UCMJ Article 112a: Wrongful Use, Possession, etc., of Controlled Substances
Service members of the United States Armed Forces who have been accused of the use, possession, manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance may face criminal charges under Article 112a of the UCMJ.
Under Article 112a, even the smallest of drug charges can destroy a military career and leave that service member struggling to pick up the pieces of his or her civilian life:
- A punitive discharge is all but guaranteed should you be convicted. You may also face felony charges in state court depending on the circumstances.
- You could face up to 5 years in prison for something as benign as having a gram of marijuana in your possession.
- Your retirement and healthcare will be taken from you the moment you are convicted. The years of service you provided your country will disappear overnight.
You do not deserve to become a statistic in the War on Drugs. You’ve served your country with honor, now let us serve you. Contact Bilecki & Tipon TODAY for an immediate consultation.
What Is Article 112a of the UCMJ?
Every one of the punitive articles of the UCMJ requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a handful of critical assumptions—known as elements—to convict you of a crime. Seven different offenses are defined under Article 112a, each with its own unique set of elements.
The elements of Article 112a include:
(1) Wrongful possession of controlled substance
- (a) That the accused possessed a certain amount of a controlled substance; and
- (b) That the possession by the accused was wrongful.
(2) Wrongful use of controlled substance
- (a) That the accused used a controlled substance; and
- (b) That the use by the accused was wrongful
(3) Wrongful distribution of controlled substance
- (a) That the accused distributed a certain amount of a controlled substance; and
- (b) That the distribution by the accused was wrongful
(4) Wrongful introduction of a controlled substance
- (a) That the accused introduced onto a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or installation used by the armed forces or under the control of the armed forces a certain amount of a controlled substance; and
- (b) That the introduction was wrongful
(5) Wrongful manufacture of a controlled substance
- (a) That the accused manufactured a certain amount of a controlled substance; and
- (b) That the manufacturer was wrongful
(6) Wrongful possession, manufacture, or introduction of a controlled substance
with intent to distribute
- (a) That the accused (possessed) (manufactured) (introduced) a certain amount of a controlled substance;
- (b) That the (possession) (manufacture) (introduction) was wrongful; and
- (c) That the (possession) (manufacture) (introduction) was with the intent to distribute
(7) Wrongful importation or exportation of a controlled substance
- (a) That the accused (imported into the customs territory of) (exported from) the United States a certain amount of a controlled substance; and
- (b) That the (importation) (exportation) was wrongful
Summary of the Elements of Article 112a: Article 112a is a blanket article of the UCMJ covering over half a dozen drug-related criminal charges. All charges related to the wrongful use, possession, introduction, and manufacture of controlled substances, along with offenses governing the import, export, and distribution of such controlled substances, are the subject of Article 112a.
A few similarities exist between military drug charges. First, the substance in question should, in fact, be a controlled substance. And second, that its use, possession, introduction, distribution or manufacture was wrongful under the circumstances.
Military Defense Attorney for Article 112a of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics
Bilecki & Tipon has seen nearly every possible offense under Article 112a, from small marijuana possession charges to huge, collaborative efforts by drug rings to manufacture and distribute highly dangerous illegal substances. Your case will be very much tied to your individual circumstances. But regardless of what those circumstances are, we can prepare a strategy that will ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
Bilecki & Tipon has fought—and won—many Article 112a cases, and we can do so for you as well. The first step is to consider a number of critical questions regarding your case:
- Did law enforcement properly handle your case? Were there any illegal searches or seizures? If you were caught up in a sting operation, was it legal? Did they properly handle evidence in your case? Law enforcement messes up more than you think. Their rush to convict you could be their downfall. If any actions taken by law enforcement were not up to the military’s standards, we can destroy the government’s case in court.
- Was the substance in your possession truly a controlled substance? Did you have a prescription or legal authority to use this substance? Could you have possibly taken this substance accidentally? Just because you were in possession or under the influence of a controlled substance, does not confirm your guilt in court.
- What are the circumstances surrounding your case? Are you a small fish that got caught up in a larger sting operation? Does the government have bigger fish to fry? We’ll review how you were picked up by law enforcement and may be able to help you avoid a trial entirely depending on the nature of your charges and the information you can provide to the government.
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 & Tipon TODAY.
Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 112a Charges
The military defense attorneys at Bilecki & Tipon have spent decades skirmishing with prosecutors in court over Article 112a charges. We know the government’s playbook inside and out when it comes to drug charges. We’ve helped countless service members secure the best possible outcome in their court-martial cases. Now, let us help you.
Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 112a: Wrongful Use, Possession, etc., of Controlled Substances
Frequently Asked Questions About 112a
What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 112a: Wrongful Use, Possession, etc., of Controlled Substances?
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.
Can I Be Accused of Multiple Criminal Charges under Article 112a?
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.