The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is a federal law that delineates the military justice system. This code consists of 146 articles and 12 sub articles, coming to a grand total of 158 articles that define the various levels of criminal law for soldiers. Of the UCMJ articles, article 2 and articles 77-134 speak the most directly about offenses that could lead to court martial. If you need legal aid with these articles, Military Trial Defenders can help.
Article 2 – Individuals Subject to Trial By Court Martial
There are several categories of people who can potentially be given a court martial as outlined article 2 of the UCMJ. These categories include all members of the military (even retired military members,) military prisoners and prisoners of war, and quasi-military organizations. For a more detailed understanding of these categories, we recommend reading article 2 or consulting with a military attorney.
Articles 77 through 144 – The Punitive Articles
Known as “the punitive articles” these 61 clauses discuss military offenses that are subject to court martial. The punitive offenses outlined in the UCMJ articles include everything from Article 86 – Absence without Leave (AWOL) to Article 128 – Assault. Offenses such as murder, conspiracy, and kidnapping are also covered. It is probably not surprising that these premeditated crimes could warrant a court martial. Such offenses are not overly common among members of the military. Crimes that occur due to negligence, however, are slightly more common and much more complex.
Articles 112 – “Drunk on Duty”
For example, Article 112 – “Drunk on Duty”, depicts a serious military offense. The article states that any person subject to this chapter other than sentinel or look-out, who is found drunk on duty, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. While being drunk on duty is not necessarily premeditated or malicious, this crime has serious consequences. Most of the time, irresponsible behavior that goes against military conduct will lead to a court martial. This is no different for someone found drunk on duty.
Importantly, there are a few defenses for military members who have been accused of this crime. If the military member accidentally overdosed on a prescribed medicinal treatment, they may be able exonerate the offense. The military member may also be partially pardoned if a commanding officer knew that he or she was drunk at the time and still assigned the duty. An experienced military attorney can also help figure out which court martial defense best applies given the details of the offense.
Legal Experts on the UCMJ Articles
The attorneys at Military Trial Defenders understand the court martial procedures. We also know the ins and outs of the UCMJ articles. Because of this, we are able to provide counsel and assistance to military personnel who have been accused of violating the punitive articles. So, if you are a member of the military and are currently facing a court martial, consider contacting Military Trial Defenders for legal support.