Drug Crimes/Positive Urinalysis (UA)
There are a number of ways in which involvement with illegal drugs can get you in trouble in the military. Some of these are:
- testing positive for illegal drugs (a positive urinalysis or UA for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, etc.);
- refusal to give a urinalysis sample for testing;
- possession of illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine, etc.); and/or
- sale, distribution, or trafficking of illegal drugs.
All branches of the military take a zero tolerance approach to drug use and vigorously prosecute drug offenders. If you have tested positive for an illegal substance, or are being investigated for involvement in a drug offense, you are likely to face significant punishment as a consequence—including a possible court-martial or other administrative action. This could result in the termination of your career. If you are in any of these situations, you will need the representation of an experienced aggressive attorney such as Mr. Karns.
The military employs various methods of monitoring and testing its personnel for illegal substances, including random and command directed urinalysis testing. If you are the subject of a command directed urinalysis test, the command must have probable cause to test you or your consent to be tested. If your command is seeking to test you specifically, then the representation of an experienced military attorney such as Mr. Karns is crucial to protect your interests. Mr. Karns can advise you of your rights prior to making any statements or accepting any non-judicial punishment (NJP). If need be, he can defend you regarding any resulting court-martial or administrative separation action as well.
It is possible to test positive for an illegal drug that you have not ingested or have a false positive on a urinalysis test. It is important to know that you may have a valid defense for the charges against you. As an experienced military attorney, Mr. Karns can present your side of the story, which may be that you innocently ingested an illegal substance, or that the military mishandled the collection or testing of your sample. If the military’s chain of custody regarding your sample is improper, your test result may be thrown out.
Furthermore, a positive urinalysis test, without more, does not make a successful case against you. The military must prove misconduct on your part, that is, it must prove that you knowingly and consciously ingested an illegal substance. Therefore, if the military cannot provide evidence that you knowingly and consciously ingested an illegal substance, it cannot convict you of a drug offense. Mr. Karns can help you mount this defense by developing evidence and witness statements that show you did not knowingly or consciously ingest an illegal substance. He can also examine and discredit the military’s evidence against you, which often includes the inaccurate statements of witnesses who may have a bias against you.
Client was an Airman stationed at Nellis AFB who went out with some fellow Airmen and used Xanax that they bought from a dancer at a club. A witness reported the group to OSI who interviewed the Client and his friends. Although someone said they were “sure” Client took some Xanax, Client denied he used any. After Client’s CO gave him the first reading of the Article 15, he hired Mr. Karns who immediately contacted his CO and explained that the Client was not guilty and that the other Airman who made statements never witnessed the Client take Xanax. Mr. Karns also assisted Client’s father, who was retired from the Navy, speak on his son’s behalf. Subsequently, Client’s CO agreed not to go forward on the Art. 15, thus saving Client from being punished and ultimately separated from the USAF for wrongful use of a controlled substance.
Client was a Marine who was pulled over and his vehicle searched. The police found spice cigarettes and a water pipe. Client was charged with possession of spice and paraphernalia and referred for a special court-martial. Along with his detailed military counsel, Client hired Mr. Karns to defend him for the court-martial, but prior to those proceedings, Attorney Karns had Client take a polygraph examination with a civilian polygrapher. The result of the polygraph demonstrated that Client didn’t know the spice was in his car when he was stopped. Attorney Karns and his military counsel gave the polygraph results to Client’s command which agreed to give Client a nonjudicial punishment for the paraphernalia and allowed Client to separate with an Honorable Discharge. Client received no jail time or criminal conviction.
Army National Guard SGT tested positive for cocaine after a random urinalysis. Subsequently, Client hired Mr. Karns for his administrative separation hearing. Client had to be retained in the Guard in order to maintain his federal civilian employment. Prior to the hearing, Mr. Karns interviewed several witnesses who observed the urinalysis procedures for the unit that day and was able to demonstrate to the administrative separation board that proper procedures were not followed in the collection and storage process. Mr. Karns also called witnesses from Client’s command to testify that Client was a good soldier and would not use drugs. The board voted that Client did not engage in any misconduct.
Airman First Class was charged with on multiple occasions wrongfully distributing and using ecstasy and marijuana and allowing another Airman to us his vehicle to transport illegal drugs onto an USAF installation. Client’s case was connected to those of several codefendants, all of whom were court-martialed and received Bad Conduct Discharges (BCD). Client’s case was also referred to a general court martial, but Mr. Karns was able to negotiate a pretrial agreement with the prosecution which allowed Client to be retained in the USAF via the Return to Duty Program and avoid confinement and a BCD.
Navy LTJG pilot received Captain’s Mast for smoking marijuana. His case was then referred to a Show Cause board where he was facing an Other Than Honorable Discharge. Client was retained and will complete his contract and receive an Honorable Discharge.
Special Forces Senior NCO charged with two counts of unlawful use of marijuana. Special Court-Martial panel returned a verdict of Not Guilty on both charges.
Senior NCO tested positive for cocaine. Mr. Karns convinced the soldier’s Commanding General to grant the soldier’s request for an Honorable Discharge and allow the soldier to retire.
Senior NCO tested positive for marijuana. Mr. Karns convinced the soldier’s command to terminate the administrative separation action and retain the soldier.
NCO tested positive for marijuana on a urinalysis test. In most cases, the command would refer the soldier to an administrative separation board. However, in this case, through Mr. Karns’ negotiations with the soldier’s command, the soldier was able to avoid a board and separation.