Failing a Drug Test on Probation


What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test on Probation?

A failed drug test while on probation can result in a warrant for your arrest, jail time, additional probation time, additional terms and conditions, more money, and a conviction.

Two Paths to Probation

If you are on probation in Texas, one of two things has happened:

  1. You received Deferred Adjudication and are serving a probation term. Successful completion will result in your case being dismissed and no conviction appearing on your record (go here to find out more about potentially “sealing” your record); or
  2. You received some type of sentence for your offense and that sentence has been probated for a period of time (for example, you may have been sentenced to 6 months in the county jail, but the sentence is probated for a period of 18 months).

Drug Testing on Probation

Everyone on probation in Texas is susceptible to being drug tested. Sometimes the judge orders random or regular drug testing. However, a probation officer may test any at any time for any reason.

While conditions will vary from county to county, in Bexar County probationers are not allowed to drink alcohol – even if you’re over 21 years old, and even if you’re on probation for something that has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.

Ignition Interlock, SCRAM, & Smart Start Mobile

In addition to your other terms and conditions, you might have a monitoring device like the ones listed above. The consequences for skipping one of these tests, or having a high or positive reading from one of these devices is just as bad as failing a drug test.

What Happens if a Violation Report is Submitted?

In Bexar County, Violation Reports are handled differently from court to court. Some judges are more lenient than others. If you know your probation officer is going to submit a violation report to the court, you need to contact an attorney ASAP.

Motion to Revoke Probation

A failed drug test or Violation Report from a monitoring device can result in a Motion to Revoke Probation (MTR). Once an MTR is filed, a warrant is issued for your arrest.

This is bad for a number of reasons, the first of which is that you are not immediately notified. It requires you to post another bond, which means more time and more money.

Failed Drug Test Consequences

If the State doesn’t file an MTR in your case, the probation department may make a recommendation to add additional terms and conditions of your probation.

This could mean taking regular drug tests instead of every-now-and-then drug tests. It could also mean having an ankle monitor like the SCRAM device.

What to do if you Failed a Drug Test while on Probation?

Schedule a free, confidential consultation today. It is critical to stay one step ahead of the State in these situations. Being proactive can mitigate the consequences, and in some cases, prevent the issuance of an arrest warrant. Learn more.  


Trey Porter is a dynamic advocate, nationally recognized for his work in Criminal Defense. He has been voted by his peers as a best lawyer in the field of Criminal and DWI Defense every year since 2015. Recognized by SuperLawyers, Mr. Porter has also been distinguished as a Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Porter holds a Superb rating from AVVO, where attorneys are rated based on skillful litigation, client satisfaction, peer endorsements, and positive results. Learn more.

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Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.



Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.



Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.


DWI 2nd

Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.



Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.



Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.

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