What Are Probation Drug Testing Procedures?
Are you wondering what are probation drug testing procedures? Here we will explain everything!
The criminal court system in Louisiana allows for people convicted of crimes, placed on community supervision, also known as probation. Generally reserved for first-time offenders, probation allows the person convicted of a crime to live their life outside of incarceration. Probationers must follow strict rules. If a violation of the requirements occurs, the probationer will find themselves with a revocation warrant and subject to arrest. In such a situation, you will need to hire a criminal defense attorney near you.
Several restrictions that probationer must follow are:
- Restrictions on movement
- Job Requirements
- Reporting in with their probation officer
- Rules on who they can associate with
- Payment of fees and fines
- & mandatory drug testing
Here, we will discuss probation drug testing procedures and how they affect you if you find yourself under community supervision.
PRO TIP: Wondering if you can still get hired if you fail a drug test? Find out here!
Probation Drug Testing Procedures
The probation rules in Louisiana require a person on probation to submit to a drug test at the discretion of the probation officer who supervises them. What determines how often the test will occur is based on the crime you were convicted of and any suspicion of drug abuse by the probationer.
Some testing can happen as often as once per month or be sporadic throughout the term of probation. The place the test takes place is also up to your probation officer. Once you agree to probation, you have committed to your probation officer’s visits at your home, work, the probationer’s office, or anywhere else they deem fit for the meeting to take place.
This also means the drug test will occur at any of the locations mentioned. Upon completion of the test, your probation officer will have you initial the sealed drug test and keep a chain of custody until it is delivered to a certified laboratory to determine results. At this point you can only wait until the results come back positive or negative.
The Consequences of a Positive Result
If a drug test comes back from the lab with a positive result for drugs in your system, the probation officer will report the results to the court system. At this time, a warrant can be issued for your arrest and detention until a probation hearing takes place. The amount of time you must wait for a probation hearing varies, but be prepared to spend several days in jail until your opportunity comes. Remember, drug charges are a serious crime whether you’re already on probation or not.
When your probation hearing finally arrives, you’ll appear in front of a judge to answer whatever questions they deem necessary. There are several outcomes from the probation hearing involving a violation of a drug test; here are a few:
- The least you can expect is a warning issued. This will depend on the type of drug you had in your system, how far into your probation you are, if you’ve had any prior violations, and what your original conviction was.
- Drug counseling is another option you may be given.
- An increase in your probation time
- Additional fines added
- Additional community service
- The worst cases scenario involves your probation permanently suspended and you remanded to serve time.
As you see, the consequences of failing a drug test during probation have several different outcomes. The problem is, you must always count not the worst of the possibilities and get help.
How to Handle a Probation Hearing
Before you take on a probation hearing before the court, make sure you have representation, as it is your right in Louisiana. No matter how nice your probation officer is, they are not your representation in front of a judge.
By having a lawyer represent you at the hearing, they will better argue for a lesser punishment in front of the judge. Walking into courts and hearings makes most people nervous, and when people get nervous, they tend not to express themselves as they need to. Having an experienced attorney to represent you in a hearing will ensure your message to the judge is heard in a precise and legal way.
Challenging Drug Test Results
One argument your attorney can make on your behalf is to challenge the drug test results themselves. Obtaining all of the laboratory’s documentation, challenging chain of custody, and even making the lab prove proper testing equipment calibrations are fair game to argue.
Hiring the Right Attorney
If you are wondering, do I need a lawyer, well yes. You really do.
When hiring an attorney to represent a probation hearing, make sure you hire one who has experience in representing others in the same venue and practices locally. Local attorneys who work with local courts understand the system they work in and usually know all of the participants personally. This local experience lets them know the nuances and attitudes of judges who you will appear before.
The most important thing is not to attempt to represent yourself. Professional attorneys are there for this purpose and will provide you a better chance of avoiding harsh penalties from a probation violation due to a positive drug test. We recommend Barkemeyer Law Firm of Louisiana for representation.
We hope you understand what are probation drug testing procedures and wish you luck.