I was arrested and charged with 2nd degree marijuana possession, a misdemeanor, in the state of Alabama. When I went to court I was offered a good behavior (conditional discharge) program, with a Court Recommended Officer (CRO).
This is NOT probation, but CRO and PO are the same person.
I am set to take my first test shortly, and was trying to find more information on the specifics of the "testing".
The individual urinates into a small container and hands the container to the CRO or PO. The CRO or PO then uses a 'dip stick' that changes into one of five colors depending on the substance detected - THC (marijuana), opitates, cocaine, amphetatmines, or alcohol (ethanol). The test is simply a sceening test and not a confirmatory test. (The 'dip stick' is a type of enzymatic test and has an estimated 20% error/ false positive rate.) If the dip stick changes colors, the sample is then sealed and sent to reference laboratory for forensic examination by gas chromatography. The most common lab currently processing urine samples is Redwood Reference Laboratory located in California. That lab uses gas chromatography/mass specteral (GC/MS) instrumentation - fast, but prone to error. There is always the need for confirmatory testing in cases of probation violation based on urine samples.
It is in your best interests to seek the professional services of a qualified criminal defense lawyer, and especially one that has some understanding of forensic analysis. In the Montgomery area, attorney Joe Saloom, a retired DFS crime lab supervisor and "expert" in this type testing, may be your best call.
The specifics of the "test" are outlined by my colleague. However, it is important to remember that the consequences of a "failed" test vary widely from CRO to CRO and from Judge to Judge. I join my colleague's recommendation to seek counsel, but I would advise seeking local counsel. It may be a situation where your situation (assuming you believe you may fail the test) could potentially be worked out behind the scenes, rather than through litigation. Local counsel should be consulted.
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