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Drug testing companies in Pennsylvania may be liable for errors

Drug crimes often come with severe penalties that include incarceration and fines, but in order to be convicted, prosecutors must present clear evidence against the defendant. Drug test results typically play a major role in convicting Pennsylvanians of drug crimes. Unfortunately, without high-quality drug crime defense, people may be unjustly prosecuted due to faulty drug tests.

The supreme court in Pennsylvania is beginning to recognize the need to enable people to hold drug testing companies responsible for their mistakes. In some cases, a false positive drug test result can cause people to lose their jobs or even spend time in prison. People in this situation have little recourse. Because the false positive usually results in a drug crime conviction, they often receive prison sentences; it is likely that people find it difficult to dispute a drug test from prison.

In Massachusetts, a state crime lab was accused of altering as many as 34,000 drug tests, which led the state to release more than 300 people from prison and dismiss more than 1,000 pending drug cases. Some people have sued the lab employee for her role in the falsification of their test results. However, Massachusetts limits the amount that it pays out for such cases to $100,000. It is unknown whether Pennsylvania has a similar cap.

People who have been accused of drug possession, drug trafficking, or other drug crimes may want to seek the help of an attorney. By working with an attorney, people who are facing drug crimes can ensure that any evidence presented against them is legitimate and substantive.

Source: USA Today, “Can drug labs be sued for faulty drug tests?,” Maggie Clark, Oct. 17, 2013

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