My Husband Flunked His Probation Drug Test. What Happens Now?

In short he’s got a problem. He didn’t get arrested and charged with a new crime, but he violated the rules of probation by ingesting an illegal substance.  This technical violation isn’t usually viewed by probation or the courts to be as bad as getting new charges, but it is still a violation and can cause your husband’s probation to be revoked.

Right after failing: There are two types of probation tests. In one type, the offender does the test and it is read while he is standing there. If the officer dumps it in the toilet, it means your husband passed. Or, the officer may put a cap on the sample and tell your husband to sign acknowledgement that he failed it, and then the wait begins. With the second type, the offenders take the test and leave and get a phone call if they failed.

Second opinion: Most states require that a failed test be verified by an independent agency. Therefore, when your husband failed at probation, the test was sent to a lab for verification. This could take anywhere from three days to three weeks to come back. Once the results confirm what the first test said, there will be a warrant for his arrest. (Some misdemeanor probation officers choose to work with the offender instead of arrest him, but it is rare, ALL felony probation failed tests result in arrest warrants).

The arrest:  Your husband will be arrested. In some cases, they will call him and allow him to turn himself in on an agreed upon date to give him time to get things settled at home and the job first. Other times they will come pick him up right away. They also might wait until his next reporting date and let him walk in to handcuffs.  Some courts allows a bond for probation violations, others do not.

Court: In court, his probation officer will testify that your husband failed his test and identify the drug he had in his system. The judge, after getting recommendations from the probation office and DA, will decide to put your husband back on probation or to revoke probation and incarcerate him for the remainder of his sentence. In some cases, he will be incarcerated for a short time and then released back to probation.

Final thoughts: Obviously, the best course of action is to not fail drug tests for probation, but once it happens, don’t panic. If he has not caused any other problems, it is possible that he will be allowed to continue on probation.

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About Mark Miclette 682 Articles
writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.