Can You Go To Jail For Failing A Drug Test?

Getting arrested and sent to jail can be a scary prospect for anyone. So can you go to jail for failing a drug test that was mandated by an employer, court, or probation officer? Could failing a simple drug screening end up landing you behind bars? 

While protocols differ across jurisdictions, a failed drug test alone does not typically result in jail time. However, it could spur legal consequences like probation revocation or occupational sanctions. 

Before panicking, it’s important to understand the context and potential outcomes. With knowledge and preparation, a failed drug test does not have to lead to time in jail. This complicated issue deserves a thoughtful exploration beyond knee-jerk assumptions.

In this article, we will learn about what could be the outcomes when you fail a drug test as an employee in the US.

Can You Go To Jail For Failing A Drug Test?

If you are wondering if you can go to jail for failing a drug test then you should know that it depends on many things.

Can You Go To Jail For Failing A Drug Test

Failing a drug test alone does not typically result in jail time. However, it can lead to legal consequences that ultimately end in jail time. Let me explain further.

If an employer or school requires a drug test, failing will not land you in jail. At most, you may face occupational sanctions like being fired or expelled. The same holds true for personal drug tests not mandated by the court.

Now, if the court orders a drug test as part of probation or parole and you fail, that’s different. Violating probation terms can result in jail time at the discretion of your probation officer or judge. The same is true while on parole.

Additionally, being under the influence of drugs when committing a crime can result in harsher penalties like jail time. The failed drug test can be used as evidence even if the test wasn’t ordered by the court.

The bottom line is that context matters. Failing a random workplace or personal drug test alone will not send you to jail. However, failing a legally mandated test as part of probation or parole can. Since it violates the terms of release. Be aware of your situation before panicking about a failed drug test.

What Happens When You Test Positive on a Drug Test?

The consequences really depend on why the drug test was required in the first place. We have many kinds of situations and they all have different outcomes when you fail a drug test. To be more concise, let’s have a look at the top reasons for drug testing and their consequences after a failure.

Failed Drug Test as an Employee

If it’s for an employer, failing will likely mean you won’t get hired or could be fired if already employed. Some employers may offer a second chance and require rehabilitation. So there are no legal charges against you if you get a positive result at an employer’s drug testing.

Failed Drug Test as a Student

For schools, a positive drug test may lead to suspension, expulsion, or required counseling. However, this can also impact your extracurricular activities. Also, there is no legal action waiting for you when you get a positive result here.

Failed a Parole Drug Test

Parole comes with strict conditions that parolees must adhere to in order to remain out of prison. One common mandatory condition is abstaining from illegal drugs or alcohol and submitting to random drug testing. If you fail one of these drug tests while on parole, it is considered a violation of your parole terms.

There are a few things that could happen if you violate parole by failing a drug test:

  • Your parole officer may issue a formal warning and require you to attend substance abuse counseling. You may also be subject to more frequent drug testing.
  • The parole board could decide to revoke your parole and require you to return to prison to complete your original sentence. Also, how long you’ll be re-incarcerated depends on factors like your criminal history and the severity of the violation.
  • In some cases, new criminal charges could be filed against you for substance possession if the violation is severe enough. This could mean additional jail time getting tacked onto your original sentence.
  • At a minimum, failing a parole drug test will extend your time on parole because you broke the terms of your supervised release.

The consequences largely depend on factors like the original crime, criminal background, and severity of the violation. But violating any parole condition is taken very seriously. Testing positive for drugs while on parole should be avoided at all costs, or you may find yourself back behind bars.

Failed a Regular Medical Drug Test

If testing positive while being medically treated, your doctor may alter your treatment plan, prescribe rehabilitation, or stop prescribing controlled substances.

In all cases, a positive drug test means further action will be taken depending on the situation. There are usually consequences beyond just the test failure itself. Knowing the context and potential outcomes can help you make the best decisions regarding drug use and testing.

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