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January 2019
Tim Bilecki

Coast Guard Seaman Found Positive for Marijuana, Charges Resolved at NJP

Drug Usage
Coast Guard Station Barbers Point, Hawaii
Coast Guard Seaman – E-3
Case resolved at NJP instead of Special Court Martial.

A Coast Guard Seaman stationed at Barbers Point, Hawaii, tested positive for marijuana during a routine urinalysis. Following this, the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) conducted an interview where the Seaman, without invoking his rights, denied using marijuana. His command subsequently informed him of their intention to prefer charges for making a false official statement under Article 107, UCMJ, and wrongful use of a controlled substance under Article 112a, UCMJ.

Upon being faced with the prospect of a Special Court Martial, the Seaman retained court martial defense lawyer Tim Bilecki. Bilecki’s team immediately began a detailed investigation into the circumstances surrounding the positive urinalysis result. This involved scrutinizing the urinalysis process for any procedural errors, examining the Seaman’s potential inadvertent exposure to marijuana, and gathering character statements to support his credibility.

Understanding the importance of early engagement, Bilecki opened lines of communication with the prosecution and the Seaman’s command. Through negotiation, they presented a comprehensive case highlighting the lack of intentional wrongdoing and emphasizing the Seaman’s otherwise exemplary service record.

The defense’s strategy and negotiations aimed to illustrate that the matter could be more appropriately handled through Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP) rather than escalating it to a Special Court Martial. By focusing on rehabilitation and the Seaman’s potential for future contributions to the Coast Guard, Bilecki’s team successfully persuaded the command to adjudicate the case at NJP.

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