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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Failing a Drug Test: An IL Crime?

Even in states where drugs have been decriminalized or legalized, like Illinois, people are still sometimes required to submit to drug tests. The results of those tests can impact your life, but the nature of that impact depends on why you’re being tested in the first place.

While the state of Illinois may seem as if it’s lenient on drugs, under state law drug testing is permissible. Employers often drug test employees that are either seeking employment or are currently employed. However, drug tests can be used for a variety of reasons legally, and sometimes those results, if positive, can land you in legal trouble.

Here’s what you need to know about drug testing in Illinois and how it can impact your life.

Drug Testing for Employment in Illinois

There are many companies in Illinois, as well as government agencies, that require drug testing before you can begin employment. Why? For many private employers, the state offers incentives, as does the federal government, to screen employees for drugs before employment. They often get breaks from insurance companies for doing so as well.

Companies set their own guidelines regarding the testing and reporting of employees, but most follow guidelines set by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services to avoid any type of lawsuit in the future.

If you fail a drug test before employment under these guidelines, then things usually stop at the Human Resources department of the employer and criminal consequences are highly unlikely – though you may not get the job.

If you are currently employed and fail a drug test, there may be more dire consequences. However, those consequences might be influenced by why you were given the test in the first place, as well as what you do within the company and how long you’ve worked there.

Failing a drug test is grounds for termination of employment in Illinois. It’s up to the individual employer whether or not you’re given the opportunity to take a second test at a later date or to provide you with the opportunity for addiction treatment in order to keep your job.

Some employers may be required to report the result of the drug test you were given to outside agencies like the unemployment office. There may be no legal consequences, but if you lose your job due to a failed drug test, then you may not be eligible for unemployment.

Drug Testing for Illinois Probation

Often it is a condition of parole or probation for a person to undergo random drug screenings. In these circumstances, a failed test can have legal consequences and can also impact the sentencing handed down for your original offense.

There are several potential consequences to failing a drug test when you’re on supervised release, but ultimately your parole officer will decide what happens to you. You may potentially face:

A Warning

Depending on the reason for your probation, a failed drug test may only result in a warning. However, those who are on probation due to drug crimes can be immediately sent to jail or prison as a result. Typically, one warning is all you are allowed or you can face more significant legal consequences.

Rehabilitation

If you fail a drug test, your probation officer may issue community service hours to be completed. This is usually offered instead of being sent right to jail as a way to rehabilitate you. But if the officer believes you need to go to rehabilitation, then you may be ordered to do that. Refusing to go can result in you being sent to jail.

 

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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