By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
It’s not a crime in Texas to fail a drug test or urine analysis (“UA”). Possession of any illegal drug such as marijuana, cocaine, or any other controlled substance without a prescription is defined as “actual care, custody, control or management.” Tex.Pen.C. 1.07(39). Failing a UA does not demonstrate this as backward as it may sound.
Texas courts apply what is known as the Corpus Delecti rule. Corpus Delecti is latin for “body of the crime.” The prosecution in every case must prove a crime was committed. An out of court confession, in and of itself, is never enough to sustain a conviction.
A classic and more clear example of corpus delicti is someone who confesses to arson – yet the building the person claims to have burned to the ground is completely unharmed. Legally, this is indistinguishable from a person failing a drug test to prove a person had “actual care, custody, control or management” of a drug they shouldn’t have had.
You Can Still Be in Trouble for Failing Drug Tests
If you are on bond for a crime – a failed UA is legally sufficient to hold your bond insufficient and have you re-arrested. It can also be grounds for a motion to revoke probation or a motion to adjudicate. This is because the formal requirements of the corpus delicti rule are loosened for these proceedings and because typically terms of bond and/or probation are more broad as well to prohibit failing drug tests.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is designated as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.