What steps should I take if I have been charged with desertion or a similar violation?
Prosecutors in the high-profile court-martial of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have requested that the trial date be pushed back to allow them more time to gather classified documents. Previously, the case was set for court-martial in February, but the government now proposed delaying the court-martial until May. Bergdahl stands charged with desertion with intent to shirk important duty, along with misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of his unit, command, or place.
It is reported that Bergdahl left the remote post he was stationed at in Afghanistan in 2009. He was captured by the Taliban and held close to five years, before being released in exchange for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Bergdahl suffered regular beatings during his time in captivity and continues to suffer from ongoing injuries, including nerve damage and post-traumatic stress disorder. His general court-martial remains controversial as he could face life in prison after already being held captive for five years.
Failing to report for duty without authorization or abandoning your post is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Desertion involves abandonment of your duty or post without the intention of returning. It is among the most serious of violations you may face and is potentially punishable by death or life in prison. However, no court-martial has rendered a sentence of more than 24 months imprisonment for desertion since 2001.
If you have been accused of absent without leave (AWOL), unauthorized absence (UA), or desertion, contact our military AWOL attorney at Court Martial Law as soon as possible. Our firm, which operates as a division of Aviso Law, LLC, assists service members facing a wide array of serious charges. We understand the fear and pressure you may be experiencing if you have deserted. Our attorneys will help you to make the important decisions that must be made to protect your legal rights and future. Contact us today at (719) 247-3111 to schedule your free consultation at our Denver, Colorado office.