The Champion

March 2006 , Page 24 

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Defending A Supervised Release Case For Drug Use: The U.S. Probation Department's Own Manual Could Help You

By Michael L. Desautels

Supervised release is a part of the sentence for the vast majority of persons convicted of a federal drug offense.1 When released from federal prison to supervised release, they will be subject to conditions that prohibit drug use. Drug tests are part of supervised release.2 Unfortunately, violations for using drugs while on supervised release — sometimes called “dirty urines” — are all too common.

Many circuit courts of appeal have held that a failed urine test can constitute possession of a controlled substance, under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(g). These circuit courts have affirmed determinations by district courts that the presence of a controlled substance in urine, as evidenced by urinalysis, constitutes circumstantial evidence of possession of a controlled substance.3 From such a finding, the district court may determine that possession of a controlled substance has been established by a preponderance of the evidence.

The damaging consequence for your client, the “offender,” is that a fin

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