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Denver, CO Martial Law Blog

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Military Members and “Misbehavior Before the Enemy”

While the military is often known for following rules and maintaining order, that does not mean that all of its members are incapable of finding themselves legally in trouble. Those in the military must follow the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ. The UCMJ contains various offenses with which a military member may be charged. One of the most complex offenses is known as “misbehavior before the enemy.” 

What Constitutes Misbehavior Before the Enemy?

Misbehavior before the enemy is a broad offense that encompasses several types of behavior, when conducted in the presence of enemy forces. Acts under misbehavior before the enemy include:

  • Abandoning, surrendering, or handing over your command, unit, installation, or military property
  • Deserting your post or station to steal or pillage the spoils of battle
  • Engaging in cowardly conduct
  • Failing to assist or relieve allies when it is possible and practical to do so
  • Raising false alarms
  • Running away or throwing down your arms
  • Willfully failing to fight or engage enemies in a battle situation

Severe Crimes Yield Severe Penalties

These acts are more than a simple failure to do something. They are serious crimes that can prove to be a matter of life or death for those in his or her unit. In any of the above situations, the individual is placing those around him or her in danger. Since these acts are so severe, the penalties associated with them are as well. Those who are found guilty of any of the acts alleged under misbehavior before the enemy may have the court-martial panel sentence them to a lifetime of imprisonment, death, or another penalty that the panel deems fitting. 

It is certainly not always easy to determine the intentions of military members and those charged with committing one of the aforementioned acts under misbehavior before the enemy. Although it is very unlikely for military members convicted of such a crime to be sentenced to death, they still run the risk of receiving long prison sentences – possibly even for life. This is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced court-martial attorney. 

The Court Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Help Our Military Members Who Are Charged with Misbehavior Before the Enemy

If you or a loved one has been charged with an allegation of misbehavior before the enemy and must face a court-martial, are under investigation, or are seeking to appeal the court’s decision, the attorneys in the Court Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We are proud to serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for each of us. We will work to get your charge or penalty lowered and in some cases, even dismissed. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call us at 719-247-3111 today!


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