Military Drug Test Defense
If you have been notified that you tested positive on a military drug test, you may feel like your military career is over. As former military members, JAG Defense Lawyers understand what you are going through and exactly how to handle your positive military urinalysis defense. You will want to consider whether it is in your best interest to retain an experienced military drug test defense attorney whose only interest is you and saving your military career. Review our extensive list of success stories related to positive urinalysis cases which demonstrate our success and expertise in this area.
Over the course of his career, Grover H. Baxley has built a national reputation for his defense of positive military urinalysis cases. He is frequently consulted for training and advice by both military defense counsel and other civilian defense counsel, and provides annual training to military defense counsel on how to defend positive urinalysis cases. Mr. Baxley has represented hundreds of individuals charged with drug use based upon positive military drug tests, and has developed innovative and highly effective approaches to defending these very unique cases.
If you have a positive military drug test, do not delay. Contact us today for a consultation about your case and get the trusted expertise that only JAG Defense can offer!
Defending a Positive Military Urinalysis
In order to ensure an alert and responsible fighting force, all branches of the military employ a very active drug testing program. Specifically, the military uses urinalysis testing to monitor and deter its members from using controlled substances. On average, the military screens approximately 60,000 urine samples per month at its multiple urinalysis testing laboratories.
A positive test result will likely result in significant administrative or disciplinary action against a military member, to include court-martial. Essentially all branches of the military have adopted a “Zero Tolerance” approach to drug use. If a member is suspected of drug involvement, then he/she will face some type of disciplinary action.
Please see below for further details on the types of ingestion and/or collection errors that can directly affect you.
In the military, it is not misconduct to have a positive urinalysis test. Instead, it is misconduct to knowingly and consciously use a drug. Thus, in any disciplinary action based solely upon a urinalysis test, the government must do more than simply produce a positive urinalysis result. Instead, the government must show that the reason for the positive urinalysis test was because the member knowingly and consciously used an illegal substance. If the positive urinalysis test was caused by the innocent or unknowing ingestion of a drug, then the member has not committed misconduct. Presenting an unknowing/innocent ingestion defense, however, can be very complicated due to the number of different factors that must be considered. We suggest that you do not attempt to present an unknowing/innocent ingestion defense without consulting an experienced attorney and/or forensic toxicologist. Our attorneys have extensive experience in presenting compelling evidence and argument supporting the possibility of an unknowing ingestion to military injuries.
In any urinalysis collection, each urine sample represents a military member’s career. As such, every service has an instruction or regulation detailing the specific manner in which urinalysis samples must be collected and tested. These instructions must be followed exactly to ensure a proper collection and chain of custody. Any deviation from the instructions during a collection process casts doubt on the accuracy of the collection and the results of the urinalysis testing. At JAG Defense, our attorneys and paralegals have extensive knowledge of how urinalysis collections must take place. Each time we represent a member accused of testing positive on a urinalysis test, we exhaustively comb through the documentation for each and every urinalysis collection or testing process to ensure that it was done correctly. If we can demonstrate that there were errors in the collection or testing process, those errors cast doubt on the integrity of accuracy of the test results.
If you have been told that you tested positive on a urinalysis test, we invite you to contact JAG Defense for a free consultation regarding your case.
Types of Military Urinalysis – Military Drug Tests
When a member is notified that he/she has been selected to provide a urine sample for testing, that member generally must provide a urine sample within two hours. Each service typically assigns urinalysis collection duties to a trusted, responsible member as a collateral duty. This individual is responsible for ensuring an accurate and well-documented collection, packaging and shipping process. Once collected and packaged, the urine samples are then transported to a designated Department of Defense urine testing laboratory. At these laboratories, the urine samples are tested using advanced detection techniques. If a sample is deemed to be positive, that result is reported back to the member’s command for subsequent disciplinary action. There are a number of different bases for urine sample collection upon which the military relies. The basis for the urine sample collection dictates the manner in which any positive urine test results can be used by the command. Please see below for some of the most common bases for military urinalysis collections.
The most common of these bases is referred to as “random” urinalysis testing. On any given day, military members may be randomly selected to provide a urine sample. Most often, a computer program is used to ascertain which members will be tested on any particular day. Some commands, however, still employ such basic techniques as drawing names from a hat to ensure randomness. If a member tests positive on a random urinalysis collection, that positive result may be used by the military for action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or for administrative action.
Probable Cause Urinalysis
Another basis for urinalysis collection is probable cause. If a commander has a reasonable belief that a member recently used drugs, and that the drug or its metabolite is still in the member’s system, then the commander may authorize the collection of a urinalysis sample. If a member tests positive on a probable cause urinalysis collection, that positive result may be used by the military for action under the UCMJ or for administrative action.
A commander or investigator may ask a military member to voluntarily provide a urine sample for drug testing. Military members have an absolute right not to consent to providing a urine sample. If a military member that agrees to consent to providing a urine sample subsequently tests positive for drug use as a result of that urinalysis collection, then those positive results may be used by the command for action under the UCMJ or for administrative action.
Another very common basis for urinalysis collection is an inspection. These are also referred to as “unit/command sweeps.” A commander may order his/her entire unit or command to provide a urine specimen. The primary purpose of such an inspection is to determine and ensure the security, fitness, or good order and discipline of that unit. An inspection may not, however, be used as a subterfuge for a probable cause or consent urinalysis. That is, if a commander suspects a particular member has used drugs, but does not have enough evidence for a probable cause urinalysis, that commander may not conduct an inspection urinalysis just to obtain a urine sample from the suspected member. If conducted properly, a positive drug test arising from an inspection urinalysis may be used by the military for action under the UCMJ or for administrative action.
A commander may order a member to provide a urine sample based upon a “reasonable suspicion” of drug use or drug involvement. The purpose of the commander-directed urinalysis is to determine a member’s competency for duty, need for rehabilitation, or need for medical treatment. Such a basis for urine collection is typically used when a commander suspects drug use or involvement, but does not have enough evidence to warrant a probable cause urinalysis. If a military member tests positive on a commander-directed urinalysis collection, the command may NOT use the results of that urinalysis for action under the UCMJ. Further, while the results of the commander-directed urinalysis may be used as a basis for discharge, they cannot be used to adversely characterize that member’s service.
Again, if you have been notified that you allegedly tested positive for an illegal substance on a military urinalysis test, we encourage you to contact JAG Defense for a consultation with an experienced military defense attorney.