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Positive Drug Tests and Probation Violations in Tennessee

A positive drug test may result in a probation violation under Tennessee law. I was in court recently in Williamson County and watched a probation violation hearing take place before my hearing. It involved a sweat patch drug test system by Alcopro. It's the first case I have seen with this drug test. The concept is that it catches the sweat then they send the patch off for testing. According to the Alcopro website, the patch undergoes a gas chromatography mass spectrometry test.

The interesting thing is, I heard no information about the chain of custody for the test or the results of the GC-MS confirmation test. A guy with four to six hours of training testified as an expert witness. It was stipulated he was an expert. The end result was the guy went to jail for several failed drug screens.

Here is the takeaway. No affidavit of the drug test was admitted pursuant to T.C.A. 40-35-311(c)(1). To be admissible, the drug test must have an affidavit which includes the following;

  1. The identity of the certifying technician;
  2. A statement of qualifications from the certifying technician;
  3. A specific description of the testing methodology;
  4. A statement that the method of testing was the most accurate test for this particular drug;
  5. A certification that the test results were reliable and accurate;
  6. A declaration that all established procedures and protocols were followed; and
  7. A statement that submission of false information in the affidavit may subject the affiant to prosecution for the criminal offense of perjury.

In this particular case, no such affidavit was submitted. I have used this statute to keep out drug tests during hearings before the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

Remember, use the law to your advantage, and keep junk science that is not supported by the required affidavit out of the courtroom. Don't risk going to jail for a failed drug test to a state or county probation. Call us to help. Visit www.McKinneylawfirm.com for more information.

There will be a follow up tomorrow regarding two other protections.

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