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Hair follicle drug tests in custody / family law cases.

Custody Cases sometimes involve hair follicle drug test, if you have been asked to take one, here is what you should know:

1. It tests for:

a. Amphetamine/methamphetamine/ecstasy

b. Marijuana

c. Cocaine

d. Opiates (codeine, morphine, 6-acetylmorphine)

e. PCP

2. It detects up to 90 days prior to testing - the detection time is longest in hair testing.

3. It is diffcult to "cheat" a hair follicle test. Dying or shaving your hair will not work. They must take the hair from you person, but not necessarily your head. It you have no hair on your head they can collect from under your arms, your arms, or your pubic area.

4. The hair test gives a more sensitive reading that other tests, meaning that in some cases it is possible to detect whether you have used more than a prescribed amount of a prescription or how much marijuana you likely consume.

5. A positive drug test in a family law / custody case can be damaging to your case. How damaging depends on the results and your Judge. For example, if the test shows you are positive for cocaine abuse in the last 90 days that may be more damaging than marijuana abuse. This is simply due to public perception. Because the test go back about 90 days, if you have a positive test, the likelihood is that you are going to have restrictions on your time-sharing until you have follow up tests. Following up with a test 60 days later that is clean can quickly remedy some damage done by the initial test in some cases.  In others, it can take time, counseling, and effort to convince a Judge that you do not have a problem.

Once asked to take a drug test you have two choices:

1. Agree to take the test. The test costs $300+ depending on the exact type you take. You can ask that if you test clean, the other party be responsible for the costs.

2. Do not agree to take the test and require a Motion to Compel you to take one and have a hearing. Typically evidence that would lead someone to think you have, in fact, used drugs recently is required. Evidence at these hearings typically involves the other person's testimony, pictures of drugs or paraphernalia in your home or you using, testimony of others who have known you to use. If successful, the Judge may make you take a hair follicle test immediately. 

If you have been asked to take a drug test, you should definitely consult a family law attorney, as your rights to your children are at stake and a positve test could result in a dependecy case.

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