What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test After a DUI?

One of the things that many people who operate a motor vehicle fail to realize is that driving in America is a privilege, not a right. To that point, if you’re caught operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, your driving privileges can be revoked. Even worse, depending on the circumstances involved, you could potentially face jail time. This is especially true if you were involved in an accident as a result of drinking and driving. In all states, driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. Law enforcement will make this determination if an individual suspected of driving while under the influence fails one or more field sobriety tests.


Despite the dangers associated with doing so, more than 1 million Americans are arrested every year for driving under the influence, according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). To determine whether or not an individual should be arrested for DUI, law enforcement will advise them to perform a series of field sobriety tests, some of which include

  • Walking in a straight line
  • Balancing on one leg
  • Reciting the alphabet
  • Tracking a beam of light using their eyes

While these tests can help confirm an officer’s suspicions when it comes to whether or not an individual has been drinking, most will take things a step further by also administering a breathalyzer test, which is used to measure the alcohol content in an individual’s blood. If all of these tests confirm that an individual has been drinking and driving, they will then be arrested and charged with a DUI.


There are a variety of penalties associated with a DUI conviction, such as having one’s driving privileges suspended, mandatory jail time, probation, or having to complete community service. In some cases, those who have been convicted of a DUI may be required to complete court-ordered addiction recovery treatments, which can include the following:

  • Inpatient treatments
  • Outpatient treatments
  • A medical detox program
  • Joining an alcohol support group

More often than not, while an individual is undergoing court-ordered addiction recovery treatments following a DUI conviction, they will be placed on probation, which often includes mandatory drug and alcohol testing. Generally speaking, an individual will need to complete all aspects of their court-ordered addiction recovery treatments and remain alcohol-free to avoid jail time and to have their driving privileges reinstated.


If you have been ordered to undergo addiction recovery treatments in lieu of jail time, you should avoid testing positive for alcohol as these test results would be relayed to your probation officer as well as the judge who ordered addiction recovery treatments, which can result in having your probation extended. You may also be required to attend even more AA meetings. Further, a failed test will make having your driving privileges reinstated even more difficult. Of course, this is a best-case scenario. There is always a chance that the judge will order a court hearing whereby he or she will decide if your probation should be revoked. If it gets to this point, you will invariably be looking at jail time.


When an addiction recovery facility notifies your probation officer that you have tested positive for alcohol, he or she will schedule a court date whereby you will have to appear before a judge, typically the same one that ordered you to undergo addiction recovery to avoid jail time. During this time, you will have an opportunity to prove whether or not the test was flawed or explain why you decided to consume alcohol. The judge will carefully review the information presented to them and ultimately decide whether you should be let off with a warning or if your probation should be revoked. Having your probation revoked will mean that you have to spend the remainder of your sentence in jail. Beyond that, you will also have your driving privileges suspended for 6 to 12 months, which, by the way, goes into effect after you have completed your sentence.

In summation, driving under the influence endangers not only your life but also the lives of others. Doing so can also result in losing your driving privileges and possible jail time. If you believe that you have a problem with alcohol, you’re encouraged to schedule a consultation with one of our addiction experts today at 844-639-8371.

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