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What to Do if You Are Accused of "Going AWOL"

As a service member in the U.S. military, you are obligated to fulfill your duties of service. Unfortunately, desertion is a serious problem and the U.S. Armed Forces does not look kindly on those charged with absence without leave (AWOL). If you were accused of this offense, you may be fearful as you consider the potential consequences that await you.

Not every AWOL charge is the same, however, and the outcome of your case depends on your alleged offense. According to the Manual for Courts-Martial, there are four different ways that a service member can be guilty of absence without leave.

  1. Failure to go to appointed place of duty: You can be charged with this offense if you were appointed to a certain time and place of duty, knew about the time and place, and failed to appear without an authority's permission.
  2. Going from appointed place of duty: You can be charged with this offense if you were appointed to a certain time and place of duty, knew about the time and place, and left the place after reporting for duty without an authority's permission.
  3. Absence from unity, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid maneuvers or field exercises: Along with the elements of number two, you must also have known that your absence would occur during maneuvers or field exercises and intended to avoid all or part of these events.
  4. Abandoning watch or guard: You can be charged with this offense if you were a member of the guard, watch, or duty, absented yourself from one of these positions, did not have permission to do so, and intended to abandon your post.

Taking Action after an AWOL Accusation

Just because you were accused does not mean you will automatically be deemed guilty. You may have had a legitimate reason to leave your post without permission and in order to prove this, you need a military criminal defense attorney on your side.

Our firm has 40 years of shared experience handling military cases and can utilize our skills to defend your best interests in court. With an unshakeable work ethic, legal talent, and immense knowledge, we can build the strong defense that you need during this time.

Don't let an AWOL accusation ruin your career and threaten your freedom. Contact McCormack & McCormack today to find out how we can assist you.

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