The military continues to target and prosecute service members under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) who are accused of using or selling Spice, a type of synthetic marijuana. The continued emphasis on this type of prosecution in the military serves as a reminder of the importance of seeking the immediate assistance of a criminal defense lawyer if you are questioned or suspected of having used Spice or any other controlled substance.
Many media articles have recently reported the results of Navy investigations in San Diego that led to 64 sailors being disciplined and processed for administrative separations from ships assigned to the Navy’s Third Fleet. Similar cases have been reported at other military commands around the country including the service academies. Although many of the media reports state that the accused members “will be” kicked out of the military service under a zero-tolerance policy, all military members who are accused of a criminal offense have rights afforded to them under the UCMJ and applicable service regulations. Any reference to zero-tolerance refers to the policy of all the military services to initiate administrative separation proceedings for members who are accused of unlawfully using drugs. It does not, however, mean that the members will automatically be discharged from the service.
If you are suspected and questioned about the wrongful use of any controlled substance, you are first entitled to remain silent and to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before answering any questions from law enforcement or command security personnel. Although Navy and Marine Corps members assigned to or embarked on a vessel do not have the right to refuse non-judicial punishment (NJP), they do have the right to an administrative separation board and to representation by a criminal defense lawyer if the military attempts to separate them with an other than honorable (OTH) discharge. If you are notified of an administrative separation for drug abuse, you should not waive any of your rights, including the right to the board, before you talk with a defense lawyer.
If you have questions about a case involving Spice or any other controlled substance, you may contact the Law Office of Eric Roper for a free, confidential initial consultation.