More Than 25 Years Of Defense Advocacy
In Criminal And Military Courts

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Drug Crime Defense
  4.  » How addiction can lead to military career consequences

How addiction can lead to military career consequences

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Drug Crime Defense

People often develop substance abuse disorders slowly. A drink after work may turn into several drinks each night and eventually bad choices about when to drive home from a bar or party. Attempts to manage pain levels could lead to substance abuse issues with someone uses muscle relaxants or opioid pain relievers without a prescription from a physician.

Plenty of others self-medicate with prohibited drugs either to help them relax or possibly to increase their energy levels after hours on duty. Military servicemembers face a lot of pressure at work and may experience some trauma because of their service. These factors may contribute to substance abuse issues in certain servicemembers.

Research indicates that service members have slightly higher rates of substance abuse issues than members of the general public. Unfortunately, servicemembers who are arrested for drug and alcohol violations could face both criminal consequences and military penalties.

The military does not tolerate substance abuse

Despite the prevalence of substance abuse disorders and the frequency with which those seeking services at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals require addiction treatment, the military is not particularly accepting of those with substance abuse issues. Those who break the law due to alcohol or drugs put their continued service at risk.

There is often a zero-tolerance policy for violations such as drunk driving or illegal drug possession. While the civilian criminal courts may offer deferred adjudication and treatment in some cases, the military does not. A conviction in criminal court could very well lead to professional consequences for the servicemember convicted.

Someone prosecuted in the civilian courts might face court-martial that could lead to other penalties, including a dishonorable discharge from the military because of their substance abuse issues. Servicemembers could face up to two years of incarceration for a possession offense. Those caught with drugs on base or well on duty could face even harsher military penalties than those prosecuted in the civilian courts for infractions that occur on their own time.

The major consequences possible make it imperative for those serving in the military to respond assertively to allegations of drug and alcohol offenses. Properly responding to criminal charges and military proceedings could help someone to potentially preserve their freedom and their military career.