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Military Law FAQ

Please note that this question and answer session is not intended to be legal advice.

What law governs military members?

The Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 831, governs what military members can and cannot do. The Code, often referred to as the UCMJ, applies to military members 24/7/365. Thus, it does not matter whether the offense you committed occurred while doing your job, whether it occurred on a military installation, or even whether you were on leave at the time.

What types of offenses are included in the UCMJ?

The Code includes most of the normal crimes that you find in the civilian world, such as murder, rape, robbery, assault, and treason. There are also many offenses that you may only find in the military setting; these include adultery, sodomy, failure to go to work, failure to obey orders, and dereliction of duty. In the civilian world, if you are late to work, you may be fired; in the military it may be a crime.

Do I have any rights under the UCMJ?

Absolutely. In fact, your rights under Article 31, UCMJ, were in place even before your civilian counterparts had their Miranda warnings and are more protective in some aspects. For example, in the civilian world, one must be advised of his/her rights only during a custodial interrogation (meaning you are a suspect and you are in custody).