What if I get caught cheating?

Usually an employer is not trying to catch minor recreational drug use, but to find a pattern of problem behavior that can put others at risk. Unless you are a frequent drug user or have failed prior drug tests, your best defense may be to agree to another test that you don't try to cheat or to agree to drug counseling or treatment.

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What if I get caught cheating?

Usually an employer is not trying to catch minor recreational drug use, but to find a pattern of problem behavior that can put others at risk. Unless you are a frequent drug user or have failed prior drug tests, your best defense may be to agree to another test that you don't try to cheat or to agree to drug counseling or treatment.


We have covered all the ways you can try to cheat a drug test including dilution, detox methods, adulterants, synthetic urine, and substitution; but what if you get caught using one of these methods? In many cases, getting caught is treated the same as failing a drug test. If you are lucky, you may be required to take the test again under supervision. If you work for the government, however, detection of tampering may result in immediate dismissal.

Since labs commonly test for tampering, it's possible that the specific way you try to beat a drug test will be flagged for your employer. If this is the case, it will make it very hard to refute, but our articles do identify reasons a sample may be improperly flagged, so there is a slight chance you may have a defense. There is also always the possibility of a lab mix-up.

Can I go to jail for cheating?

It really depends on whether you face potential jail time for failing a drug test. If you are on probation or parole, being caught cheating on a drug test is a very serious issue. If you aren't in legal trouble already, the most likely outcome of being caught cheating would be facing another drug test (possibly of a different kind or under direct supervision) or losing your job.

Are there any excuses I can use if caught cheating?

While it is easy to imagine being able to talk your way out of an accusation of cheating, you should understand that both testing laboratory and employer will likely have done additional work to verify their result is valid. Unless you are a long-time employee with a history of successful drug tests, they probably won't believe an excuse like "the lab made a mistake." A better defense is that you made a mistake and admit to trying to cover a minor offense, like smoking marijuana on a recent vacation or drinking wine prior to your night shift.

The important thing to keep in mind is that people make mistakes. Usually an employer is not trying to catch minor recreational drug use, but to find a pattern of problem behavior that can put others at risk. Unless you are a frequent drug user or have failed prior drug tests, your best defense may be to agree to another test that you don't try to cheat or to agree to drug counseling or treatment.