Helping Military Clients Understand the Uniform Code of Military Justice
If you serve in any branch of our nation’s armed forces, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) outlines the legal regulations applicable to every service member in every branch. Consider the UCMJ a special set of laws that exist solely for American military personnel. It is crucial for every service member, both enlisted personnel and commissioned officers, to understand the UCMJ in its entirety, so they know how to handle allegations of UCMJ violations.
Attorney Aaron Meyer is a former United States Marine. He has used his military training and experience to create one of the most successful military defense practices in the United States. If you face any charge of UCMJ violation, you can expect the highest level of defense representation from Aaron Meyer and his team.
Why Choose Aaron Meyer Law?
Military personnel facing administrative separation or court-martial can obtain legal representation free of charge from within the military. If you face a military trial, you have the option to request detailed military counsel to be assigned to your case and provide legal representation through every phase of your proceedings. It’s also possible to secure legal representation from an independent military counsel if one is available and their commanding officer approves them to work on your case.
While military lawyers provide exceptional representation, you cannot expect the same level of personalized representation and aggressive defense of your constitutional rights as you would experience when you choose a private military criminal defense attorney like Aaron Meyer. When you choose Aaron Meyer to represent you after an accusation of violating the articles of the UCMJ, you can expect a detailed breakdown of your legal situation and your available options for defense.
Attorney Aaron Meyer maintains an impeccable track record of successful military defense cases on a wide range of offenses. He has protected enlisted service members from demotion and involuntary separation and helped officers retain their status within the service by defeating unjust charges. If you are accused of any UCMJ article violation, it is imperative to seek defense representation as soon as possible.
Understanding the UCMJ Articles
The UCMJ clearly outlines the legal expectations for every member of the United States military. Articles 1 through 76 pertain primarily to administration and procedure under the UCMJ. Articles 135 through 146 also pertain to procedures under the UCMJ. If you face a criminal case within your branch of service, the Punitive Articles of the UCMJ, Articles 77 through 134, are likely to be the most relevant in your situation. These articles outline all of the potential offenses that may lead to administrative separation or court-martial.
A few of the most commonly cited UCMJ Punitive Articles that can lead to administrative separation or court-martial include:
- Article 86: Absence without leave (AWOL). Going AWOL is a major offense. As a military member, you are expected to remain at your post and report for duty as directed by your commanding officer. If you leave the base or leave your post without your commanding officer’s permission, you could face serious penalties under the UCMJ.
- Article 92: Failure to obey order or regulation. Military members are expected to follow orders and adhere to all applicable military regulations in the discharging of their duties.
- Article 104: Aiding the enemy. This offense could be intentional or unintentional. Intentionally aiding enemy combatants in any way could potentially lead to more serious charges, including treason.
- Article 112: Drunk on duty. Consumption of alcohol while on duty is a punishable offense under the UCMJ. While offenses of this nature may result in nonjudicial punishment from a commanding officer, repeated offenses will lead to more serious action under the UCMJ.
- Article 121: Larceny and wrongful appropriation. In simple terms, this UCMJ article pertains to theft. Larceny refers to theft to keep another party’s property, while wrongful appropriation refers to the unauthorized taking of property temporarily.
- Article 125: Sodomy. The UCMJ forbids “unnatural carnal copulation” between service members of the same or opposite sex.
- Article 133: Conduct unbecoming an officer and gentlemen. The members of the armed forces are expected to reflect the best of American values. What constitutes conduct unbecoming an officer? While Article 133 may appear vague, this UCMJ article typically pertains to indecency, cruelty, dishonesty, and unfair dealing.
- Article 134: This is one of the most expansive articles of the UCMJ and covers many different crimes of moral turpitude and gross negligence. A few examples of offenses listed under Article 134 of the UCMJ include negligent discharge of a firearm, adultery, soliciting prostitution, straggling, child endangerment, breaking medical quarantine, and wrongful cohabitation. Can you be discharged from the military for adultery? Many people are surprised to learn that, yes, adultery can potentially lead to severe penalties, including dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of pay.
This is not an exhaustive list. It is essential for every service member to carefully review the entirety of the UCMJ to understand their expectations as uniformed members of the armed forces. While the military does not expect every service member to commit the entirety of the UCMJ to memory, it is imperative to understand how the UCMJ works if you are ever accused of any form of UCMJ violation.
Potential Penalties for Violating the UCMJ
Every branch of the military takes UCMJ violations very seriously. Depending on the nature of a violation, the accused may face nonjudicial punishment and a formal reprimand from their commanding officer. In more severe cases, the military may refer the accused for administrative separation if they demonstrate the inability to meet regulations and discharge their duties. The most severe UCMJ violations can lead to a court-martial, the military’s equivalent to a civilian criminal trial.
If you face administrative separation or court-martial, it is essential to find a defense attorney with extensive experience working with the articles of the UCMJ. A court-martial could lead to severe penalties, including imprisonment, forfeiture of your pay, loss of military benefits, and even dishonorable discharge. An experienced military defense attorney can potentially help you avoid conviction, have your case dismissed for “no basis,” or mitigate sentencing. Attorney Aaron Meyer seeks full acquittal for every client he represents.
Find Legal Counsel Now
Aaron Meyer Law provides aggressive defense representation to military members accused of violating the articles of the UCMJ. Attorney Aaron Meyer has successfully prevented conviction for every client he has represented and strives to dismantle the prosecution’s case at the earliest possible stage for every client. If you need legal counsel for an accusation of violating the articles of the UCMJ, contact Aaron Meyer Law today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and trustworthy military defense attorney.