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This article provides a brief overview of the some of the crimes found in the military.

I. Inchoate Crimes

Inchoate offenses describe crimes that involve one’s preparation to commit another crime. The three inchoate offenses in the military are attempt, conspiracy and solicitation. It is a crime to attempt to commit a crime, to agree to commit a crime with other people and to advise another person to commit a crime.

2. Military Unique Offenses

a. Fraudulent or unlawful enlistments, appointments or separations of military personnel.

It is a crime to knowingly procure a fraudulent or unlawful enlistment, appointment or separation.

b. Crimes involving absence

It is a crime to fail to be where you have been ordered to be by your superiors, to leave your place of duty without proper leave or to leave with the intent of staying away permanently (Unauthorized Absence, Absence without Leave “AWOL”, desertion). It is also crime to fail to be with your unit, ship or aircraft when it moves out on a mission (missing movement). Finally, it is a crime to fake an illness to avoid work or duty (malingering).

c. Crimes involving superiors and subordinates

It is crime to disrespect, disobey, threaten or assault your superiors. Additionally, service members cannot use contemptuous words against U.S. officials such as the President. It is a crime to impersonate a commissioned officer, warrant officer, noncommissioned or petty officer, agent or official. Also, it is a crime for an officer to act in an unbecoming manner (conduct unbecoming an officer). It is a crime to violate a general order or regulation. Likewise, it is also a crime to fail to obey a lawful order from a superior or try to override lawful military authority (mutiny). Additionally, it is a crime to willfully or negligently fail to perform one’s duties efficiently (dereliction of duty) or to be drunk on duty. Further, it is a crime to make an official statement that is false. It is a crime for a superior to be cruel or maltreat a subordinate. Finally, it is a crime for officers and enlisted personnel to associate with each other in a way that is prejudicial to good order and discipline (fraternization).

d. Crimes involving war.

It is a crime to act cowardly or otherwise misbehave before the enemy. It is a crime to straggle behind a movement. It is a crime to misbehave as a sentinel. It is a crime to act as a spy. Finally, it is a crime to unlawfully collect war trophies.

e. Crimes involving property

It is a crime to lose, damage, destroy or wrongfully dispose of military property.

3. Conventional Offenses

The military has many of the same crimes that one might find in state or federal law. For example, it is a crime to commit offenses against people such as, murder, assault, kidnapping, maiming or sexual offenses. Servicemembers are also subject to crimes involving the use of illegal drugs. There are also crimes in the military that involve property, such as housebreaking, larceny, arson or burglary. Other conventional crimes involve offenses against the administration of justice, such as obstructing justice. Also, in the military a servicemember commits a crime when he uses words or actions that might create a public panic.

If you or a loved one is either facing court-martial, have been accused of a military crime, or been convicted at court-martial, you need an experienced military law attorney. Call me for a free initial consultation.