Will You Go to Jail if You Fail a Drug Test in NYC?

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Will You Go to Jail if You Fail a Drug Test in NYC?


NYC employers often require drug tests both prior to employment and during the course of employment. 

There are other times you may be required to take a drug test as well, such as when you’re on probation, when you’re on parole, when you’re under investigation by CPS, or when you’re in the middle of a divorce.

Each of these drug tests can lead to different outcomes if you happen to fail them. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Employment-Based Drug Testing

Failing a pre-employment drug test rarely leads to criminal charges. It usually just leads to the employer choosing not to hire you. While the employer theoretically could report you to the police, few do. 

If you’re on the job things might be different, especially if employers have reason to believe you’re using drugs on the job. 

In either case, however, it’s up to the discretion of the employer, and you should be careful. 

Note: New York state employers may not test employees for cannabis

CPS & Family Court Drug Testing

If you test positive on a CPS drug test, then you may receive restrictions from the family court that limit your ability to contact your children. The court may choose to terminate your parental rights. 

However, a CPS caseworker cannot charge you with a crime. The investigation is a civil one, not a criminal one. That doesn’t mean that a CPS worker might not drop a tip to a police officer. 

Note that you can require CPS to obtain a court order before asking you to take a drug test.  However, refusing the drug test could mean the children get removed from your home. 

In addition, pregnant people are often tested at hospitals on a routine basis. If the test comes back positive, the hospital often calls CPS, which can lead to a battle to keep the baby. If you lose the baby, they might then call the police. Often, you won’t even realize you’ve been subjected to a drug test. 

The same is true in family court: it’s a civil investigation and not a criminal one. The effect will be on your ability to get custody of your kids, not on whether or not you are arrested on possession charges. 

Probation & Parole Drug Testing

Probation is an alternative to going to jail in some criminal cases, and avoiding alcohol and drugs is a condition of most probation sentences. You will be subject to regular drug testing as a result.

If you fail then you could easily be arrested for violating the terms of your probation.

The same is true if you are out on parole. Your parole officer can literally show up in the middle of the night and require you to take one. If you’re lucky you’ll receive a warning for an initial violation, but you shouldn’t push your luck. 

Get Help Today

If you have failed a drug test there’s always the chance that someone who knows about the results will call the police. If you think you’re about to be arrested on a possession charge, be sure to keep our number on speed dial.

We can help you mitigate the consequences of your arrest, and can help you undermine any drug test evidence the police may obtain. We know that some drug tests are erroneous, and produce false positives.

Contact us to get started today.

See also:

What is a SCRAM Bracelet? 

What is NYC Drug Treatment Court?

What is the Difference Between Possession & Possession With Intent in NYC? 


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