper testing methods. The fact that the test is based on a fingerprint also makes it difficult to claim that another individual provided the sample.

The fingerprint test detects cocaine use through a process known as ambient mass spectrometry. Certain chemicals are produced in the body after cocaine is introduced, and the new drug test detects traces of these metabolites. The scientists who conducted the research say that an individual who had merely handled the drug would not test positive as traces of methylecgonine and benzoylecgonine would only be present if the drug had actually been consumed.

While the results of this scientific research may be impressive, they also raise a number of questions. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and police officers must have probable cause or secure a warrant before conducting a saliva, blood or urine test on an individual suspected of violating drug laws. Fingerprints could be discovered and tested without the suspect even being present, and criminal defense attorneys will likely pay close attention to the actions of law enforcement agencies if this form of drug testing is implemented.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Let's Discuss Your Situation

I welcome your emails, but I'd love to talk to you, too, so please call me at: 713-489-7763.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response

Se Habla Español Aquí

*The Best Lawyers in America is one of the oldest and most respected peer review publications in the legal profession.

**AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.