Skip to Content

Washtenaw County Begins New Roadside Saliva DUI Test

November 8, 2017 Criminal Law and Procedure

Police in Washtenaw County today will begin a new roadside saliva DUI test on drivers suspected of drug use.

Drug Recognition “Experts”

So-called “Drug Recognition Experts,” (DREs) will carry out the roadside saliva DUI test. A DRE is a police officer who is trained to evaluate a person for drug impairment. The validity of the drug recognition expert is far from settled. Police officials describe drug recognition as an established science. However, many criminal defense attorneys criticize the practice as inadequate.

The Testing Process

On the road, the police officer will examine a driver for possible impairment from drugs. Next, the officer may ask the driver to submit to a roadside saliva test, which is similar to a preliminary breath test (PBT) for alcohol. Refusal of the saliva test is a civil infraction, just like a refusal of the PBT.

What Can it Detect?

Marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and opiates are the six substances the roadside tests aims to detect. The roadside saliva DUI tests would be taken by an Alere DDS2 oral fluid test instrument. The test produces results within 5 minutes. Police could arrest a driver for a DUI based on a positive saliva test. A police officer will still request that the driver take a blood test following the arrest.

Where Will it Go Into Effect?

The following police agencies in Washtenaw County participate in the program:

  • Ann Arbor Police Department
  • University of Michigan Police Department
  • Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department
  • Pittsfield Township Police Department
  • Ypsilanti, Police Department

In addition, these Michigan counties will also try out the roadside saliva DUI test:

  • Kent
  • St. Clair
  • Delta
  • Berrien

The program will last for one year. Individual agencies may continue the program.

Contact Us

Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

For More Information

Read More: Steps In An OWI Case and What To Do When Pulled Over For Drinking and Driving