What is Article 15 Military? All You Need To Know

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What is Article 15 Military, and when will it be used? That is what you will be discovering before the end of this article.

Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice allows a commanding officer to decide innocence or guilt and, if necessary, administer punishment to an offender when a military man gets into trouble for a misdemeanor that does not require a court hearing.

Also known as Non-Judicial Punishment, an Article 15 hearing allows the UCMJ offender’s immediate chain of command to internally handle misdemeanors that do not require a trial or violate other local or federal regulations.

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What is an article 15?

The military has its own laws and regulations, all of which can be found at the UCMJ. Not all violations of the rules are serious enough to require a legal hearing, so Article 15 provides an alternative to a court-martial, which is a trial with a jury made up of military officers, warrant officers, or Enlisted members, based on the rank of the defendant.1

The Army and Air Force often use the term “Article 15 hearing,” but the Marines call them “Business Hours” and the Navy refers to them as “Captain’s Mast” or “Admiral’s Mast,” depending on rank. of the member in command. official.

An Article 15 hearing is more of a legal proceeding than a trial and involves the chain of command with references that speak for or against the accused. By comparison, an Article 15 hearing is more similar to a misdemeanor court than a felony court, which would be more comparable to a court-martial.

How an article 15 military works 

To initiate Article 15 action, a commander must have reason to believe that a member of his command has committed an offense under the UCMJ. A minor offense is defined as misconduct that is normally no more serious than that usually dealt with in a summary court-martial and where the maximum punishment is 30 days imprisonment.

Non-judicial punishment is the result of an investigation into wrongful conduct and a subsequent hearing to determine whether and to what extent an accused should be punished. Typically, when a complaint is filed with an accused’s commanding officer (or if that commander receives an investigative report from a military law enforcement source), that commander is required to conduct an investigation to determine the truth. of the matter.

A military man facing an Article 15 hearing has the right to request a full court-martial. However, this carries the risk of more severe penalties if convicted.

If, after preliminary investigation, the commanding officer determines that the disposition by the NJP is appropriate, the commanding officer should inform the accused that the NJP is being considered for the offense, along with the contemplated action, the suspected offense. , government evidence, right to refuse. NJP, and the right to consult with an independent attorney.

Except in the case of a person annexed to or embarked on a ship, a defendant may demand a court-martial trial in lieu of Article 15.2.

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Types of Article 15 Punishments

The commanding officer has several options for determining punishment, but none of them can be severe. The limits on punishments may vary depending on the rank of the commanding officer and the rank of the accused.

Restrictions on correctional custody, base, or other specified limits typically cannot last more than 30 days, and the range cannot be reduced more than one degree. The payment can generally be reduced to no more than half for two consecutive months.

Commanding officers also have the discretion to suspend punishments for up to one year. Effectively, this means that punishment is not carried out unless the defendant fails to comply with the terms of the suspended sentence.

Punishment may also include additional duties as long as they do not pose a danger and are not degrading in relation to the rank of the individual.

A military man may appeal any punishment resulting from an Article 15 hearing in writing to the next higher authority. Appeals must be submitted in writing within five days of the Article 15 ruling.

Impact of Article 15

A service member can have his or her history of an Article 15 violation expunged if he does not commit further violations within a specified time. This could be two years if Article 15 was filed at the Attorney General’s office on a military base. Otherwise, a violation of Article 15 may affect your future access to security clearances, as well as your chances of getting a promotion or certain types of assignments. Sometimes getting a promotion can also erase a history of an Article 15 violation.

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If you were arrested during the events that resulted in Article 15 sanctions, you may face consequences in your civil life. This is because arrests can be reported to the FBI.

You can ask your commander to help you ask the FBI to remove the record of your arrest, or you can submit a request under privacy laws. As noted above, Article 15 does not give rise to a criminal record, so you should not face the same kinds of obstacles that people with convictions in civil court often face.

Summary court-martial

An Article 15 case may refer to a less formal type of court-martial, known as a summary court-martial. If you do not want your case to be decided in summary court-martial, you have the right to reject it. You are not entitled to a free military defense attorney in summary court-martial, as you would in other types of court-martial, but you can hire a civil defense attorney if you wish.

You can see the evidence against you before the process begins, as well as the nature of your charge and the names of your accuser and prosecution witnesses. You can request that a spokesperson or other service members speak on your behalf. However, a single officer will evaluate the evidence and make a decision.

They will question both the accuser and the accused about their version of events and may seek legal advice from a defense attorney if necessary.

Members of the military have a limited set of rights in summary court-martial. They will be allowed to present witnesses and evidence, and are free to remain silent without an inference of their guilt.

They have the right to know the maximum possible sentence before the process begins and they can plead guilty or not guilty. They also have the right to make a statement or present more evidence to support a reduction in their sentences if they are found guilty. (They can ask to postpone any part of their sentence that involves confinement.)

They have the right to appeal if found guilty, using a copy of the trial record. The Military Rules of Evidence apply in these proceedings, so there are limits to the admissibility of evidence similar to the limits in civil courts.

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