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How long can tests find traces of drugs in your system?

Even before they reach the legal drinking age, many people have experience with alcohol. One thing that they learn from these is that it leaves their system fairly quickly. You may have been too drunk to drive one night, but you’re sober by the next morning. If you drink and drive, you may get caught through a breath test at the scene of a traffic stop, but you wouldn’t (usually) fail one the day after. 

But what about other intoxicating substances, like drugs? Are they going to show up on tests for a bit longer than alcohol? Or are they out of your system by the time you stop feeling their effects?

Drugs can remain detectable for months

There are a lot of variables that affect how long a drug can be detected in your system. What drugs did you use? How often do you use them? What type of test (blood, urine or hair) are you talking about? What is clear, though, is that many drugs can show up in lab tests for days, weeks or even months. This is long, long after their effects have worn off.

Take MDMA, for instance, which is often called ecstasy. If the authorities give you a blood test after you took some, it may show up for 48 hours. If they give you a urine test — which feels less invasive — it could show up for four days. With a hair test — and this is true for many other drugs, as well — the traces can be found for 90 days or roughly three months after use. 

Moving forward with drug charges

Drug crimes are very serious, as are drugged driving charges. Whatever your drug-related charges, you need to know what defense options you have moving forward. Working with an experienced defense attorney is key to protecting your future.