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What Happens If I Fail a Drug Test on Probation in Texas?

Ben Michael

To successfully complete probation, you must meet a certain number of conditions, which usually include remaining sober, staying away from drugs, avoiding involvement in criminal activity, and attending regular check-ins with a probation officer.

If you fail a drug test while on probation in Texas, it could result in serious consequences that negatively impact your sentencing.

Fortunately, Michael & Associates has a long history of resolving probation issues, and often we are able to negotiate a slap on the wrist. Please give us a call at (512) 729-1720 or schedule a free case review and we will be happy to give you our take, free of charge.

What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test While on Probation?

The repercussions of failing a drug test while you are on probation will depend on the conditions of your probation, and whether you have a history of breaking the terms of your probation. Common consequences include:

In some cases, your probation can be revoked altogether. This usually results in serving the rest of your sentence—or your entire sentence, depending on the severity of the crime—behind bars.

If you fail a drug test for weed while on probation

Traces of weed can remain in your system for days—or even weeks—after you’ve stopped using it.

The first test your probation officer takes will likely be used as a “baseline” if there are traces of drugs in your system. In this case, you likely won’t face punishment, but you will be informed that the drug levels in your urine must drop by your next drug test. Depending on how strict your Judge is, they may also require you to spend a few days in jail as punishment, even for a minor infraction such as this.

It is essential to make sure that there are no traces of drugs in your system by the second test, or at least a lower level than your “baseline”, since some drugs—like weed—can remain in your system for weeks.

If you fail your first drug test during probation

Depending on your particular circumstances, failing your first drug test can result in consequences ranging from a warning to immediate revocation of your probation and incarceration.

Even a warning will be entered into your probation file, which means that any further violations will be treated much more seriously.

If your probation officer believes that you may have a drug abuse problem or an underlying mental or emotional issue that is inspiring your drug use, they may opt to order you to attend a rehabilitation program or counseling. Some of these programs are only available while in custody. 

If you fail a second drug test during probation

If you fail a second drug test while you are on probation in Texas, it will likely result in serious consequences, including the revocation of your probation, arrest, and jail time. If your original offense was related to drugs, the repercussions are likely to be more severe.

Drug Testing While on Probation in Texas

In Texas, drug testing is a standard condition of probation, even if you are serving community supervision for a crime that was unrelated to drugs.

Drug tests can happen regularly or randomly. For drug-related offenses, it’s more likely that your probation officer will do regular checks. Sometimes, random drug tests are done when a monthly probation appointment is approaching, or just a few days after the appointment passes.

Alcohol can remain in your system for around 24 hours, on average, while drugs such as weed can remain in your system for 30 days or longer.

Your rate of metabolism will increase with food and hydration—eating regularly and drinking lots of water will help to rid your system of traces of drugs and alcohol, but the only sure way to pass the test is to follow the conditions of your probation and stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Can You Go to Jail for Failed Drug Test on Probation?

Failing a drug test, especially if it isn’t your first, can result in you going to jail in Texas.

Upon a failed drug test, your probation officer can file the violation, which can trigger a Motion to Revoke Probation (non-deferred probation) or a Motion to Adjudicate (deferred probation). This is prepared and signed by the County/District attorney’s office.

Once the motion is filed with the County/District Clerk, a court date gets set. The hearing could result in one of the following outcomes:

  • Adjudication – If you had been serving deferred probation, you can be placed on non-deferred probation with additional terms and conditions, or you can be adjudicated and given a jail sentence.
  • Altered probation – Your probation continues for the same length of time, but additional conditions may apply.
  • Extended probation – The term of your probation is extended, and you may face additional conditions.
  • Revoked probation – Your probation is terminated, and you must serve the rest of your sentence in jail.

The exact length of your jail sentence will be determined by the judge, though it will usually not exceed the original sentenced term. For example, if you were sentenced to 60 days and served 15 days of probation, you may still have to go to jail for 60 days.

What Are the Other Consequences of a Failed Drug Test While on Probation?

The consequences of a failed drug test are always going to be negative, even if you only get a warning. A warning will remain on your record, and any further violations will be treated much more severely.

A common consequence of a failed drug test is that it can cost you more money in the form of additional fines and a cash bond for getting bailed out of jail after your arrest.

If you had been serving deferred probation, this can be revoked and replaced with adjudication, resulting in a criminal conviction on your records.

Your probation period could be extended, meaning you spend longer on probation. The terms of your probation could also be altered to put in stricter terms and conditions, including regular drug tests.

Finally, you could be sent to jail for the entire length of your original sentencing.

What Should I Do If I Fail a Drug Test While on Probation in Texas?

If you believe you’ve failed a drug test while on probation, you should take immediate action to try to prevent the worst outcome by getting in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Usually, your probation officer will tell you that you have failed the drug test, either at your next probation visit or sooner.

In some circumstances, the probation officer will immediately file for a revocation of your probation, in which case you will not be informed of the results until after you have been arrested and the court hearing begins.

When you do receive your test results, it’s important that you remain calm. Your probation officer will likely ask you for an explanation. It’s important to remain open and honest with your probation officer.

If your probation officer orders you to attend rehabilitation or counseling, you should cooperate fully and demonstrate the willingness to make a change.

Finally, the best thing you can do if you have failed a drug test is to really make a change. Seek help through counseling or rehabilitation to stay away from drugs entirely—this is the only way to make sure there are no traces of drugs in your system.

Can a Failed Drug Test Be Disputed in Texas?

It is possible to dispute a false positive drug test, however, to do so you must act quickly. You’ll need to contact probation as soon as possible and request another drug test—before the probation department can trigger harmful actions against you.

If you believe you’ve received a false positive test, you should challenge this immediately rather than face the serious consequences of a failed drug test.

The Best Strategy If You Fail a Drug Test While on Probation

Failing a drug test while you are on probation can be a frightening experience, and for good reason—the consequences can be devastating. The best thing you can do is to seek legal representation immediately. A lawyer can help to protect your rights and ensure that the consequences you receive are fair.

Additionally, an experienced lawyer with adequate knowledge of the probation process can create compelling arguments to convince prosecutors that you should be treated with compassion and offered help and support, not punished.

If you’re worried about a failed probation test, contact Michael & Associates for a free case review. Time is of the essence, and while a case review won’t cost you anything, not acting may result in harsher punishments.

Ben Michael

Ben has vast experience in defending criminal cases ranging from DWIs to assault, drug possession, and many more. He has countless criminal charges dismissed and pled down. Among many other awards, one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Texas and winner of Top 40 under 40.

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