close up of hands in handcuffs

Probation Drug Testing

There are many situations where an individual may be required to provide a drug or alcohol test to fulfill a legal requirement that they are or will remain free from illegal substance use or alcohol abuse. With probation drug testing, a drug court, probation officer, or parole officer may require drug testing if it’s uncertain that an individual will maintain their sobriety, as a part of a criminal sentencing agreement. Drug and alcohol testing are also utilized in legal battles involving child custody, divorce cases, and in DUI or DWI cases.

Court-ordered drug and alcohol testing for probation is standard with federal probation, county probation, and drug courts across the United States. Probation drug testing started back in the 1960s as a part of treatment programs and aid in identifying heroin users in need of treatment and then monitoring their progress. Since then, pretrial programs have inquired about drug and alcohol use in their interviews of defendants, believing that such information is useful to judicial officers when determining conditions of release.

Probation drug and alcohol testing programs vary across the United States. Programs often depend on your history, compliance with any requirements or terms, and trust with your probation officer; all of which will help determine how often they'll drug test you. If there is any suspicion of your activity, a parole officer may elect to drug test you every time you come in.

If you are facing probation, it's essential to refrain from any drug use if you are convicted of a crime. Probation is usually the result of a plea deal. The court may see a reason to grant you a second chance. A probation officer must make sure you are successfully sticking to those guidelines and don’t return to the system. It’s essential to be upfront and honest with your parole officer and comply with any requirements they impose. If you develop a trusting relationship and are honestly trying to reform, the office and courts must help, not hinder.

At US Drug Test Centers, we have customer service representatives standing by to take your order for your drug or alcohol test and have your specimen collected quickly and conveniently at any of our more than 20,000 testing centers throughout the United States. Call 866-566-0261 to order your drug test today!

urine cup for probation drug testing

What Tests are Used for Probation Drug Testing?

Probation drug and alcohol tests will vary depending on the regulations of each state or county. Also, court-ordered drug testing sometimes hinges on the severity of the offense and the drug user’s history with misuse. In the case of probation drug testing, the probation officer may decide how often to drug test an individual based on the history of that person to maintain sober. If you are or someone you know is legally required to submit to drug testing, you might be wondering what kind of drug tests that courts use.

An individual’s probation officer will provide guidance on what test you should order, or in most cases will require an individual to take a specific testing panel. Courts most often use urine, hair, breath, or blood to screen for drug and alcohol use. The most frequently used probation drug tests are:

  • 5 panel drug test which will screen for cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines, and opiates; alcohol is usually added to this panel for probation drug testing.
  • 10 panel drug test which will screen for cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines, opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, and methaqualone; alcohol is usually added to this panel for probation drug testing.
  • Expanded opiates testing can be added to the 5 panel drug test and the 10 panel drug test. The expanded opiates will test for: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. Trade names for these expanded opiate drugs include:
    • Hydrocodone: Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, Hycodan
    • Hydromorphone: Dilaudid
    • Oxycodone: Endocet, Endodan, Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin, OxyFast, OxyIR, Roxicet, Tylox
    • Oxymorphone: Numorphan

Many of these ‘expanded opiates’ are abused to achieve a heroin-like, euphoric high.

Random Drug Test Programs for Individuals on Probation

Individuals that have problems with the law are often required by courts to have random drug and alcohol testing. Court-ordered testing may be conducted randomly or on a scheduled basis. Typically, probationary testing is conducted at random to prevent the probationer from preparing for the test by flushing their system, substituting a sample, or planning to adulterate the specimen. In many situations, a mix of both random and regular testing is most effective.

Imagine you get arrested for DUI, go to court, and as a result of sentencing, you get probation. The judge or probation officer orders weekly drug testing, which must be conducted at random and must be unannounced. You will need the help of a professional and experienced company to schedule these tests, or you might have to call in every day and check your “color status” (see below) to see if you are required to test on any given day.

drinking and driving

US Drug Test Centers customer service representatives are standing by to assist with scheduling unannounced random drug and alcohol testing quickly and conveniently at one of our more than 20,000 locations across the United States. Call 866-566-0261 to order your drug test today!

When using US Drug Test Centers for your probation or court-ordered drug testing, you can be confident that we will send results to your probation officer or court officer. We can also send you a copy of your results.

Random Color Code System

A popular method used by probation courts to determine who and when someone should be required to complete a drug and/or alcohol test is through “random color code systems.” An individual on probation will be assigned a specific color and will be required to call into the probation courts every single day. A recorded message will inform an individual on which color(s) must report to a collection site for a random drug and/or alcohol test. Individuals selected must report that same day immediately without exception if your color is chosen. If an individual does not report for their drug and/or alcohol test, they will be found in violation of the terms of their probation.

What if I am on vacation when my color is chosen?
Exceptions for testing immediately are very rarely made by the probation courts. But don’t start stressing, this is not a problem if you are in the United States, as US Drug Test Centers operates testing centers in all across the country. If you are planning on leaving the country, you must make get prior approval and make arrangements with your probation officer well in advanced.

My probation department does not have a color system.
As an alternative, some probation systems leave it up to you to find a random monitoring service. US Drug Test Centers has the tools, technology, and expertise to coordinate a random testing monitoring system to meet your screening requirements. On a random basis, US Drug Test Centers will call you on the morning on any given day that you will be required to test. Our internal system randomly sets the testing dates based on your probation screening requirements. If we call you and you don’t report for testing that same day, that will likely be documented as a failure to report for testing and can lead to further consequence from violating the terms of your probation.

probation drug testing

Probation Drug Testing Procedures

Periodic probation drug testing is usually court-mandated for offenders who are granted the opportunity for probation versus serving jail time. A probation officer will determine which drug testing method to use based upon the offender's history, past drug-related offenses, and the options granted to them by the court.

The procedures for probation drug testing are usually a common practice in federal and county probation systems. Random drug testing is often utilized as a potential deterrent against crime and as a useful tool to help an individual get clean and stay drug-free.

Individuals on probation are closely monitored by their parole officers and are required to undergo random drug and alcohol testing regularly to determine their compliance with the conditions set by the courts. For those who are unfamiliar with the process or will have to go through the process of probation drug testing, here are a few of the basics.

Probation drug testing procedures are as follows:

  1. An individual is placed on parole and ordered to submit to random drug and/or alcohol testing.
  2. A county parole officer will notify the individual (in various ways) that they must complete a drug test immediately.
  3. The individual will order a drug &/or alcohol test, report to the nearest drug testing collection location, and provide their specimen.
  4. Any further course of action will depend on the drug test result received from the laboratory.

Complying with these conditions can prove to be difficult for some people, especially those who are dealing with the withdrawal symptoms of drug use along with challenging living and/or limited transportation situations. US Drug Test Centers has more than 20,000 locations across the country and provide among the most affordable, quick, and convenient methods of maintaining compliance within the correctional system.

US Drug Test Centers Has the Most Comprehensive 5 and 10-Panel Drug Tests on the Market Today

Drug testing that is court-ordered or is ordered on a pre-trial basis depends on the offense and how severe a punishment one is facing. One can be subject to tests that can have five panels or more. Five and ten-panel drug tests are standard, and they can also be expanded to detect opiates. The variety of testing options makes drug screening more efficient because you can screen for as many substances at once as required.

A 10-panel test can cover amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine, opiates, marijuana (THC), and methadone, among others. The substances that are tested for the most with probation drug testing are marijuana, cocaine, PCP, opiates, amphetamines, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines.

From a legal standpoint, the U.S. Department of Justice noted that “Decided cases show that there are four general requirements for the validity of probation and parole conditions.” Which includes, “the condition must be constitutional, the condition must be clear, the condition must be reasonable, and the condition must be reasonably related to the protection of society and/or the rehabilitation of the individual.”

How often you’ll be tested depends on a court’s judgment and the level of trust you build with your probation officer.

Our 5-panel drug test and 10-panel drug test include additional specimen validity testing and also testing for methamphetamines and MDMA – ecstasy and 6-Acetylmorphine (6 AM), which is the metabolite of heroin.

It's crucial that you ask the probation office or the court system what drug testing panel is required and whether alcohol testing is required. If alcohol testing is required, be sure to clarify if it's to be a urine alcohol test, a blood alcohol test, or a breath alcohol test. For alcohol testing, always ask if EtG alcohol testing is required. It's crucial that you get detailed information as to what type of alcohol test is required.

Many times, the court system or probation department will also require expanded opiates or testing for pain medications as part of the required drug test.

These expanded opiate tests can be ordered as follows:

The 5-panel drug urine test with expanded opiates typically looks for cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines, and opiates (including heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and Oxycodone).

The 10-panel drug urine test with expanded opiates typically looks for cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, methaqualone, and opiates (including heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and Oxycodone).

At US Drug Test Centers, we have customer service representatives standing by to take your order for your drug or alcohol test and have your specimen collected quickly and conveniently at any of our more than 20,000 testing centers throughout the United States. Call 866-566-0261 to order your drug test today!

Hair Drug Testing

Probation drug testing may include hair drug testing. You need hair on your head or your body, arms, or legs to be eligible for hair drug testing. Some of our facilities will require head hair, so please let our drug testing specialists know whether or not you have at least 1.5 inches of hair on your head.

US Drug Test Centers has the most comprehensive menu of hair follicle testing:

  • Hair test 5 panel - Amphetamines (Methamphetamine, Ecstasy, MDMA, and MDA), cocaine, opiates (codeine, morphine, and heroin), PCP, and marijuana.
  • Hair test 5 panel plus expanded opiates and OXY - Amphetamines, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), marijuana, and opiates (codeine, morphine, heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone).
  • Hair test 9 panel - Cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, oxycodone, and opiates (including codeine, morphine, heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone).
  • Hair test 12 panel - Cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, tramadol, meperidine, oxycodone, and opiates (including codeine, morphine, heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone).

Drug Detection Windows

The detection times for most drugs of abuse will vary based on many factors such as the type of drug used, the amount uses, the potency of the drug, an individual’s body type, heath conditions, metabolism, exercise, water intake, etc.

Urine Testing - A urine test is the most common form of drug testing. A urine test can show traces of drug use even after the effects of the drug has worn off. Average detection time for drug testing via urine is 1-2 days and up to 30 days from last use (marijuana has the longest detection period).

Hair Testing - Hair tests provides an extended detection window for drugs of abuse and an increased level of difficulty to adulterate a sample. Hair testing will show drug use from approximately a week and up to 90 days of last use of an illicit substance.

Alcohol Detection Windows

Somewhere between 90 and 95 percent of the alcohol that a person consumes is broken down by your liver. A small amount is expelled through a person’s breath and sweat. The remaining 1 to 2 percent is excreted through your urine.

Alcohol will usually be present in a person’s urine specimen within one-hour of consuming, and alcohol typically remains detectable for up to 12 hours. The actual timeframe may vary by person, depending on several factors, including your weight, health, gender, and the amount and potency of alcohol consumed.

The alcohol content in urine is sometimes utilized to estimate an individual's blood-alcohol content. The amount of alcohol in a person’s urine is approximately 1.33 times greater than the amount of alcohol in their bloodstream. To ensure the accuracy of this method, a minimum of two urine specimens are usually collected 30 minutes to one-hour apart. While alcohol itself has a relatively short detection window of only a few hours, specific alcohol biomarkers or byproducts remain in the body for several hours or days.

A common alcohol byproduct, ethyl glucuronide (EtG), can be detected in a urine specimen for up to three days after an individual's last alcoholic drink. Some laboratories will choose to screen urine specimens for ethyl sulfate (EtS), another biomarker that indicates recent alcohol use.

These two forms of alcohol tests are used by courts to see if an individual on probation is in full compliance with requirements that they remain free from all alcohol use. Some substance abuse programs or rehabilitation programs also use these test methods to monitor individuals throughout their treatment and to identify a potential relapse.

chart of alcohol urine detection windows in hours

The Potential Downside of Urine Alcohol Testing

While EtG and EtS alcohol urine tests provide a much longer detection window for alcohol use, these screening methods may have some drawbacks.

These specialized testing methods may not be as widely available as a standard urine screening for ethanol, and it may cost more to conduct these types of test. EtG/EtS testing are unable to quantify exactly how much alcohol an individual consumed. This method of testing may also be unable to differentiate between ethanol from the consumption of alcoholic beverages versus the exposure to alcohol from other (likely legal) products, such as some mouthwashes, body sprays, insecticides or hand sanitizers.

What Happens if I Fail a Probation Drug Test?

In most cases, if you fail your first drug screen (the "baseline"), you likely won’t be penalized, assuming that the time frame of the test falls under the specific guidelines of when you were notified of your testing requirements. Your probation officer and the courts will likely require that any further test show a decrease in drug level(s) from that original baseline test. If your next test shows a higher level or new drug, you will be penalized accordingly.

Attempting to adulterate or substitute their drug testing specimen in order to avoid detection during random drug testing is a severe offense. The court will very likely consider any attempt to cheat a drug test as a serious violation of an individual’s parole, equal in measure to failing as a result of drug use.

Individuals that are being required to test may resort to the use of herbs and other detoxifying liquids or products to mask their drug or alcohol use. However, modern drug screening practices include the ability to identify any attempts to adulterate or otherwise cheat a test. Laboratories routinely stay in tune and adjust their screening process with any new products that are made available claiming to “beat a drug test.”

It has become a very standard process for drug testing collectors to identify if a urine sample has been altered, diluted, substituted or otherwise been tampered. A urine specimen can easily be identified if it has altered by determining its creatinine, specific gravity, and pH levels. Urine samples that are odd colored will draw scrutiny from the drug testing collector as an indication that the sample has been diluted or altered. It is nearly impossible to get away with cheating these days. Individuals should take drug and alcohol testing seriously if they want to remain in the good graces of the court.

Refusal to Take a Drug Test While on Probation

An individual refusing or unwilling to provide a specimen for random drug or alcohol testing will be liable for any legal consequences up to and including removal from their probation terms for failing to comply with all court-ordered requirements.

States may have different rules or consequences for those that fail to comply with drug and alcohol testing requirements but violating probation could potentially lead to you being sent to finish the rest of your sentence in jail. If you find yourself in this situation, you should engage in the help of your legal counsel.

Who Can Benefit From Drug or Alcohol Testing From US Drug Test Centers?

  • Law enforcement agencies required drug and alcohol testing
  • Last Chance Agreements required drug and alcohol testing
  • Drug court participants with requirements for drug and alcohol testing
  • DUI and DWI offenders required drug and alcohol testing
  • Probation and parole required drug and alcohol testing

At US Drug Test Centers, we take your requests for probation drug and alcohol testing seriously. Our drug testing specialists will carefully work with you to provide exactly what you need. US Drug Test Centers is conveniently located in every city in the United States, with more than 20,000 locations. Completing a drug or alcohol test is always quick and convenient. Simply call 866-566-0261 to order your drug test today.