A court-martial is an extremely serious military proceeding that can result in the loss of many things, including your military career and your rank. In some cases of misconduct, however, it may be possible for a military commander to give an Article 15 instead of a court-martial. While this may be in your best interests, it is important to understand the details of an Article 15 and how it can impact your career and freedom.
What is an Article 15?
Often called non-judicial punishment, an Article 15 is a federal law that allows commanding officers to conduct a non-judicial proceeding for minor offenses. It is a way for commanders to settle accusations of minor misconduct against a soldier without utilizing higher forms of discipline. A soldier does have the right to refuse to accept an Article 15 and request trial by court-martial.
What are the Different Types of Article 15s?
In order to determine whether you should accept the Article 15 or instead request a court-martial, you should consider the various types of Article 15s. The three types of Article 15s are:
- Summarized: The maximum punishment at a summarized Article 15 can include extra duty for 14 days, restriction for 14 days, and/or an oral reprimand. Soldiers are not entitled to a defense attorney and may choose to request trial by court-martial.
- Company Grade: In this category, maximum punishment can include extra duty for 14 days, restriction for 14 days, oral reprimand, forfeiture of seven days base pay, and/or reduction in rank of one grade.
- Field Grade: Maximum punishment at a field grade Article 15 can include extra duty for 45 days, restriction for 60 days, oral reprimand, forfeiture of one-half base pay per month for two months, and/or reduction in rank to E-1 or reduction in rank of one grade.
If you are found guilty at the Article 15, your punishment typically begins right away. If you decide to appeal the Article 15 and do not receive a decision within five calendar days, you can ask that punishment involving extra duty or restriction be interrupted based on the outcome of your appeal.
Protect Your Rights with a Military Criminal Defense Attorney
When your freedom is on the line, it can be difficult to determine the best course of action. We at McCormack & McCormack have been representing criminally accused soldiers for a combined 40 years and understand the complexities of the criminal justice system you face.
Before you make an impulse decision, turn to our firm. We are eager to guide you toward the most favorable outcome and assist you with the details of your case. Get in touch with us right away to take advantage of your free consultation.