Can I be sent to jail for a diluted urinalysis? 3 Answers as of May 19, 2011

I received a misdemeanor charge in 2008 for endangerment of the welfare of a minor. In order to meet the requirements of the law I have to "Demonstrate abstinence" in terms of drugs and alcohol. What is the definition of "demonstrating abstinence" pertaining to the law? I have been in treatment for a year for alcohol use and have done the 12 step program, and I have paid my fines, done a parenting program, and done community service. I haven't received a certificate for my program but have had all negative UA results Jan, Feb, Mar were negative, April was dilute then a week later was negative. Now the DA wants me to spend 90 days in jail, but I don't understand why since I've been completing the treatment. Is this an appropriate call by the DA? What can I do to fight this?

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Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
The obvious implication is that the "dilute" result was an attempt by you to cover what you feared would be a positive result on your UA. In my experience it's hard to prove either way that you did or didn't dilute your sample. Of course that's both good and bad for you and ultimately it's up to the judge whether he believes the lab or believes you. Incidentally, those drug testing labs aren't always the most accurate, especially since most of them just "screen" your urine (in other words test for the presence of controlled substances), they usually don't do a quantitative analysis (so they can't tell the court or the DA how much THC or cocaine or whatever is in there). A quantitative analysis would give the court an idea of whether you're actually ingesting drugs, but like I said, they usually don't do those. This brings us to the concept of "demonstrative abstinence," which is some proof other then your say so that you're not doing drugs or drinking. Reports from your treatment provider will fit the bill, but the problem for you is, so will UAs, which brings you back to the "dilute." The state is going to argue that you drank a whole bunch of water or Goldenseal or something like that and you will say what your version of the event was and the judge will make make the call on what he or she will do.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/19/2011
Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
Dilute UA tests are common for people in drug and alcohol treatment, and often indicate to treatment providers and prosecutors that the subject purposefully drank excessive amounts of liquid in order to mask substance use. I would request the sample be sent to an actual lab to determine scientific lab results. If the sample was only tested with an instant test, the lab testing may be able to give a more accurate result. What the lab will look for is the creatinine level. There is a cut off amount that will indicate whether the urine was flushed with excessive amounts of liquid. Lab testing is always more accurate than instant tests, so demand the agency that collected the sample send it to a lab if it hasn't already done so.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/18/2011
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
A diluted ua is usually argued by the DA to be a positive result for whatever substance is being tested. I would need to know more, but certainly you have a good history of treatment. Even if you did have a drink, your demonstration of compliance is very strong and it is not unusual for a relapse to occur during treatment; it is part of the disease that you are treating. Have any of your treatment providers written anything in your support? You may want to think about hiring an attorney. It may not be possible to keep you out of jail, but whatever the outcome, it will probably be less than if you go in by yourself.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/17/2011
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