If you are on probation or parole in California, regular and random drug testing may be a huge portion of the oversight the court ordered. Alongside regular check-ins with your PO, California courts often order drug tests, even for non-drug-related probation. It is vital to remember that you cannot use drugs without possessing them – which is illegal in CA. Because a failed drug test is solid evidence that you possessed drugs, and because it often violates the terms of probation, a bad drug test can send you back to jail.
If you failed a drug test, you may have a few options of what to do next. Often, you will not have the time to decide what to do if you already appeared in court for your probation hearing. However, if you think you may have failed a recent drug test, it is vital to talk to an attorney about what to do next. The Ventura probation violation attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth are available for free consultations on probation violations. Otherwise, these tips may help you understand your options after a failed drug test.
Failed Drug Test Consequences for Probation Violation
Drug testing is not only used for probation for drug crimes. No matter what your charges were, if you fail a drug test, you may be sent back to prison. Especially if this was your first probation violation, courts may be willing to give you a second chance. The following options may be available after a positive drug test in California:
1. Admit Your Mistake
Part of the criminal justice process is seeing that those who are on probation or in jail learn from their mistakes. Many times, this means that judges want to see a change in behavior. Often, judges will look kindly upon probationers who own-up to their mistakes. However, you should always consult with an attorney before admitting any facts to police or a judge.
Sometimes, the best course or action is to be open and honest. At times, admitting to the drug use before the test results are returned demonstrates to the judge that you are owning your mistakes, and willing to cooperate with the process. Many times, denying drug use in the face of scientific evidence like a drug test just shows the judge you are willing to lie and will not cooperate. Many times, judges point to this kind of behavior as justifying a violation of probation order, and a return to jail.
2. Challenge the Results
Though judges usually believe drug tests, they are not perfect. The false-positive rate on drug tests is often as high as 5-10% of tests. This means that many tests are flawed, and could report drug use when you actually haven’t touched any drugs.
Alternatively, many drug tests are sensitive to other chemicals or foods, which may trigger a positive result. Heroin and many other opioids and narcotics are derived from the poppy plant – the same plant that gives us the poppy seeds on bagels and in muffins.
Unfortunately, drug tests may trigger a positive result for heroin based on your breakfast choice. Similarly, drug tests may confuse many antidepressants, cough syrups, blood pressure medication, painkillers, and diabetes medications with other, illegal drugs.
Talk to an attorney about how to challenge the results of a false-positive drug test. This may require careful lawyering, since judges often cannot tell the difference between honest claims of a bad drug test and simple denials.
3. Take Another Drug Test
Often, false positives and confused drug tests can be clarified by submitting to another drug test. Especially during regular, systematic drug testing, judges and probation officers can pin-down when you would have used drugs. Submitting to another drug test may convince the judge that you truly did not use any illegal drugs. Additionally, it may show the judge you are willing to cooperate with probation and the criminal justice process.
4. Stay Silent
Judges will often ask you if you used any drugs when using a drug test. This may be a personal test, to see if you are willing to cooperate or will deny the results. However, you often do not need to answer these questions. Because judges and prosecutors can use any admissions against you, it may be best to stay silent and let your lawyer do the talking. Additionally, while drugs sometimes yield a false-positive, they also yield false-negatives. This may mean that you “beat” the drug test, and it did not catch your drug use. In these situations, it is often better to stay silent and wait to see the drug test’s results.
Violation of Probation Lawyer in Ventura, CA
Using drugs and failing a drug test is often grounds to trigger a probation violation and send you back to jail. Especially if this was your first probation violation, judges may be willing to give you a second change. If the drug test was a false positive, talk to an attorney today about your options to fight the test. A Ventura criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth offer free consultations on probation violations and criminal defense cases. Call (805) 585-5056 today.