A woman from Louisiana credits a false positive on a field drug test for ruining her life. Due to this traumatizing experience, she has decided to sue the City of Houston, Harris County, a former district attorney and two police officers for $2.5 million.
In 2010, Amy Albritton and her boyfriend of one month at the time, Anthony Wilson, were driving in the blazing Texas heat during the summer to see about an oil-rig job. Albritton had kindly volunteered her car for the trip, admitting that she was excited to escape her job of managing an apartment complex in Monroe, Louisiana for a few days.
According to Albritton's suit, the couple soon saw patrol car lights behind them, the officer who pulled them over, Dug Nguyen, had claimed that he did so over a lane-change violation. After being pulled over in a strip mall, the humiliating process began. Wilson was behind the wheel when they were pulled over, and he did not have a license. The officer took a glimpse of the car and immediately called over his partner. Nguyen claims he saw a needle in the car's ceiling lining, which is why he called for backup from officer Helms. Rather than simply requesting to search the car, the officers presented Albritton with an intimidating alternative: either she gave them consent to search her car, or they would call for a drug-sniffing dog. Albritton agreed to the search while her and Wilson waited for the results.
In the police report, Nguyen wrote that they found a white crumb on the floor that resembled crack cocaine. With no questions asked, both Wilson and Albritton were apprehended on display in rush-hour traffic. The cops conducted an elementary chemical test on the spot, placing the crumb into a liquid that would determine if it was an illegal substance. When it appeared to be positive, Helms uttered the words “you're busted.”
Wilson was detained for driving without a license and soon released, while Albritton prepared herself for a much longer stay. She had been charged with a felony drug possession. She had spent one night in jail when she was provided with an attorney. Since the test had been positive, she was facing two years of prison time. If she pleaded guilty, however, she could receive a 45-day sentence in the county jail. After weighing her options, Albritton decided to go with the latter. She served 21 days of her sentence before she was released. She had lost her job, her home and almost lost custody of her child before receiving a letter in the mail 4 years later stating that she has been exonerated for a false positive drug test. Albritton claims that the letter came too late, and that she had almost lost everything. And although her conviction has been overturned, the felony on her record will still haunt her for years after her exoneration.
The City of Houston and Harris County argue that the statute of limitations has run out, but she says she is still moving forward with her case.
If you have been charged with a drug-related offense, you need the assistance of an experienced attorney. Call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.