Skip to main content

Will you be dishonorably discharged if you have to leave the Army to enter into a long term substance abuse program?

Clarksville, TN |
Filed under: Military law

I have a family member who needs immediate help. He has already completed the Army alcohol program which did not help him AT ALL and has gone to AA. He needs detox and a long term program. He has admitted he needs help immediately, but says he would have to take a dishonorable discharge. He has never been in trouble or had any problems other than this, but things are extremely out of control and I'm very concerned of what is going to happen if he does not get help. What are the options? How would we know what type of attorney to use or if he would need to talk with attorney for this type of thing? Any input that I can get would be helpful and also the names of attorneys in my area would help me. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. The military has inpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs. Initially, he should seek help through his chain of command. If, however, he is worried that he will face punitive or adverse administrative action if he raises this issue with his command, I would advise that he speak with a military law attorney first. Most of the attorneys who post responses to questions on Avvo offer free consultations. Take advantage of this service and have him give one of us a call. Good luck.

  2. A dishonorable discharge is reserved for only the worst kind of offenses. ASAP (Army Substance Abuse Program) failures are usually issued General Discharges. If he gets into trouble like a positive urinalysis then he could walk himself into an Other than Honorable Discharge. This guy needs to go to the Army Trial Defense Service Office at his Post to seek advice from an Army JAG. They don't charge for their services.

  3. If what you are talking about is your relative leaving the Army without permission to enter into a detox/long-term program s/he would most probably put into an unauthorized abscense status - which can and probably would result in a DD Form 553 being issued. That will cause her/im to be arrested if there is interaction with the police and her/is name is run in the NCIC. Therefore, I would not recommend it, no should anyone recommend a soldier to leave without's against the law. The Army, in fact all the branches, have in-patient long term programs, both on military installations and soldiers are also sent to in-patient centers around the country. There are even places that treat soldiers who are dealing with a combonation of issues that compete with one another, i.e. PTSD and Alcohold Abuse/Dependence. It's hard to treat one without treating the other if you suffer from both. If your relative recognizes the problem, s/he can go back to the substance abuse counseling office or a mental health provider on base and discuss it further treatment.

    Generally, it is better to take care of these things by voluntary referral to get the help.

    If you would like to discuss it further, you can send an inquiry to my office via AVVO and I will send you my contact number, or you can look at my profile to get my number as well.

  4. I believe you asked this question previously as if the loved one were to go AWOL from Korea to do this. In that case a dishonorable discharge is a possibility as it could lead to a court-martial.

    This post is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney client relationship with Mr. Cassara.

Military law topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics