Criminal Law Firm
AWOL stands for absent without leave, and is a crime that is attributed to soldiers who disappear from service without notifying the authorities or giving a reason for their abandonment. These soldiers are often considered runaways and can be punished for failing to fulfill their duties as they promised to when they were sworn into the service. When a person goes AWOL, they can receive a variety of different punishments after they are found and court martialed. According to Article 86 of the military code that is followed in these situations, the maximum punishment for the offense depends on the exact circumstances of the absence. If a person disappears from military service because of cowardice, he will be punished differently than a husband who went AWOL so that he could be with his wife who was recently involved in a traffic accident and is in critical condition at the hospital.
In many situations, going AWOL can bring on confinement for one month, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade and forfeiture of two-thirds pay per month for a month. This is the maximum punishment if a person fails to go to the place of duty or is excessively late to his or her station. If a member is on guard or watch duty and leaves the post without authorization, but does not intend to abandon the post, then he or she can be confined for up to 3 months and reduced to the lowest possible enlistment grade. As well, the offender may be forced to forfeit two-thirds of pay for three months.
An offender who is absent from their unit, organization or another place of duty for less than three days, but dialed to nifty anyone that he or she was leaving can be confined for up to a month and will receive the same charges as a person who failed to appoint to a place of duty. If a member leaves their place of duty or post with the intention to abandon the post, then it will normally end in a bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade and confinement for up to 6 months. The court martial must be able to prove that the offender had every intention to abandon post in order to inflict these punishments.
If a member goes AWOL for over three days but not more than 30 days, than that person can be confined for 6 months and reduced to the lowest enlisted grade. As well, he or she may have to give up two thirds of all paychecks for 6 months. A member who is absent from a unit or organization for over 30 days will be given as dishonorable discharge in most situations, and may be forced to forfeit all pay and allowance. The court martial has the ability to confine a person convicted of AWOL for over 30 days for up to one year. If you are declared terminated by apprehension after missing form duty for up to 30 days, you can be confined for up to 18 months and issued a dishonorable discharge. ‘
As well, any military member who goes AWOL in order to avoid field exercises or maneuvers can be given a bad conduct-discharge from his or her branch of the military or reduced to the lowest enlistment grade. If you have been charged with going AWOL and need representation to defend you in court, contact a military defense lawyer Camp Pendleton offers who are focused on helping soldiers who are charged with crimes.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Federal Practice Group for their insight into soldiers and going AWOL.