Drug Testing: Court Ordered, CPS, & Probation

Over the years, a number of people have asked me questions about drug testing. Here I will attempt to address some of the recurring questions I have been asked on this subject:

1) Do I have to submit to urinalysis (“UA”) when the Court, CPS caseworker, or my probation officer, tells me to?

The short answer is: “yes”. Most drugs will leave your urine within 72 hours so when CPS or probation requests a urine test, they will demand that you take the test within a specified time period. Failure to take the test within that time period will be regarded as a “positive” test, (i.e., dirty urine) .

2) How long will marijuana leave detectable traces in my urine?

Depending on your metabolism, marijuana stays in your system for approximately 30 days.  However, I’ve seen it last for almost 45.

3) What if I drink a lot of water to flush out my system?

Extreme fluid intake will change your electrolytes, which will be detected by the urine test. CPS or probation will consider a “diluted negative” test as a “positive”.

4) Do I have to go to the testing facility that CPS or probation requests?

Yes. However, labs are not infallible, and if you have real or serious doubts about the veracity of the test results at the lab you were sent to, you may get your own tests performed at a reputable facility for a comparison. If you decide to do this, make sure that you ask your lab for a “business records affidavit” so that your lawyer can use the results in court. Also, it is important that you take your own test at or about the same time as you take the test demanded by CPS or probation, because, if you don’t, they will argue that your test isn’t a real comparison, and that it is not useful or vaild to dispute the results from their lab’s tests.

5) If I dye or straighten my hair, will that effect the results of a hair follicle exam?


6) If I shave my head, or if I have a weave, will that prevent the lab from being able to test me?

No, they will get hair from another place on your body.

7) What if I shave my body?

They will get hair from where-ever they can. However, if there truly is no hair available, they may consider that a positive.

8)How far back in time will a hair follicle test measure?

Generally, CPS asks for a 3 month look back. However, in some cirumstances a “zero tolerance” test will be ordered, which could go back 6 months or more.

9) What if I can’t pee with someone watching me?

You must try. Pretend that you are alone. A failure to provide a sample may be considered a positive.

10) When it comes to drug testing, is there a difference between head and body hair?

Yes. It’s easier to gauge a 3 month lookback period with head hair. Body hair grows slower, which may increase the lookback period.

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