Military Drug Crimes Lawyer

Being charged with any drug crime as an active service member can have dire consequences on your military career and livelihood as a civilian. Obtaining legal representation from a dedicated Honolulu-based military drug crimes lawyer could help you increase your chances of a positive resolution. Our criminal defense attorney is the ideal legal representative for service members around the world. Not only does he have outstanding skill and legal knowledge but has first-hand experience with the armed forces from his time as an enlisted Marine and as an Army JAG officer.

Types of Military Drug Crimes

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) criminalizes nearly every type of interaction with illegal drugs. Department of Defense (DoD) policy and policies within the various branches of the military are extremely harsh on drug use. The Navy goes so far as to call it a zero-tolerance policy. Facing the harsh consequences of the UCMJ and other military policies makes it imperative for a service member accused of a drug crime to obtain our Honolulu-based attorney.

Under Article 112(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), numerous drug charges can be brought against service members. These charges range from the more extreme instances such as illegal distribution, unlawful manufacturing, and illegal importation/exportation, to charges for possession and personal drug abuse. Service members may also face consequences if they are found in possession of any drug paraphernalia or to have tempered with any testing results.

Many other offenses are less evident under the UCMJ due to  “assimilation,” meaning other state laws and statutes may need to be considered by mere reference. An experienced attorney knows how to identify these potential issues, consequences, and how to formulate strategies to defend against them.

Controlled Substances Resulting in Charges or Adverse Action

Most service members are probably aware of the more apparent substances banned under Article 112(b) of the UCMJ, such as opium, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, L.S.D., methamphetamines, barbituric acid, and marijuana. However, there are many other drugs not explicitly listed in Article 112(b)(1) that are incorporated through the Control Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 812) through Article 112(b)(3). This means less commonly known drugs, synthetic drugs, or other substances containing the same chemical components of other scheduled drugs may result in criminal charges. Furthermore, the use of any substance for the purpose of stupefying the central nervous system may result in adverse administrative action, separation, and/or charges at court-martial for failure to obey a lawful order.

What Happens After Being Charged with a Drug Crime

Personal drug use is the most common controlled substance offense in the military.  This is typically detected by random urinalysis. A urinalysis can also be directed if a witness identifies specific reasons to believe a service member has used drugs (e.g., the smell of marijuana, the sight of a green leafy substance or white powder, erratic behavior, etc.). If a service member tests positive for illegal substances, this will launch a law enforcement investigation to determine the extent of crimes committed by the individual and other crimes potentially taking place within the unit which may be connected.

Drug use is typically detected during the initial screening of a urine sample. If a controlled substance is detected, the sample will undergo a process called gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GCMS) to rule out the possibility of a false positive. The chain of custody of the sample is carefully controlled and documented throughout the process, and all lab work is reviewed for quality control. The GCMS report is a lengthy, complicated, and scientific document used as evidence of substance abuse.

All branches of the military require – at a minimum – that a service member who tests positive for illegal drug use be processed for administrative separation. This will often involve nonjudicial punishment as a precursor, and may ultimately result in an Other Than Honorable discharge. However, the separation authority (typically the first O-6 in the chain of command) can decide to retain the service member. This is very difficult and rare to achieve. Offenses involving more than use – such as possession, distribution, and/or manufacturing of illegal drugs – are typically brought to court-martial and may result in confinement, punitive discharge (Bad Conduct Discharge or Dishonorable Discharge), rank reduction, forfeiture of pay, a federal conviction, and a criminal record. Our aggressive Honolulu-based attorney has the knowledge, experience, and skill to build and present an effective defense for service members accused of drug offenses.

Speak with a Honolulu-Based Military Drug Crime Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime involving a controlled substance, it is important to seek effective legal counsel immediately. Your military career, freedom, livelihood, and opportunities as a civilian are worth protecting, and our Honolulu-based military drug crimes lawyer could make all the difference. If you require representation, please contact our office today.