It’s unfortunate that many Americans cope with the stresses of their work by consuming alcohol, sometimes on the job. The penalties for a civilian who engages in such behavior can include termination of their employment and potential civil and criminal penalties. However, when a US service member is drunk on duty, the penalties they face are much more severe. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) includes various Articles that outline all uniformed servicemembers’ expectations and legal obligations while on active duty. Article 112: Drunk on Duty, may at first seem like a relatively light offense, but it can entail very serious penalties.
Any member of the military caught under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty can face loss of their military benefits and pension or even Dishonorable Discharge. The only exception to this rule is duty serving as a lookout or sentinel, and the military upholds separate regulations for such offenses.
Representing Military Clients as Defense Counsel
Attorney Aaron Meyer is a former US Marine with years of experience in military defense counsel. If you are accused of violating UCMJ Article 112, our team can provide aggressive defense on your behalf and help you preserve your military career. Our firm has maintained a spotless record with zero convictions, thanks to Attorney Meyer’s dedication to protecting the rights of every client our firm represents.
When you face charges of violating the UCMJ in any way, you may have the option of securing legal counsel from a detailed military lawyer if one is available. However, while these attorneys are skilled legal professionals capable of providing an acceptable level of criminal defense representation, they simply cannot match the individualized attention your case would receive from a private defense firm like Aaron Meyer Law.
Potential Consequences of Article 112 Drunk on Duty Conviction
Many military legal cases filed under Article 112 generate from seemingly innocent circumstances. It’s not uncommon for military members to face Article 112 charges under circumstances that would otherwise be understandable for a civilian. For example, few people would likely find it fair or reasonable to incarcerate a servicemember under Article 112 conviction if they appeared for duty while slightly under the influence from a previous night of drinking. Unfortunately, some commanding officers are quite liberal in their application of Article 112 charges, some of which can jeopardize targeted service members’ military careers.
Some of the potential penalties for conviction under Article 112 of the UCMJ include:
- Incarceration for up to nine months in military prison.
- Dishonorable Discharge, or Other-than-Honorable Discharge, both of which can severely complicate your future civilian life.
- Loss of military benefits, healthcare, and pension, including forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
- Demotion in rank to E-1.
If you have been charged with violating Article 112 of the UCMJ, call our office. It’s vital to fight the charges against you as vehemently as possible with the help of an experienced military criminal defense attorney. Attorney Aaron Meyer can provide the legal representation you need in this type of situation.
What to Expect from Your Article 112 Defense Case
Under Article 112 of the UCMJ, the prosecution in any Drunk on Duty case must establish two facts to convict the accused:
- The accused was actively involved in a certain duty
- The accused was drinking or drunk while involved in their duty
Article 112 applies to all Drunk on Duty allegations save for those regarding soldiers on guard duty, lookout duty, or acting as sentinels. These individuals face prosecution under Article 113 of the UCMJ.
Attorney Aaron Meyer’s defense philosophy revolves around dismantling the prosecution’s case at the foundational level. It’s vital to consider various factors when formulating a defense against an Article 112 charge:
- At what time were you found drunk? If it was before beginning your duties that day, or after you were relieved, or if a commanding officer notified you that you were on liberty, then Article 112 does not apply.
- If you did not begin your duties on the date in question due to drunkenness, you cannot be found guilty under Article 112. For example, if you were still intoxicated from the night before your duties began and notified your commanding officer and they granted you liberty for the day, this would insulate you from Article 112 conviction.
- Was there any evidence of miscommunication as to when your duties began on the date in question? It’s possible that your accuser believed you were on duty when you were not.
- Assess the nature of your intoxication. For example, if you had an adverse reaction to prescription medication or experienced strong side effects from a prescribed medication, your accuser may have misconstrued this as drunkenness.
- Did a commanding officer know you were intoxicated and assigned you to a specific duty anyway?
- What evidence does the prosecution offer? If you have one or two witnesses vouch for your behavior during the time in question, this can form an affirmative defense.
These are only a few possible ways you and your military defense attorney might formulate an affirmative defense against an Article 112 charge.
Attorney Aaron Meyer will carefully review all of these and the other factors involved in your unique situation. Our firm believes in providing the most aggressive defense possible for every service member we represent. In many cases, we are able to have an Article 112 charge thrown out during the earliest phases by clarifying the circumstances of the accusation or arrest in question. It is also possible to secure alternative disciplinary action in some situations, but Attorney Meyer seeks full acquittal for every client he represents.
Representing Servicemembers of All Military Branches
No matter which branch of the military you serve, you have Constitutional rights and legal protections, including the right to legal counsel when accused of violating the UCMJ. If you have been accused of violating Article 112 of the UCMJ, it’s vital to secure legal counsel as soon as possible. Military prosecutors tend to move very quickly, in most cases much more rapidly than any civilian court. The sooner you seek legal counsel, the sooner you can begin formulating a defense that will help you preserve your military career.
If you are ready to discuss your Article 112 charge with an experienced military defense attorney, contact Aaron Meyer Law today and schedule a consultation with our team.