What to Know About the Military Crime of Adultery

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Many people would agree that cheating on your spouse is wrong. However, most would be surprised to learn that in the military it’s still a crime. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), it’s illegal for a service member to engage in adultery. 

What is Adultery?

Adultery is defined as a situation in which a service member engages in sexual relations with someone other than his or her spouse. Additionally, if a military member is single but engages in sexual relations with a married person this is also considered adultery. This is a punishable criminal offense because these actions are thought to discredit the military’s values of discipline and order. Even if someone was legally separated at the time that the sexual relations occurred, it is not a defense to adultery. So, what happens if someone is found guilty of adultery in the military? Here is what you should know.

Elements of Adultery

According to the UCMJ, the prosecution must prove the following elements to establish that someone is guilty of adultery:

  1. The accused had wrongful sexual intercourse with someone;
  2. The accused or the other individual was married to someone else at the time of the sexual intercourse; and
  3. The accused’s conduct was to the prejudice of good order or was of a nature that brought discredit upon the armed forces. 

Establishing that the accused or other individual was married to someone else at the time of the sexual intercourse is the easiest element to prove, as it’s a matter of record. However, it can be more difficult for the government to prove that the wrongful sexual intercourse occurred without any concrete evidence such as photographs, a confession, or eyewitness testimony, and that it discredited the armed forces. A court martial is similar to a civilian court in that in order to convict someone the prosecution must prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Penalties for Adultery in the Military

If a military member is found guilty of adultery, he or she may face a variety of serious penalties such as a letter of reprimand, demotion, denial of benefits, punitive discharge, or even jail time. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney should you ever be accused of adultery. 

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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