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Common Military Drug Crimes

marijuana and a military uniform

In the military, active duty members are subject to a different code of laws than regular civilians. Within this code of laws, the possession of drug paraphernalia, drug usage, and drug distribution are not allowed with the military's zero-tolerance policy. 

This policy means that with just one drug charge, you could be facing a discharge from the military. This is why it is so crucial to fully understand military policy and work with an experienced South Carolina military defense lawyer to achieve the best results possible for your case. Call Touma Law Group today at (864) 618-2323 to schedule a free consultation.

Understanding the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

The Uniform Code of Military Justice, UCMJ, is the official military law for all those in military service in the United States. It describes all of the criminal charges specific to a military member and the consequences that those charges can have. This is different from the state laws of wherever that person is stationed because while those vary from state to state, the UCMJ does not and maintains consistency throughout the ranks. 

UCMJ Article 112(a): Drug Charges

Article 112(a) of the UCMJ states that any member of the military who has, uses, makes, or distributes certain substances will be punished according to the court system.

These substances include anything that is listed as a controlled substance, specifically the following:

  • Opium
  • Herion
  • Meth
  • LSD
  • Marijuana

The same goes for the derivatives of any of these substances. Even for substances that are not considered controlled substances, you could receive a drug charge if you are using them in excess or inappropriately. 

The Most Common Drug Charge: Wrongful Use

Within the context of the military, the most common drug charges are wrongful use and drug possession. These charges typically come from a situation where a search was conducted and drug paraphernalia was found or when your urine test comes back positive for a controlled substance. 

After that happens you will be put on trial and, if found guilty, will be charged for your actions.

How Drug Tests are Performed in the Military

The military tests all military personnel for drugs at least once per year. However, there is no set date that this occurs and it can also happen more than once throughout the year. You can be called in at random to submit a drug test and will have to present yourself to give a urine sample. 

military drug defense attorney Adam Touma

If you have used drugs recently, then you will have a positive urinalysis result. To reduce the risk that somebody receives consequences for a false positive, all positive results undergo a second, more stringent round of testing to confirm the first result.

Consequences for Drug Offense Convictions

In the military, there are harsh consequences for having a positive drug test. If you are found guilty by the court-martial for using illegal drugs, you can face jail time, an involuntary discharge, and any additional consequences that the state itself mandates.

According to the military's zero-tolerance policy, with even one positive test, you can receive an involuntary discharge. However, you will have the opportunity to appeal this and request continued service.

How Will a Dishonorable Discharge Affect Your Future?

Receiving a dishonorable discharge can have a massive effect on your future. You can lose your VA benefits, civilian rights and benefits, be banned from owning a gun, and never be able to return to federal employment.

Having this on your record can also make it difficult to find employment in general, as any future employer will be able to tell that you were discharged for military drug offenses. 

Non-Judicial Punishment vs. Courts Martial

In the military, you can receive either non-judicial punishment which will be dished out by your Commanding Officer or the court-martial will judge you. 

Non-judicial punishment is typically reserved for smaller issues. It can consist of anything from reduced pay to extra duties for a certain period of time. On the other hand, consequences received from the court-martial are much more severe and typically consist of administrative separation or administrative discharge. 

Defending a Military Drug Charge

Hiring a military defense attorney is a crucial step in building a strong legal defense against drug abuse charges.

As a Judge Advocate General, Adam Touma works tirelessly to defend our servicemen and women against criminal drug charges. His years as a lawyer and military experience allow him to provide wise legal counsel to our service members and avoid a dishonorable discharge. 

If you are facing a positive urinalysis result and are being sent to court-martial, contact us to schedule your free consultation and ensure that you are given a fair trial. 

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