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Can I be separated from the Army because of an alcohol related incident downtown?

I received an field grade article 15 for underage drinking (art 92) in November. Got command refereed to asap and they decided that I didn't fit into their program so they never enrolled me. In March I received a citation for consumption from a civilian police officer. I hired a lawyer and they told me to do a drug and alcohol class and 8hrs community service. I completed that and its on the way of being dismissed. I never got counseled on the event off-post and my company sent me to asap which I passed. Well, my command sent me to my phase 1, 2 evaluation, mental evaluation and education briefing. Then they handed me a backdated counseling statement from Apr 23rd saying I'm getting recommended for chapter 9 (failure to rehabilitate) which I signed with today's date. I went to rehab graduated, learned form my mistake and haven't drank since march. WHAT SHOULD I DO? CAN THEY DO THIS TO ME?

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Short Answer



I can go into a long discussion of the issue, however I do not believe that will assist you. The Bottom line is that the Army can separate you for this conduct.

If the issues were not severe and you have stopped drinking then you may have a fighting chance at staying in the Army. Unfortunately you will probably have to get an Attorney involved. One with prior JAG experience would be best. They typically can give you a consultation for $50-$150.00. This is money well spent in my professional opinion.

For this price you can determine if you have a fighting chance. If you cannot find such an attorney in your area I would recommend Phil Cave. His email is:

I have recommended him in the past and he has done some high profile cases. If you want to stay in you are going to have to fight and you need to know up front if you have a fighting chance. In today’s Army they are looking to remove Soldiers that are having problems with discipline so they can reduce the force. So if you believe that the separation action is not fair then you need to be prepared to fight it.

If you are punished downtown in court you cannot be punished by the military.  However you could receive a General Letter of Reprimand, be separated from service, have your security clearance revoked, and numerous other actions as these are considered administrative action and are not punishment.

Course(s) of Action to Consider

The only action I can think of is to discuss the issue with your military attorney and argue that the backdated counseling was not timely and that it does not contain an assessment conducted in a reasonable time frame their for it cannot be used to as part of your separation packet.

Unfortunately the removal of the counseling statement does not prevent your separation from service.  SEEK Guidance from JAG and potentially a civilian attorney.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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