Drug Offenses
Military and Veterans Law Center of San Diego, CA

Military Drug Offenses

Drug offenses are relatively common among members of the armed forces, but a conviction can still bring about serious consequences for both you and your loved ones.

For a civilian, a drug offense often results in (depending on the severity of the crime) jail time, extensive and expensive fines, drug classes, community service, and loss of privileges such as loss of driver’s license, etc. For a military member, consequences can include not only confinement, hard labor, and a bad conduct mark. You can also lose your right to collect your benefits, thus negatively impacting your family!

If you are a military service member in the San Diego area, you should contact Stephen Brodsky for all your legal needs.

Minor vs. Serious Drug Offenses

For members of the military in San Diego, drug offenses such as possession, wrongful use, or distribution are charged under the United Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Article 112a.

Minor drug offenses are handled through a Summary Court Martial, in which the offender’s case is heard by a single commissioned officer acting as both the judge and the jury. While the accused is not provided free military counsel, they have the right to either hire their own civilian attorney or act as their own counsel, calling their own witnesses and cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses.

Serious drug offenses are subject to either Special or General Court Martial, depending on the level of the offense. To use civilian terms, a Special court-martial is for misdemeanors, and a General court-martial is for felony-level offenses.


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    Drug Offenses Charges

    Drug offenses can consist of many different crimes, such as possession, wrongful use, distribution, and trafficking, all of which are prosecuted under UCMJ Article 112a.

    Possession or wrongful use of a controlled substance is defined as the possession of any scheduled substance, as defined under the Controlled Substances act. Controlled substances include any of the following; cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, prescription drugs, and marijuana. The key to a successful drug possession conviction is establishing intent. You may have ingested a controlled substance unknowingly or failed a urinary analysis (UA) due to taking prescribed drugs.

    Sometimes a routine search of your barracks can turn up a controlled substance. This often results in the ownership of the substance coming into question, which can be difficult to prove, hence the importance of hiring an experienced military attorney.

    Distribution of a controlled substance is a more serious offense, tried under UCMJ Article 112a. Distribution is defined as the act of delivering to another person. This includes not only distribution for profit or “drug dealing,” but also if you happen to be at a party and you give drugs to the other partygoers. This is what is known as “social distribution.” Social distribution is tried through a Special Court-Martial.

    Felony level distribution charges, which include distributing for profit, on a military base, or in large quantities, can be tried under General Court Martial.  

    Get Help From an Experienced Lawyer

    Drug offenses are serious charges, especially for members of our armed forces. Depending on the severity of the charge, a conviction under military law can result in confinement, hard labor without confinement, loss of military benefits, including salary, and a dishonorable discharge.

    If you are a military member in the San Diego area and face serious charges such as a drug offense, you need an experienced and dedicated military attorney. Stephen Brodsky has 27 years of experience practicing military law and is a disabled veteran himself. Stephen Brodsky knows your struggle and what you face in the days ahead: loss of your freedom, loss of reputation, etc. He will fight for you the way you fought for this country.