As this blog has addressed on previous occasions, soldiers and sailors in the United States armed forces are subject to a special set of laws called the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ.

Even if their behavior is perfectly legal under state law, service members who violated the UCMJ can face serious penalties, including the possibility of a discharge under less than honorable conditions. In serious cases, a soldier or sailor may even face a formal court martial and, with it, the possibility of what amounts to a criminal conviction and imprisonment at a military facility.

For example, under the UCMJ, military personnel who are involved in a variety of narcotics and other drugs, including marijuana, can face court martial or other legal consequences. It is important to note that, under the UCMJ, it is federal law, and not state law, the controls. Moreover, the UCMJ punishes even the use of a drug, meaning that a positive drug test, standing alone, can result in legal punishment.

It is also important for soldiers and sailors to remember that what goes on in their off-duty hours can still be punished under the UCMJ.

In addition to the immediate penalties they can face, getting into trouble while in the armed forces can make it much more difficult to find employment and enjoy other privileges while in civilian life. Moreover, a less than honorable discharge can leave a solider or sailor without access to important veterans’ benefits upon which they may have been counting.

This is why allegations related to drugs have to be taken seriously by service members. In order to deal with such allegations, it may be advisable for a solider stained in Northern Virginia to have the assistance of an attorney experienced with military law.