Drug Test While On Probation: Everything We Know

Drug Test While On Probation: Everything We Know


Often periodic drug testing is a condition of the probation, even if not convicted of a drug-related offense. Failing a drug test may cause severe repercussions and lead to sanction and revocation of probation.

Urine tests are the most common drug test employed, followed by saliva and SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) bracelets that detect alcohol released through sweat.

Drug tests on probation generally screen for amphetamine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, cannabis, PCP, and opioids, among others.

Table Of Contents:

Do's and Don'ts of a Probation Officer

The probation officer must be careful not to place a probation/parolee in workplaces related to their previous offense. Examples include placing a person on probation for drug use to work as a helper in a hospital pharmacy.

The probation officer may conduct a search and seizure only when reasonable suspicion exists that violates the condition of probation.

A Probation officer must adequately investigate the circumstances of the person on probation. The probation should facilitate rehabilitation by offering necessary counseling and advice.

How often Do You Get Drug Tested on Probation?

When you apply for probation, the court will review the application and order a drug test after analyzing the circumstances.

Individuals on probation are frequently drug-tested to identify and deter the use of illicit substances. Probation officers regularly perform random drug testing during regular working hours or any time of the week and on weekends. 

The frequency of drug tests is based on how compliant probation clients are with the probation conditions. More compliance usually results in fewer drug tests.

What kind of drug test do courts use during probation depends on various factors. If the courts suspects the individual of taking alcohol during the review, they may order a EtG drug test. Else, it may be a 5 panel or a 10 panel drug test. 

Can a probation violation be dismissed?

If the probation violation is deemed insignificant and not considered willful and substantial, it can be dismissed. Your lawyer can help get your probation violation dismissed if your claim is reasonable and legitimate.

Can you drink alcohol while on probation?

Refraining from consumption of alcohol is a general requirement for individuals on probation. Unless you have a no drinking alcohol as a condition of probation and a probation officer is aware of it, you may drink in moderation.

How do probation officers find out about new charges?

Individuals on probation are required to sign a drug testing agreement form. Probation officers keep custody forms that regularly keep track of the collected samples. Initial positive tests are addressed through personal discussions, while continuous positive tests are addressed through petitions to revoke probation. 

How soon does a probation officer get drug test results?

Most drug test results are returned in about a week. In some cases, probation officers can receive drug test results either on the same day or the following day after the test.

 Can you leave the country while on probation?

You need a formal permission from your designated probation officer or department to leave the country while on probation. In cases where you are not allowed, you can approach and appeal the court.

How to get a probation hold lifted?

When you violate probation, you are not given a bond. To lift this probation hold, an attorney can set a motion for a probation bond. Correspondingly, a judge will make a determination whether or not to get the probation hold lifted and be admitted to bond.

Difference between regular and deferred probation

On regular probation, you opt to plead guilty, and the court determines you are at fault. The court may suspend the sentence and order you to remain under community supervision with certain conditions and avoid jail time. In deferred probation or deferred adjudication, the court merely postpones your prosecution. The court will order you to remain under community supervision but spare you by not convicting you.

How much is a bond for probation violation?

A probation violation bond may be required for release if you are taken to jail and facing a deferred judgment for probation violation. The judge usually sets Bonds of violation.  They tend to be expensive and sometimes beyond your means to pay.  Your attorney or lawyer can help you choose the proper probation violation bond that meets your needs.

What happens if you violate probation?

Violation of probation can potentially lead to reinstatement of your probation with a set of new conditions and guidelines. Violation of probation in the worst-case scenario may mean revocation of probation and require you to serve your original sentence time.

Difference between Probation and Parole

Probation and parole are two alternatives to incarceration following conviction. On probation, the convict is released from police custody put under the supervision of the community and the probation officer. On the other hand, in parole, the convict is released(temporarily or permanently) from jail subject to the condition of parole such as ethical conduct, appear before the parole officer whenever required, not leaving the geographical area without prior permission, and so on.

What is unsupervised probation, and what is the eligibility requirement?

Unsupervised probation or administrative probation, as the name suggests, does not require supervision from a probation officer to monitor you regularly. Judges grant unsupervised probation to individuals who are likely not to commit future crimes. Repeated offenders and serious felons are unlikely to receive unsupervised probation.

What happens if you get a misdemeanor while on probation?

If you are charged with a misdemeanor, your probation officer may file a petition to revoke your probation. Under such circumstances, you are likely to serve the original sentence time in jail.

Probation Drug Testing Laws

If periodic testing is a condition of the probation, then you may be drug tested regularly. Failing a drug test may cause severe repercussions and lead to revocation of probation.

Final remarks

Drug testing as a condition of probation is mainly sought to identify and deter illicit drug use among individuals on probation. Random testing among probation clients is regularly conducted for detecting drug use.

Positive test results often translate into petitions by probation officers to revoke probation and cause you to serve the original sentence time in jail. That said, there is a gradual shift from exacting punitive measures to viewing drug testing as a therapeutic tool to guide treatment and motivate positive behavioral change.

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