Lab tests revealed that a man charged for trafficking cocaine never had the drug on him in the first place. This discovery only came after he had already spent three months behind bars with a $178,000 bond. Florida police apparently mistook lidocaine powder for cocaine when they arrested him on drug charges.
In Dec. 2019, police pulled the man over after they apparently noticed a taillight on his vehicle was out. For reasons that are not entirely clear, officers at the scene chose to search the car, at which point they discovered a bottle containing a white powder. The man said that it was lidocaine, and the bottle was labeled as such, but police performed a field drug test that rendered a false positive for cocaine.
The lidocaine was not sent to a lab for further testing until his first trial was set, which took three months. The lab test proved that the substance was not cocaine. By that point, he had already accepted a plea deal in exchange for dropping the trafficking charge and time served for three other charges.
False positives from field drug testing often lead to drug charges, which can put Florida defendants behind bars for weeks and even months at a time. This is an understandably distressing situation that can have a profound impact on someone’s personal life. This is one of the reasons that working on a strong criminal defense plan as early on in the process as possible can be helpful, as doing so can help minimize potential legal consequences.