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Article 15, UCMJ

An Article 15 is non-judicial punishment, meaning that it is not a judicial proceeding.

Non-judicial punishment is a military justice option available to commanders. It permits commanders to resolve allegations of minor misconduct against a service member without resorting to higher forms of discipline, such as a court-martial. The commander has nearly unfettered discretion to impose an Article 15. A service member may, however, refuse to accept the Article 15 and instead demand trial by court-martial.

Agreeing to accept the Article 15 is not an admission of guilt. Rather, it’s a forum selection.

If you plead not guilty, your commander must listen to your side of the case. You may litigate your case by presenting witnesses or other evidence to help explain your side of the story. You may also present evidence regarding your duty performance, reputation for truthfulness or honesty, and other facts that indicate you are not guilty or deserving of a light sentence. The strict rules of evidence do not apply in an Article 15 proceeding.

Every branch of service has its own complex rules and regulations regarding Article 15 proceedings.

Regardless of the service, an Article 15 can negatively impact your career and potentially lead to an adverse service characterization at discharge. Although an Article 15 may seem like the “least bad option,” you must consider the impact on your performance report, promotion potential, assignment limitation, and post-military career implications. Our team has handled hundreds of Article 15s. Give us the opportunity to review the facts and circumstances of your case, so you can make an informed decision on the best course of action to protect both your good name and career.

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Other Veterans Defense areas we specialize in

Administrative Actions

PT failures or minor misconduct may have your Commander initiate a discharge board (enlisted members who have either served six years or are an NCO) or a Board of Inquiry (Officer) to have you separated from the service.

Rebuttals to Negative Administrative Paperwork

While these tools are not supposed to be punitive, receiving negative administrative paperwork can have lasting career consequences.

Rebuttals to Negative Performance Evaluations

You have the right to rebut and appeal comments in you performance report if the information is false, substantially misleading, or unjustly included.

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