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Can drug tests give a false positive?

by | Dec 17, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Most people in New York treat drug tests as infallible to the point that your employment can hinge on whether you pass a drug test. However, drug tests aren’t as infallible as many people would like to believe, and if you receive a false positive, your career and reputation might be at stake.

Can a drug test have a false positive?

Virtually any drug test has the potential to give a false positive. For example, bagels have been known to cause false positives since poppy seeds contain trace amounts of morphine. Prescription drugs like Zoloft and ibuprofen can also cause false positives in drug tests. Even certain types of tea have been known to cause false positives.

Despite this, drug tests are frequently used as evidence when an individual is being charged with drug crimes. A false positive can result in someone being convicted for a crime that he or she didn’t commit. On a lesser scale, it could cause someone to lose his or her job or be denied employment. A person might also be kicked off a sports team, receive unnecessary medical treatment, or even be accused of violating probation.

What should you do if you’re dealing with a false positive?

If you’ve received drug charges because of a false positive, you’re being punished for a crime that you didn’t commit. You’ll need solid evidence to prove that the test was flawed and that the charges should be dropped. An attorney might be able to challenge the test in court, pointing out that you consumed certain foods or that prescription drugs may have caused the false positive. An attorney might also point out that the test was administered improperly or that the officer violated your rights when he or she forced you to take a drug test. With legal assistance, your charges may be reduced or dropped altogether.