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Ask Jim Reilly Your Own Question

Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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HOW LONG CAN A URINE SAMPLE FOR A DRUG TEST BE STORED BY A

Customer Question

HOW LONG CAN A URINE SAMPLE FOR A DRUG TEST BE STORED BY A PROBATION OFFICE BEFORE SHIPPING IT TO THE LABORATORY, FOR THE URINE SAMPLE TO BE STILL VALID AND BE ABLE TO DETECT DRUGS?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 5 years ago.
If properly sealed and refrigerated, a urine sample will keep for up to six months. Properly sealed and frozen, up to a year.

I would expect any probation office to have the proper materials and facilities to maintain urine samples long enough for them to still be testable by a qualified lab.

Jim Reilly
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
IS THERE A LAW REQUIRING THE PROBATION OFFICE TO SHIP THE SAMPLE QUICKLY TO A LAB? MY WIFE IS IN JAIL BECAUSE OF AN ICUP POSITIVE(THERE WAS A FAINT LINE FOR OPIATES) THE PROBATION OFFICE IS SAYING THAT THEY ARE WAITING ON THE RESULTS FROM THE LAB. I CALLED THE LAB AND THEY NEVER RECEIVED THE SAMPLE. I THINK THAT SOMEBODY IS LYING TO ME AND MY LAWYER.WHAT DO WE DO?
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 5 years ago.
The testing of urine samples is a procedural matter ... there is no law requiring that the sample be analyzed within any particular period of time.

The iCup, of course, is a preliminary screening test, but is enough to provide a reasonable suspicion that your wife had used. The urine test result will determine what happens with any probation violation.

The fact that the probation office and the lab disagree on whether the sample has been sent to the lab may be a result of an administrative error. Or the sample may still have been enroute to the lab when you checked with them.

If the sample hasn't been tested by the time your wife appears in court for a probation violation hearing, her attorney should raise the issue with the court.

Jim Reilly
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
MY WIFE HAS NO COURT HEARING SCHEDULED. THE COURT IS WAITING ON THE LAB RESULTS FROM HER URINE SCREEN, THAT IS THE PROBLEM. IT HAS BEEN 7 DAYS TODAY SINCE SHE WENT TO JAIL.ON THE ICUP THERE WAS A VERY FAINT LINE FOR OPIATES, THEY CAN KEEP HER IN JAIL FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME BECAUSE OF THE ICUP, OR SHOULD WE DO A PETITION TO THE COURT?
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 5 years ago.
The court should have either set bail or designated her case as a no bail case, which seems unlikely unless the underlying charge is a serious felony.

As for her hearing, there is no specific time limit for holding it, but she is entitled to a hearing on the probation violation within a reasonable time. Rule 708, section (B), of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure states:

(B) Whenever a defendant has been sentenced to probation or intermediate punishment, or placed on parole, the judge shall not revoke such probation, intermediate punishment, or parole as allowed by law unless there has been:

(1) a hearing held as speedily as possible at which the defendant is present and represented by counsel; and

(2) a finding of record that the defendant violated a condition of probation, intermediate punishment, or parole.

If a hearing is not held within a reasonable time, your wife's attorney can file a motion for hearing or release from custody. As to what would constitute a "reasonable time" under these circumstances, it's hard to say. I would be getting antsy already (as it seems you are) and pressing for a hearing.

Jim Reilly
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
SHE DIDN'T COMMITT A PROBATION VIOLATION, IT WAS A FAMILY COURT VIOLATION/DRUG COURT. ALSO SHE WAS NEVER CHARGED WITH ANY VIOLATION OF ANY KIND, SHE HAS NO RECORD. ALL SHE DID WAS FAIL AN INSTANT DRUG TEST FOR FAMILY COURT. I WAS TALKING TO THE TREATMENT COURT COUNSELOR AND SHE SAID THAT IT COULD BE A WEEK IN JAIL OR IT COULD BE 2 WEEKS, ITS UP TO THE JUDGE WHAT HE WANTS TO DO. SHOULD I WAIT, OR GET MY LAWYER TO FILE A PETITION? IT HAS ALREADY BEEN 7 DAYS SINCE SHE FAILED THE ICUP OR LET HER SIT IN JAIL FOR LONGER?
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 5 years ago.
Okay, I didn't see that you were talking about a family drug court case. But, as I understand the law in Pennsylvania, you cannot get into the drug court program unless you have committed a criminal offense involving substance abuse. So, she may not have been charged with or convicted of a crime, but must have committed a substance abuse violation of some kind to get into the drug court program.

In any event, once in the program, any violation of the rules can result in sanctions which can include fines, incarceration and termination from the program.

It seems to me that a week is about long enough to wait for something to happen. Since you have a lawyer, I would contact him to get more specific advice, as he will probably know the judge and how the judge is likely to react to the filing of a petition or other request in the case.

Jim Reilly

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