FAQ Videos

I Failed a Drug Test. Should I Demand a Court Martial?

Protecting the Rights of Service Members in Northern Illinois

If you are a service member who has failed a drug test, demanding a Court Martial will not result in the charges against you being dropped. The penalties for using illicit drugs are severe, including up to five years of confinement and a dishonorable discharge, depending on the circumstances. A skilled lawyer can help you determine your best option.



According to 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), those who serve in our nation’s armed forces may face serious consequences for using illegal drugs. The penalties associated with using drugs are the same as those prescribed for drug possession, manufacture, and bringing drugs onto a military installation.

Illinois Military Defense Lawyer

In many cases, military units will handle failed drug tests and suspected drug abuse situations through what is known as a “non-judicial punishment” (NJP), also called an “Article 15” proceeding. Article 15 of the UCMJ gives unit commanders the authority to handle relatively minor offenses that do not require a full Court Martial. An alleged offender has the right, however, to request a full Court Martial if he or she believes that it is worth the risk of increased punishment.

During a Court Martial for alleged drug use, the government only needs to show that the alleged offender tested positive for illegal drugs and the chain of custody of the sample was not broken. With such a burden of proof, it is usually not advisable for a service member to demand a Court Martial when faced with allegations of drug use, but there may be exceptions.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you are a member of the armed forces and you are facing an Article 15 proceeding for a failed drug test, contact our office. Call 630-665-7300 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced civilian military defense attorney today. We serve military members in North Chicago, Glenview, Lake County, Wheaton, Warrenville, St. Charles, Elgin, DuPage County, Kane County, and throughout Illinois.

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1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100
Wheaton, IL 60189
630-549-0960
Evening and weekend hours by appointment.

We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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