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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 32808
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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Im in the process of appealing a NJP for violation of UCMJ

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I'm in the process of appealing a NJP for violation of UCMJ article 112a, wrongful use of a controlled substance. Long story short, I took a tablet of Valium from a previous prescription that had not yet expired that was for anxiety for a back procedure almost one year ago. I took this medication to alleviate the anxiety of reporting to a new command, and in a new role. I initially went into my medicine container to retrieve my Dremamine, and the Valium was right next to it. I remembered what the medication did for me for the back procedure. I looked at the expiration date (still good), so I took one pill to help calm my nervousness. Well, it showed up positive in a urinalysis shortly after reporting onboard. I've already had my DRB, XOI, and Captains Mast. My appeal for NJP is due this Friday, and my appeal for Detachment for Cause is Due July 25th. I have an immaculate service record (13 years of service), and have received many awards to include a Navy Commendation Medal, six Navy Achievement Medals and many others. I am praying someone can provide me with some guidance. I have a wife and three children and with facing a potential administrative separation, I'll loose my benefits, not to mention my GI Bill (even if I'm awarded a General under Honorable conditions). Can anyone please provide me some feedback?

Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.

Have they started the adsep proceedings already? If so where are they in the process?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have been to Captains Mast on Monday and I'm working on my appeal for the Non Judicial Punishment which is due this Friday. I will most likely have an administrative separation board next.

I would focus on the adsep. The appeals process from Mast is very can only appeal if the sentence was to harsh (and this is a very tough way to go...since max punishment at Mast is nominal compared to a court martial) of if you can show the proceedings were unfair

What you describe? It is a crime under the UCMJ to take medication that was prescribed to you for one condition for a separate condition. So you have an uphill battle with the appeal.

But what you describe? It sounds like you have a shot at winning the adsep. Tell me, have you started to collect statements from folks who know you well? Ideally your SNCO's and officers?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No I have not but that seems like a good idea. I have many SNCO's and officers I can talk to. Do you have any other recommendations for my adsep board?

Again, I would focus on the board. That is what counts. Frankly...the appeal of Mast could be seen as a waste of effort.

You took mast...tell me, were you on ship (so you had no choice)? Or did you have the chance to refuse and took mast?
Sorry, I have to turn in. But will filed your response tomorrow am

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was on a sea going vessel. So I had no choice. I appreciate your comments and I will not expend too much effort into the appeal for Captains Mast. I am curious as to what you would recommend my focus should be for my adsep board.


Again, thank you psimmons for your time and valuable feedback.


THe fact you could not refuse mast? That I think could be your saving grace. Since you never had the chance to bring this to a court.

Lets be was technically illegal for you to take that pill.

But it is not like, for example, if you went out and purchased cocaine. So I would think you have a shot in the adsep proceeding.

I would focus on that now. Start to get letters of support. The more the better. Reach back to prior commands. You want to line up the support.

And work on your own letter. This letter should be the centerpiece of the package.

Frankly? I would consider hiring a lawyer to assist you with this.

You are, in essence, going to be putting together a package to the separation authority (likely the admiral). You want it to be easy for them to understand. So a lawyer can help with this.

You want letters of support, then you want any other evidence that can help mitigate this. You are likely looking at a "paper case"...I bet they do not push for an you have to make your appeal on paper. And typically you only get 3 days to submit your package. So get on it!

I am done for tonight...but will answer any follow on question you may have tomorrow

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