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How is a CRO drug "test" administered? Do they do a Drug Test, or a Drug Screen? Is this tested on the spot, or sent to lab

Mobile, AL |

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".

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Attorney answers 2


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.



That is exactly what I was looking for. Quite specific and through response! A few follow up questions... 1.) Does this screening test use a 50 ng/ml, 20 ng/ml, or 15 ng/ml cutoff? 2.) Is this screening test comparable to the at home test kits available OTC, or more sophisticated? 3.) Since this is a conditional discharge, and not yet a conviction, will the CRO test be monitored, or supervised?

Patrick Mahaney

Patrick Mahaney


1) The 'dip stick' test will show trace amounts of controlled substances. The confirmatory test is set for 50 ng/ml for ethanol, lesser amounts for other substances. You will have to consult a toxicologist for more specific information. 2) Screening test is validity is unknown. 3) The screening test urine sample must be watched by a person of the same sex (either same sex CRO or a male police officer if the CRO is a female and the subject is a male.)


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.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. The response given is based upon the limited facts presented in the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law in the States of Alabama and Nebraska. Responses are based solely on Alabama law unless stated otherwise. Attorney provides no information with regard to Federal Law except to contact an attorney who is experienced in the Federal Court of relevant jurisdiction. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Brian Joseph Lockwood

Brian Joseph Lockwood


Please DO NOT post that type of information here. You may send me a confidential e-mail.

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