Article 112a UCMJ Drug Offenses
Drug offenses in the military fall under Article 112a, UCMJ. These include:
- Possession, use, distribution, introduction, or importation
- Marijuana (THC), cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs
Possible defenses, especially for use of a controlled substance, include:
- Unknowing or innocent ingestion
- Good military character
We are very experienced in defending service members in drug cases.
Outside of the military, drug use is common. Many states have legalized marijuana, though it remains a Schedule I controlled substance that is banned for military members. The prevalence of edibles such as THC gummies and vape oils have made it more likely that a person may ingest a controlled substance without realizing it. Workout supplements may also contain unlabeled ingredients that could cause a positive drug test. Cocaine can be consumed in very small amounts, unknowingly and without feeling significant effects. Medical review officers may misread prescriptions.
These are all factors to consider because Article 112a requires proof of knowledge that the substance used was a controlled substance or was contraband. An unknowing ingestion is not a crime.
The law allows the jury to infer guilt based on a positive urinalysis (or positive UA), which means a failed drug test, but this “permissive inference” is not required. We have seen military juries find our clients not guilty when we can provide ample good military character evidence and an explanation for how unknowing ingestion occurred. We are highly skilled at cross examining government toxicologists to show weaknesses in the urinalysis program. The biggest weaknesses are that government experts are unable to determine exactly when a substance was used, how much was used, and whether the use was intentional or not.
Drug use in the military may result in administrative action, nonjudicial punishment, administrative separation, or a court-martial. Every case is different, and no result is guaranteed, but we have intervened and saved many careers, including for retirement eligible NCOs and officers. If you have a positive urinalysis, contact us immediately to see how we can help.