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Can You Go to Jail for Failing a Drug Test?

Can you go to prison after failing a drug test? Right now, might your employer already be on the phone to law enforcement?

As well as being a major cause of embarrassment, failing a workplace drug test can cause major stress. After all, what happens now? Will you be fired? Will your employer phone the police?

While it is necessary to take failing a drug test seriously, it’s important not to start panicking.

We’ll look at what is likely to happen in the vast majority of cases

Can You Be Convicted if You Fail a Drug Test?

First, let’s address the big question. Can you go to jail for failing a drug test? As it stands, the simple answer is that this isn’t likely. However, this does depend on the context of a test. In this case, let’s look at a few common testing scenarios.

Drug Test as Part of Employment Pre-Screening

In the United States, it is increasingly common for employers to ask job candidates to submit to a drug test before a final hiring decision is made. If this happens to you and you fail, you likely don’t need to worry.

By failing a test, you can be sure that an employer will not hire you. However, businesses have better things to do than involve law enforcement.

Employers know that false-positive test results can happen. This being the case, unless they run confirmatory tests, you don’t need to worry about police involvement. Involving law enforcement, after all, could give you grounds to sue if test results aren’t accurate.

What If You Fail a Drug Test as an Employee?

Did you already pass a pre-employment drug screening? If so, that’s fantastic. What happens now, though, if you fail a test after you have started work at your new company?

As a general rule, employers won’t snitch you to law enforcement if you fail a workplace drug test. As we have already discussed, doing so can have major legal consequences for employers themselves. However, what happens next, will depend on your employer.

  • Most employers will allow you to request a confirmatory test. Alternatively, some might insist that you take a second test.
  • When employees do test positive for illicit drugs, some employers will request that employees attend a drug education or rehabilitation program.
  • Where employees do attend rehabilitation programs, they should expect to be let go immediately, if they fail future tests.

Sadly, how employers react to employees testing positive for signs of illicit drug use is entirely up to them. Some will give second chances. However, many others won’t.

When Can You Be Prosecuted if You Fail a Drug Test?

Hopefully, it is clear by now that employers usually won’t involve law enforcement when employees fail drug tests. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

  • If employers think that you might be in possession of drugs at work, they may call local police.
  • If you are on probation, employers may be required to let your probation officer know if you fail a drug test.
  • Does your work involve driving or operating heavy machinery? If so, employers may call in law enforcement if they believe you are not 100% sober while working.

What Happens if You Fail a Test on Probation?

In most cases, the only time that you do need to worry about going to jail for failing a drug test is if you are on probation. Thankfully, though, the chances of this happening are usually slim.

Most people who do fail drug tests while on probation are given a warning. This being the case, you will usually only need to worry about going back to jail if you repeatedly fail tests.

Never Take Failing a Drug Test Lightly

Hopefully, we have helped put your mind at ease if you yourself have recently failed a workplace drug test. Whatever you do, though, don’t take failing a test lightly.

Failing drug tests can make it difficult to find future employment. Thankfully, research shows there are ways to detox from weed and remove traces of other drugs in advance of a urine test.

Make no mistake, the only guaranteed way to pass a test is to not use drugs. However, if you are worried about failing a test, make sure to look at ways that you can reduce your chances by detoxing and flushing toxins from your system in advance.

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