Can police charge you for using a controlled substance based on a ‘green tongue’ or ‘residue’

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Can police charge you for using a controlled substance based on a ‘green tongue’ or ‘residue’

My son had police sent to his dorm for investigation. A girl with him had marijuana and threw it out the window. She admitted to it and was arrested. My son states he went through 15 minutes of sobriety tests that ended with being fined 500 and a ticket. There was no use in the dorm. This was in Wyoming.

Asked on July 18, 2016 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can be charged with a crime based on any evidence which creates reasonable grounds to believe that a crime was committed--including a "green tongue" or "residue" appearing to an experienced police officer to be the aftermath of marijuana usage. Being charged, however, is not the same thing as being convicted: to be convicted, the evidence must convince the court of the crime "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is a much higher standard than that needed for an arrest or to be charged. Therefore, it is possible that this evidence would not be enough to convince the court that there was drug use, especially if there is a reasonable alternative explanation for the green tongue or residue. However, that said, bear in mind that courts tend to accord police officer testimony greater weight than the testimony of the defendant, so do not assume that you will necessarily convince the court that the officer was wrong.


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