What Are the Most Serious Crimes that Can Be Brought Before a Court Martial?

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Crimes are taken very seriously – especially when they are alleged to involve a member of our military. A court-martial is the military’s court and has jurisdiction over those members who are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

As frightening as it can be to be charged with any crime as a servicemember, there are some crimes that are extremely serious, punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty. Here are the most serious crimes that can be brought before a court-martial

1. Murder

It doesn’t get much more serious for a servicemember than being charged with murder. While the outcome of the case will obviously depend upon the facts and circumstances of each situation, if convicted of murder a servicemember may face life in prison or the death penalty. 

2. Rape and sexual assault

One crime that has been brought to the forefront of issues surrounding the military is rape or sexual assault. Instances of sexual assault in the military reportedly continue to rise. If convicted of this crime, the servicemember can face several types of penalties, including dishonorable discharge and time in prison. 

3. Espionage and treason

Espionage occurs when a servicemember intentionally shares non-public (classified) information related to the defense of the U.S. with a foreign power. Treason occurs when a servicemember betrays the U.S. by attempting to overthrow the government by waging war against the state or materially aiding its enemies. Both of these crimes are punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. 

4. Drug offenses

A servicemember can be charged with a drug offense if they test positive for an illegal drug, tamper with drug samples or the testing procedure, are found in possession of illegal drugs or paraphernalia, or are found to be distributing, selling, manufacturing, or trafficking an illegal drug. Depending upon the facts of the case, these offenses can be punishable by reduction in rank, dishonorable discharge, imprisonment, and other penalties. 

5. Desertion

Desertion is the abandonment of a military duty or post without permission and with the intention of not returning. Depending on the specific circumstances, desertion can be punishable by imprisonment or the death penalty. 

6. Mutiny

Mutiny is collective insubordination (two or more individuals) who refuse to obey orders or carry out duties. It can be punishable by imprisonment or the death penalty. 

The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible.

If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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