Decatur, AL asked in Criminal Law for Alabama

Q: Is it constitutional to be made to take a drug test the day of court

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1 Lawyer Answer
Christopher Weaver
Christopher Weaver
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: This really depends on a few things, including but not limited to: the reason for the court date, any plea agreements, whether you are on probation, and a host more potential issues. Here's a scenario:

Andy is charged and found guilty of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance. He is granted probation. The Probation Officer discovers that Andy is trying to adulterate or compromise a urine sample, and the officer arrests Andy and places him in the county jail. It's now time for Andy's court date. Can the judge who granted him probation demand a urine sample?

Given normal circumstances, yes. Andy failed to provide a sample at the probation officer's instruction. The probation officer is an officer of the court. Additionally, his violating his probation agreement by adulterating his urine would likely have been done for a reason, and as he is not in prison per a judge's order, that same judge who granted him probation can demand that Andy test, presuming she sees reason to do so.

What if Andy had done nothing wrong? He's still on probation, so the court can bring him in to drug test. Whether he has to submit to this test is a bit questionable. I'd ere on the side of caution and say yes, only because he is a probationer, and many of his constitutional rights are on hold. Now, if Andy wasn't on probation, and he was told by a judge to drug test at the pretrial date regarding a case about....i don't know, stolen shoelaces or something, can the judge do that? I know a judge who will do that without hesitation, and her rationale is that it would be a violation of that person's bond if he was dirty, so she is looking into whether the client violated his bond. I whole heartedly disagree with her in this area, in that the judge is a finder of law and potential finder of fact, she is not the person gathering the evidence though. Her acting so in this capacity goes beyond the parameters that her position allows.

Long story short, it depends on a lot of different factors.

I hope I didn't confuse you more.

CW

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