Drug and alcohol testing are a subject most of the population is familiar with today. Employment can often hinge on a positive or negative test result. Within the media, we have heard about failed drug tests by famous athletes or celebrities, and it makes the news. We see examples in movies and on T.V. where someone is confronted by their employer with a plastic cup in a bag for a urine sample. Frequently seen, blood is drawn, hair samples are taken, or fingernails are cut and sent to labs for establishing the presence or absence of illegal substances. Regardless of the method, it has become commonplace in today’s society. More than likely we, or someone close to us, has had to take a drug or alcohol test for one reason or the other.
It is an unfortunate fact that drug and alcohol testing has become one of the more frequent practices in divorce cases, mostly used as a factor in determining conservatorship and possession and access issues to prove or disprove drug and alcohol usage and allegations of substance abuse. New types of testing have been developed to help determine what a person may be using illegally. In family law, drug and alcohol testing can be used by both parties involved. Admission of drug or alcohol abuse is difficult to come by voluntarily, and testing can become a valuable truth serum. If you are a divorcee? and are subject to testing, or want your spouse tested as evidence in your case, you need an experienced family law attorney representing you and your family to evaluate what your specific situation requires.
DRUG TESTING is not as simple as it appears on the surface. There are many nuances and variables, and they must be known and understood to know exactly what a drug test means or does not mean. Some of the most common tests and their applications include:
ALCOHOL TESTING can be just as complicated and serves many purposes in family law.?Frequently used types of alcohol testing in family law include:
In some cases, there will be testimony from an expert regarding the test results. This is frequently conducted in termination cases where there is a higher standard to get test results in evidence. Expert testimony may also be necessary to explain the testing results. The testimony and evidence of the expert must be shown to be relevant and reliable.
REFUSAL TO TEST
If a party refuses to participate in testing during the case, this does not necessarily mean that there is no evidence of illegal drug usage by that party. The court may infer illegal drug usage by a party?s refusal to take a drug test. The Court may also infer illegal drug usage by shaving of head hair or body hair in order to avoid being tested.
If exposed or subject to drug and or alcohol testing ordered by the Court as part of a family law case, seek counsel from a family law professional trusted by North Texas residents. Mark L. Scroggins is a board-certified family law attorney with over 25 years of legal expertise. Scroggins Law Group has 3 DFW area offices, proudly serving Dallas, Denton, and Collin counties. Find us online at www.scrogginslawgroup.com or call to set up a confidential consultation today. 214-469-3100.
The examples referenced in this discussion are all forensic tests, therefore HIPAA regulations do not apply. A forensic test means testing is looking for evidence of the drug and drug metabolites in the specimen to be tested.
*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
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