Article 112a: Wrongful Use, Possession, Distribution, Manufacture, Importation Or Exportation of Drugs
Bilecki Law Group defends service members against any drug charge allowable under Article 112a of the UCMJ
What Is Article 112A Of The UCMJ?
Wrongful use of a controlled substance under Article 112a of the UCMJ occurs when a service member wrongfully uses a controlled substance while knowing that it was a controlled substance of a contraband nature. It can come with the aggravating circumstance that the substance was used during a time of war, on duty as a sentinel or lookout or on board a vessel or aircraft under the control by the armed forces.
Whereas wrongful use of drugs may be the most common drug charge, Article 112a actually covers a litany of drug charges ranging from simple use to the manufacture and distribution of drugs. That latter charges are coming with some very serious consequences that have the ability to not only end your military career, but destroy the rest of your life as a result. These are not charges to take lightly and even if you are just under investigation for these charges, it is time to grab a top notch military court martial defense lawyer.
What Charges Are Included Under Article 112A Of The UCMJ?
Article 112 serves as a blanket article that covers most of the charges you would assume to involve drugs and alcohol. The key to fighting and beating these charges rests with understanding each charge and every single element that the prosecution must prove. We give the prosecution no easy wins and we fight them on every element at every turn. Below you’ll find the charges as well as their corresponding elements:
Wrongful Use Of A Controlled Substance – For this to occur, the prosecution must prove that the accused used a controlled substance, that the accused knew (he)(she) used the substance; that the accused knew the substance used was a drug of a contraband nature and that the use was wrongful. They can then add the aggravating circumstance that one was on duty as a sentinel, on a vessel or aircraft, in or at a missile launch facility, or simply receiving special pay under 37 U.S.C 310.
Wrongful Possession With Intent To Distribute – For this to occur, the prosecution must prove that the accused possessed a specific amount of a controlled substance and that the accused actually knew they possessed the substance. They must prove that the accused actually knew the substance was a particular drug or of a contraband nature and that the possession was indeed wrongful. Possession itself is a charge and if applicable, a higher charge with intent to distribute can be added if intent can be proved. Like wrongful use, these charges can come with the aggravating circumstance based on the location of the distribution.
Wrongful Distribution – For wrongful distribution to occur, the prosecution must prove that the accused distributed a specific amount of a controlled substance to the possession of another and that the accused actually knew they distributed the substance. They must prove that the accused actually knew the substance was a controlled substance or of a contraband nature and that the distribution was indeed wrongful. The same aggravating circumstance regarding the location of the distribution also applies here.
Wrongful Introduction With Intent To Distribute – For wrongful introduction to occur, the prosecution must prove that the accused introduced a specific amount of a controlled substance to (an aircraft) (a vessel) (a vehicle) (an installation) used by the armed forces or under the control of the armed forces. Introduction means to bring into or onto a military setting. They must then prove that the accused knew they introduced the substance and knew that it was a controlled substance or of a contraband nature. Like other charges, if intent to distribute can be proved it adds a higher charge as does the aggravating circumstance of the location.
Wrongful Manufacture With Intent To Distribute – For wrongful manufacture to occur, the prosecution must prove that the accused manufactured a specific amount of a controlled substance and that they knew they indeed manufactured the substance. They must also prove that they knew the substance manufactured was a controlled substance or of a contraband nature and that the manufacture was wrongful. As with the other charges, if intent to distribute can be proved it brings a higher charge as does the aggravating circumstance of the location.
Wrongful Importation Or Exportation – For wrongful importation or exportation to occur, the prosecution must prove that the accused (imported into the customs territory of) (exported from) the United States a specific amount of a controlled substance and that the accused knew they (imported) (exported) the substance. They must also prove that they knew the substance was a controlled substance or of a contraband nature and that the (importation) (exportation) was wrongful. Finally, the same aggravating circumstance of the location may apply.
Now, that’s a long list of charges, each with very specific elements. The key to a staunch defense is to make the prosecution work to prove every single element. We concede nothing to them and fight them at every turn and at every element. That’s because the prosecution catches some Sailor with what appears to be a bag of weed and they want to act like they just caught Pablo Escobar and took down an entire drug cartel. These are serious charges and prosecutors salivate over them. Trust us from experience when we say that these are not the charges to trust your defense to an inexperienced, free JAG defense counsel.
Reconciling Drug Use and Faithful Military Service
When we are defending service members from drug charges under Article 112a, it’s rare that the case is a major drug trafficking scenario. We’re talking Spec Ops guys who have been trying to maintain a ridiculous high tempo of operations and deployment or maybe the PFC who went home on leave and brought back some weed that he got from his buddies who went to college. What is infuriating about these charges is how the military justice system will try to roll over and destroy the very service members we need to defend this nation as we face peer level threats and a perilous future. At some point, the military is going to have to reconcile the fact that marijuana is legal in some form in almost 30 states.
Let’s just take the case of Medal of Honor recipient Peter Lemon for some inspiration on the matter. Peter Lemon was stationed at a forward operating base in Vietnam that would be the subject of a brutal nighttime NVA attack. The Americans knew the NVA were in the jungle surrounding the base and opted to pour some fire into the jungle just to let the NVA know they were aware of their presence. Then, nothing happened.
All was quiet and so much so, Lemon and other Soldiers were ordered back to the bunker to catch some sleep. The only problem was sleep was hard to come by when you knew you were surrounded by overwhelming odds. So, Peter and a few other Soldiers got high on marijuana just to take the edge off. Then, at 2:17 am, a rocket attack hit the communications array and over 400 screaming NVA came pouring out of the jungle to attack the 220 Americans.
High as a kite, Lemon emerged from the bunker and jumped on the .50 cal. He poured fire at the cyclic rate into the enemy until the weapon jammed. He then grabbed his M-16 and fired until that weapon jammed as well. That’s when he got involved with his bare hands. Throwing grenades and in some cases fighting hand to hand, Lemon continued to gift violence to the enemy like it was Vietcong Christmas.
That’s when an enemy shell landed on 40 tons of American artillery shells and floored both American and NVA soldiers. Lemon got up and while ignoring his own wounds, helped others to the aid station. There, he grabbed a handful of grenades and got back in the action. Wounded again in the process, Lemon continued to fight with everything he had, including throwing hands at the enemy until he eventually passed out from the loss of blood. When he woke up, his buzz was inevitably gone and he would find himself the nation’s newest recipient of the Medal of Honor. An honor he earned while completely high.
Drug charges destroy military careers and lives, regardless of whether it’s a simple possession charge or intent to distribute a Schedule I controlled substance. Protect your liberties and your military future by contacting Bilecki Law GroupTODAY.
Fighting and Winning Against Article 112a Charges
At the Bilecki Law Group, we have fought and won many Article 112a cases and the prosecution typically does not like to see the Bilecki name involved as a result. That’s because they know they have a fight on their hands and we are aggressive in our defense. The truth is that military investigators routinely screw up the investigation and handle drug cases carelessly. They get so excited at the prospect of catching “Pablo Escobar” that they fail to properly handle evidence, conduct illegal searches or seizures, and we call them out every single time.
We’ll also examine whether the substance truly was a controlled substance. Perhaps you had a prescription or legal authority or maybe, someone gave you a drink and you had no idea what was actually in it. Look, it could be that you are on you way to becoming the next “Pablo Escobar” of the military, or maybe your unit has such high tempo operations that you took something to help keep you awake and alert. It all matters in the case and since it won’t be a military prosecutor out there fighting our enemies on the front lines, we’re going to try to keep the Peter Lemon’s of our modern military in the fight.
We fight Article 112a charges with pride and honor knowing that we are representing some of the finest men and women in the military. The military justice system will try to make you out to be a drug dealer selling crack to kids, we know the full story says otherwise. If you are facing these charges, reach out to us and let’s get into the fight for your life and career. We take the fight to the military justice system and we win.
Frequently Asked Questions About Article 112a:
Over seven criminal charges are covered under Article 112a. Some of these charges will incur relatively minor sentences. Others have the potential to destroy a service member’s military and civilian future:
Wrongful use, possession, manufacture, or introduction of a controlled substance:
- Reduction to E-1
- Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
- Confinement for 5 years
- Dishonorable discharge
(Note: Sentencing is typically dramatically reduced if the charges are related to marijuana) Wrongful distribution, possession, manufacture, or introduction of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, or wrongful importation or exportation of a controlled substance:
- Reduction to E-1
- Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
- Confinement for 15 years
- Dishonorable discharge
(Note: Phenobarbital and Schedule IV and V controlled substances reduce the maximum possible confinement period to 10 years) Lastly, should you be found guilty of substance abuse while on duty as a sentinel or lookout, your maximum confinement period could increase by 5 years.
Yes. Article 112a governs many unique drug-related criminal charges. And you may face maximum sentencing for more than one. For example, prosecutors may accuse you of introducing a controlled substance onto a military base, having it in your possession at the time of capture and using it for a non-medicinal purpose.
Because of the number of offenses, you can be accused of under Article 112a, you could easily face sentencing for two, three, four or even more unique criminal charges. For this reason, we highly recommend hiring a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect you from aggressive government sentencing.