Drug crimes are extremely serious, especially for those who are in the military. The potential consequences that come with a military drug charge can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for military service members and their families. Drug offenses such as possessing, using, trafficking, selling, manufacturing, or distributing an illicit or controlled substance are punishable under federal law.
A military drug crime attorney like Aden Wilkie can help alleviate the worry that surrounds a drug charge and can assist you with your case by offering dedicated legal representation and sound advice.
Military Drug Policy
The use, possession, and distribution of drugs or controlled substances are all prohibited under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. All branches of the military have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug use. The military expects its troops to be prepared at all times and to behave in a highly disciplined manner. Military personnel who are under the influence of narcotics are typically unable to operate at the high physical and mental capacity that the armed services require. As a result, using drugs while serving in the military can have serious implications.
Article 112(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice allows for the prosecution of six different types of drug crimes, including (1) possession with intent to distribute, (2) wrongful use, (3) wrongful distribution, (4) wrongful introduction with intent to distribute, (5) wrongful manufacture with intent to distribute, and (5) wrongful exportation or importation.
The Department of Defense (DoD) requires military members to take a urine test on a regular basis to verify that they are not under the influence of any restricted narcotics or illegal drugs. Members on active duty are required to submit to a random urinalysis at least once per year, while members of the Guard or Reserves may have a test done every two years. This means that over 60,000 urine samples are sent to DoD labs on a monthly basis, working to ensure that the armed forces remains a clean and drug-free zone.
Drug Use in the Military
In today’s atmosphere of drug use and abuse, a drug offense can have a huge impact on any defendant’s image, let alone a member of the armed forces. A military member’s entire career and reputation can be seriously jeopardized if he or she is convicted of a drug crime.
Unfortunately, throughout the United States Armed Forces, drug addiction is prevalent. The most common type of drug offense prosecuted in the military is personal drug abuse. In addition to prescription medications like opiates, stimulants, and sedatives, popular street narcotics like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are also abused. In addition, the emerging class of synthetic substances, such as bath salts, synthetic marijuana, and hallucinogens is becoming a growing concern for the military. Allegations in these cases are frequently based on a single occurrence, which is verified by a urine or blood test.
Military members charged with drug crimes often suffer from a significant narcotic addiction. It is not uncommon for soldiers to suffer from life-changing injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder. These ailments are a likely contributor to drug abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, studies found that 27% of troops returning from Iraq met the requirements for alcohol abuse and were at an elevated risk of developing a substance abuse issue.
Regardless of the reasoning, those who fail a drug test urinalysis or are discovered in possession of drugs are usually punished very harshly, threatening their military careers and causing them issues for the rest of their life.
What Drugs Does the Military Test For?
At least once a year, every active-duty military service member must provide a urine sample for drug testing. These tests may be random, for probable cause, by order of your commander, or for medical reasons. Marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine are all screened for in these drug tests. Other substances, such as steroids, morphine, heroin, barbiturates, and LSD, may also be detected by urinalysis in certain circumstances.
On average, at least one day passes between the time a testing lab receives the sample and the time they post the results to a web portal. At maximum, this process takes around 5-7 days. Usually, negative results post more quickly than positive results, as there is less work to be done.
Consequences of Failing a Drug Test in the Military
The drug test must reach a certain level to be positive. Even if there are drugs in someone’s system, if the level is below a certain threshold, it will come back as negative. If the test does reach that level and is positive, this signifies that the service member failed the drug test. As a result, the service member in question may face detention, pay reductions, involuntary dismissal, or other consequences, depending on the circumstances.
Air Force members, either non-commissioned officers or officers, who test positive for hard drugs like LSD, cocaine, MDMA, etc., will most likely face court-martial charges. Airmen or other lower-ranking members who test positive for marijuana often face Nonjudicial punishment in accordance with Article 15 and discharge. Navy or Marine Corps members who fail a drug test will likely face Mast/NJP and an administrative discharge proceeding. Army and Coast Guard members of any ranking generally face Nonjudicial punishment in accordance with Article 15 and an administrative discharge, as well.
Will I Be Discharged for Using Drugs?
It simply depends. A positive drug test can result in criminal prosecution and possibly dishonorable discharge. Drug misuse may be deemed a form of officer misconduct, which results in an administrative discharge. A service member may also potentially face a court-martial, by which misconduct discharge procedures may follow an acquittal.
Can You Join the Military with a Misdemeanor Drug Charge?
A waiver is required for any candidate for enrollment in the US Army who has two, three, or four civil convictions or other unfavorable dispositions for a misdemeanor offense. The recruiting battalion commander, acting commander, or executive officer possesses waiver approval power. There is potential for a felony offense to be waived as well, but the authority for approval is considerably greater while the chances of approval are much smaller.
Why Should I Hire a Civilian Attorney Instead of Active Military Counsel?
To protect your name your career, and your future, hiring civilian counsel rather than active military counsel may be a better option for a number of reasons. For example, when you accept free legal counsel from the military, your case will be assigned to an attorney simply based on who is available at the moment. Meaning your own preferences or interests won’t be taken into account. When you hire outside legal counsel from a private civilian defense attorney, you’re able to choose someone you trust and feel comfortable with. You can factor in your own preferences when making your decision, and you have the ultimate say in who represents you. Be sure to weigh your options heavily and choose someone with the right personality, qualifications, time, and dedication.
Another advantage to obtaining outside civilian counsel is the fact that they are not subject to threats or intimidation the way that military counsel is. Things like ranking, chain of command, and supervisory chain of responsibility have no influence over civilian counsel. There is nothing to distract or deter them from fully pursuing your best interests. For example, a civilian defense attorney like Aden Wilkie is completely unbothered by evaluation reports or an opportunity for promotion. Unlike military defense attorneys who must work under a chain of command, Aden does what is necessary to best represent the interests of his clients. There is no chain of command or any other influencing factors when he takes on your case.
Another benefit to hiring civilian counsel is knowing that they are completely dedicated to your case and will put in the time and effort it takes to create the best possible defense. As a private attorney, Aden Wilkie works for himself, meaning he gets to choose which cases he takes on and when he takes them on. As such, he is careful not to overload his schedule with cases so that he can dedicate enough time and resources to the cases he has. Military-provided counsel, on the other hand, does not have a say in the cases they take on. They are responsible for taking every case that comes through their door, which often means they are overworked, overloaded, and overwhelmed. This gives them significantly less time to focus on your individual case, which can have negative consequences for the outcome of your case.
Fighting a drug charge in the military on your own is a dangerous game. If you do not take the necessary precautions and steps to protect yourself, you may face serious legal consequences. Your reputation, financial security, and independence may all be seriously jeopardized, for example. In military drug crime cases, a thorough and experienced understanding of the military legal system is critical. Your military drug crime attorney’s knowledge and skill level are integral to a successful outcome.
You put in a lot of effort for your nation, and you deserve to be represented by a lawyer who understands your commitment. Military defense attorney Aden Wilkie of the Wilkie Law Firm has experience both in the line of duty and outside of it representing those who are. He is committed to providing you with a strong defense by use of an aggressive and competent mindset.
Contact a Military Drug Crime Attorney
Located in Jacksonville, NC, Wilkie offers Camp Lejeune legal services as well as Fort Bragg legal services for service members facing charges. He also serves other bases, camps, stations, and posts in the surrounding states and across the country. If you’ve received drug crime charges in the military, call the Devil Dog Defender at 910-333-9626 as quickly as possible to ensure your case is in the best hands.