What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test on Probation?

What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test on Probation

A Look at the Consequences of Dirty Drug Tests on Probation

For many offenders, routine drug testing is a staple of their probation if they want to continue living in the community and steer clear of jail time. The problem is that giving up substance use can be complex, and many people may struggle.

But what happens if you fail a drug test on probation?

Purpose Healing Center offers a safe place to land where you can get the help you need to get a clean drug test and stick to the mandatory components of your parole. As always, you can reach out to us to answer your questions and allow us to verify your insurance benefits.

Keep reading for more information on what your probation officer may do with dirty drug tests, and to get proven resources for support to complete probation with our help at Purpose!

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The Potential Consequences from Your Probation Officer for Drug Testing

It likely goes without saying that drug testing is usually a mandatory component of your probation and parole. The question for many people is what the consequences are if you test positive for any sort of substance other than one prescribed by your doctor. Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers for what might come next.

It depends on how many times you have failed your tests, but you might be able to get away with less severe consequences.

Many people who know that they won’t pass a drug test because of, for instance, cocaine or fentanyl being in their system, might decide to be proactive in what comes next for them. They can talk with their probation officer about the possibility of rehab to help maintain sobriety long-term. If you have a long history of substance misuse, they may be very supportive of this idea.

Without intervention of some kind and a willingness to pursue help, you may have parole revoked and return to jail.

What Happens After a First Failed Drug Test on Probation?

Warning After First Failed Drug Test on Probation

In many situations, your first failed drug test will come with less serious consequences compared to dirty tests in the future. Especially if you had no warning about the random drug tests, your probation officer might be willing to let the first failed drug test slide with only a warning and no additional fines and consequences.

The system does have some grace for those who might show residual results from their past drug use, but they will pay close attention to your levels. Results should decrease with subsequent urine tests. If they don’t, then probation officers are more likely to take further action.

What Happens After a Second Failed Drug Test on Probation?

Once you have been informed of random drug testing, you are expected to stay clean. If you fail a drug test more than once, you may suffer consequences unless you can prove you had a rare false positive drug test due to diet and prescription drugs approved by your physician.

The most significant consequence of failing multiple drug tests is that they can revoke probation and issue a warrant for your arrest.

A failing drug test is enough to score you more jail time, and you won’t be able to bail out this time. A probation violation typically makes your incarceration non-bondable until a probation violation hearing. From here, it will be entirely up to the judge what sort of long-term punishment will be issued.

What Happens After a Third Failed Drug Test on Probation?

Third Failed Drug Test on Probation

With every subsequent time you fail a drug test, you will find that there are harsher consequences. Failing a drug test for the third time may be an indicator that you need more help for substance use issues beyond what your probation officer can supply you with.

In this case, a judge may order you to complete a rehabilitation program or to enter into counseling as part of a court-mandated treatment program. Rehab programs may include either an inpatient or an outpatient program depending on what the judge feels is most appropriate for you.

Note that if you refuse this treatment or continue to fail probation drug testing, you will end up with a probation officer who revokes your parole. This could result in jail time, more community service, and other harsher consequences that are designed to deter you from drug use.

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What Happens if You Fail A Drug Test on Probation in Arizona?

Taking a routine drug test as part of your probation is fairly common. We have also often been asked the question about urine testing in our home state regarding what happens if you fail a probation drug test in Arizona?

Our above answers show that one drug test that shows up positive might not be enough to send you back to jail with the revocation of your parole. However, it will be taken seriously by a parole or probation officer. In such a case, offering to attend rehab while on probation can be a proactive way of showing you are serious about getting help.

Suppose you fail more than once, especially with back-to-back drug test failures. In that case, You will likely find yourself with a new court date to determine what the consequences will be when a judge presides over your case, and in most cases waiting for a Judge to hear your violation will be done from a jail cell.

Nearly always, the judge is going to take the advice and opinion of your probation officer into consideration when issuing a sentence. This means that you may want to be honest about the situation with your parole officer. They can advocate for you to get more help for your substance use at a court-ordered rehabilitation program.

Get Evidence-Based Treatment for Substance Abuse at Purpose

Evidence-Based Treatment for Substance Abuse

If your probation officer believes you could benefit from substance abuse treatment instead of another jail sentence, they will want to ensure you enroll in an accredited facility.

You should look for treatment centers that offer evidence-based solutions like Purpose Healing Center.

Inpatient Treatment for Accountability and Support

We offer a robust program that provides you with the help you need to stay sober. Our skilled clinicians offer the best outcome for substance use disorder with treatment modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Both individual and group therapy are used, as well as family therapy.

Plus, we offer community-based support groups that you can continue with after your release such as local Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

While enrolled in our inpatient program, you won’t have the opportunity to use drugs again which can ensure that you test clean on every subsequent drug test. Our client-centered treatment experience gives you the peace of mind you need to move on from drug use.

Outpatient Programs for Less Intensive Care

If you find that you only need minimal care and inpatient isn’t right for you, then our outpatient program could be the right fit. We offer both partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs to support your new sobriety. You will spend your days in our comfortable treatment facility and return to your life and responsibilities in the evenings.

This is a great step down from inpatient or residential care as you prepare to transition back to your daily life. Alternatively, you might find that maintaining employment is part of your probation requirements. This can be a realistic way to get help and still maintain other requirements.

Accredited Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Mental Health

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it isn’t uncommon to find that there is some overlap between substance misuse and mental health issues. One in four adults with serious mental health issues also struggle with substance use.

However, not every treatment facility is equipped to handle both. Purpose Healing Center specializes in dual diagnosis treatment so that you get all of the services you need in one fell swoop.

We offer therapeutic interventions for mood disorders, anxiety, trauma and PTSD, and more. You can rest assured that our medical staff have the best possible outcome in mind. We can offer medication-assisted therapy (that won’t cause you to fail a drug test) and therapeutic interventions.

Comprehensive treatment is essential and we provide exactly what you need to stay sober, stay out of jail, and meet the requirements of your existing probation agreement.

Up To 100% of Rehab Costs Covered By Insurance

Get the Help You Need to Complete Probation at Purpose Today

When you are concerned about the consequences of a failed test, you may want to consider a drug rehabilitation program to help uphold your sobriety and help your case in court or with your PO.

Purpose Healing Center offers a robust inpatient treatment setting that gives you the environment needed to stay clean during your probation period. While you are in our care, you won’t test positive.

To avoid jail time when you fail a drug test, be sure to talk to your probation officer about rehab options. We can help you take the first steps with a free consultation where we go over treatment options and verify your insurance benefits.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you live life sober and maintain clean drug tests on probation!


  1. McHugh, R. K., Hearon, B. A., & Otto, M. W. (2010). Cognitive behavioral therapy for substance use disorders. The Psychiatric clinics of North America, 33(3), 511–525.
  2. Dimeff, L. A., & Linehan, M. M. (2008). Dialectical behavior therapy for substance abusers. Addiction science & clinical practice, 4(2), 39–47.
  3. Mental health and substance use co-occurring disorders. SAMHSA.