In The News

In The News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Testing Positive For Marijuana While On Probation Does Not Mean Use Was Recent

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Drug Crimes, Josh Covert, Medical Marijuana

Attorney Joshua Covert of the Nichols Law firm recently represented a client who was facing a probation violation.  The client called the Nichols Law firm looking for an attorney who was familiar with urine drug testing and marijuana.  The client was represented by another attorney at the time but felt that the attorney didn’t believe that the positive test did not equate with recent use.  The client was confident that they had not used marijuana while on probation and insisted that the test was not accurate.  Mr. Covert listened to the client and then explained that he understood that a positive test does not equate to recent use and that he needed to look at the lab reports for all of her drug tests to examine the THC and creatinine levels.   Creatinine is a naturally occurring substance in the urine that is used to determine the validity if a sample.  The client provided the lab reports to Mr. Covert and he immediately noticed something important:  the positive test was the result of dehydration. 

When urinalysis lab reports contain both the THC levels and the creatinine levels it is important to interpret the two as a ratio.  Only upon analyzing the ratio can one make any predictions in regard to recent use. If a test subject has not used marijuana it is expected that the ratio will decrease by half every 7 to 10 days.  If the creatinine levels are increased due to dehydration it is expected that the THC levels will increase as well.  In this case, the “positive” sample contained creatinine levels far above any of the previous tests. Mr. Covert pulled out his calculator and crunched the numbers and low and behold the levels were decreasing. 

Mr. Covert then appeared in court for his client and explained to the prosecutor that the lab reports did not indicate recent use and then pointed out the decreasing ratios.  The prosecutor then agreed to discuss the ratios and the results of the test with the lab who analyzed the sample.  Mr. Covert then a few weeks later received a call from the prosecutor who told Mr. Covert that she had discussed the lab results with the lab analyst and that the lab analyst agreed that the “positive” sample was not in fact indicative of recent use.  The prosecutor then agreed to dismiss the probation violation.

If you are on probation and are required to submit to drug testing, don’t assume a positive test indicates recent use.  Call the Nichols Law Firm and speak with attorneys who are familiar with drug testing science.  Call 517-432-9000.

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.