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Number One Probation Pitfall

Getting probation means you get to stay out of jail — as long as you follow the terms of your probation. Usually this entails meeting regularly with a probation officer (PO), completing a substance abuse program and performing community service. Oh, and then there is the issue of passing random drug screening tests.

People on probation might miss a PO appointment once in a while, but the most common way to violate probation is to keep failing your drug tests. Drugs such as marijuana take up to 30 days to clear out of your system, so a positive result within 30 days of your arrest should not count against you. However, if long-term testing reveals that you are not following your probation conditions, it is likely that you will get a longer probation, or, worst-case scenario, end up trading probation for jail time.

A word to the wise: attempting to cheat on your drug test is an excellent way to get your probation revoked. You can find many Internet sites with sure-fire methods of altering your drug test results, but testing labs are reading those posts, as well. In response, they have developed heat sensor strips to ensure that urine samples are the correct temperature to guard against people trying to substitute a sample from a drug-free friend. Labs can also detect if you drank massive amounts of water or took some concoction meant to mask the drugs in your system.

At the same time, criminal defense attorneys have seen too many instances where labs come back with a false positive. The best way to get through probation in a timely fashion is to stick to the script — and make sure you do not get hung up on a technicality or erroneous drug test result.

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