The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is a federal law that applies to all United States military members, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves. The UCMJ covers a variety of offenses, from desertion to murder. There are nine punishments that a military member may face depending on the seriousness of their violation. Here are nine types of penalties under the UCMJ:
- Reprimands: There are three types of reprimands under the UCMJ, including an admonition, a reprimand, and a censure. These are verbal or written reprimands, the least severe punishments under the UCMJ. Typically, an admonition serves as a warning to the service member without affecting their military record. A reprimand usually goes into the member’s personnel file but does affect their rank, pay, or privileges. In contrast, a censure is more formal. Usually, it comes from a commanding officer, which can affect the member’s rank or privileges.
- Forfeiture of pay or allowances: This punishment is more severe because it reduces or eliminates the service member’s salary for a specific timeframe. Forfeiture of compensation is a punishment for available for members who have unauthorized absences or are deserters. The amount that is forfeited depends on the severity of the offense committed.
- Reduction in rank: When someone is insubordinate or fails to carry out their assigned duties, they may receive a reduction in position. The reduction in rank can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the offense.
- Restriction: When a military member disobeys or fails to follow orders, they may be restricted to a specific area for up to 45 days. Extra duties can accompany a restriction. A restriction accompanied by additional duties can substantially impact a service member’s daily life.
- Extra duties: When a service member violates military law, but it doesn’t warrant discharge or confinement, sometimes they need to perform extra duties. The additional responsibilities can range from little tasks such as cleaning to more complex tasks such as going through more training or administrative responsibilities. This punishment can impact military members because they must do more than their regular workload.
- Fines: Under the UCMJ, fines may be imposed. The fine amount depends on the offense committed. It cannot be so large that it is considered cruel and unusual punishment under the Eight Amendment.
- Correctional custody: This type of confinement must be more severe than restricted to a specific area on base because they are confined in a correctional facility, much like citizens who go to jail or prison. Correctional custody is usually used for offenses such as assault and drug offenses. While confined to the facility, the military member may be required to perform specific tasks, such as hard labor.
- Dishonorable discharge: This is one of the most severe punishments under the UCMJ. As a result, service members can only receive a dishonorable discharge through a court-martial. When someone is dishonorably discharged, they lose all of their military benefits and privileges. Dishonorable discharges may show up on background checks making it more difficult to obtain employment.
- Death penalty: This is the most severe punishment and is rarely employed. However, when a service member commits a serious offense, they may face the death penalty.
At Invictus Law, our attorneys have years of experience representing clients facing punishment under the UCMJ. Whether it is a minor infraction or a court-martial, our attorneys have the skills and knowledge to provide you with vigorous legal representation. Let us use our experience and track record of success to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling us at (757) 317-5125.