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What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test on Probation?

Failed Drug test on probation

If you’re one of the 4.5 million people on probation in the US, you know that remaining drug-free is important, as you’ll likely be subject to random drug tests. Any street drugs are off-limits while you’re on probation and in some cases, you can’t drink alcohol either.

An increasing number of these people on probation are searching ‘what to tell your probation officer when you fail a drug test’ on Google.

So what happens if you fail a drug test on probation? We’ve got the answers for you. Read on to learn more. 

Drug Testing on Probation 

While the specific rules vary by jurisdiction, most probationers must agree to refrain from any drug use as part of their probation conditions. During regular meetings with probation officers, they are often subject to drug tests. You may be tested every time you meet with your probation officer or it could just be random and you must submit to a test at any time while you are on probation.

Typically, the testing is a urine drug test that tests for any illicit substances, like marijuana, opiates, methamphetamine, cocaine, PCP, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, ecstasy, and oxycodone. If you test positive for prescription drugs that you do not have a prescription for, such as pain killers or amphetamines, you could be subject to penalties for a failed drug test. 

What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test on Probation? 

Many people wonder if you can fail your first probation drug test; and the answer is an obvious yes.

But what do you tell your probation officer when you fail a drug test? And if you fail a drug test on probation, will your PO call you?

The penalties for failing a drug test usually increase with severity depending on how many times it has happened (if you fail a drug test on probation for the first time, its likely to be more lenient) before and whether you are following the other conditions of your probation or not. Your probation officer will bring up your failed drug test in your next meeting, they don’t usually call or contact you prior. Some of the possible penalties include: 

A Warning

If it’s your first violation or first failed drug test, your probation officer may simply give you a warning. The warning will go into your probation file and if you fail a drug test once again, your penalties will likely increase. If you receive a warning, it is wise to cease all drug use moving forward. 

Community Service

Another potential penalty could be community service hours. If it’s your first offense, your probation officer might require you to complete community service hours. Even if it is your second offense, your probation officer may still be willing to give you another chance and punish you with community service. 


If it is your second or subsequent offense and you have a clear drug problem, you may be required to complete a drug rehabilitation program. This could be an inpatient program or an outpatient program that you attend while still going to school, work, etc. 

Probation Revocation 

If you continue to violate your probation by failing drug tests, your probation officer may decide to request that your probation is revoked. A judge will make this decision and then they will decide what your punishment will be. Typically, you will have to finish your sentence in jail if your probation is revoked. 

Probation Drug Testing is Serious 

What happens if you fail a drug test on probation? You might end up in jail. Failing to abide by your probation conditions can have serious consequences, especially if violating them is a regular occurrence. 

To do your own testing at home to make sure you are clean, check out our products. Make sure you’ll be successful in completing your probation with our home testing kits.

Order A Test Today!

Order a Test

Whether you are an individual looking to get a drug test done today or an employer looking to get a pre-employment drug test done today, ordering a test online is easier than ever! Just submit your order online, receive your test authorization by email, go to your local clinic to be tested, and receive your test results in 24 to 48 hours.

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