Article 86, ABSENCE WITHOUT LEAVE (AWOL)
AWOL, Army desertion, deserting in the military, if you don’t show up to work, it’s against the UCMJ and you can be charged. These days, we aren’t talking about walking off the battlefield. Desertion can be not going to work or not returning from leave on time. Is it a mistake? Is it intentional? The military doesn’t care what the reason is if you aren’t at your appointed place of duty. Below are the elements of Article 86, Absence without leave.
Any member of the armed forces who, without authority—
(1) fails to go to his appointed place of duty at the time prescribed;
(2) goes from that place; or
(3) absents himself or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty at which he is
required to be at the time prescribed; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
(1) Failure to go to appointed place of duty.
(a) That a certain authority appointed a certaintime and place of duty for the accused;
(b) That the accused knew of that time andplace; and
(c) That the accused, without authority, failedto go to the appointed place of duty at the time prescribed.
(2) Going from appointed place of duty.
(a) That a certain authority appointed a certain time and place of duty for the accused;
(b) That the accused knew of that time and place; and
(c) That the accused, without authority, went from the appointed place of duty after having reported at such place.
How do AWOL Charges Happen?
We’ve had plenty of clients whose commands have threatened them with this charge. Mostly it’s all a misunderstanding. The Command thinks it’s a case of Army desertion, but actually, a person’s supervisor gave them voco permission to go on leave while the leave form was sitting in the HHC commander’s inbox unsigned. A service member shouldn’t be charged with deserting in the military, but it happens. A miscommunication about leave or time off, shouldn’t mean the end of your career. Commander’s go-to punishment for allegations of desertion is Article 15 or Captain’s Mast which is a career killer if it is permanently filed. If this is you, call us today and we can walk you through the elements of your case and potential defenses.
For more information on this offense including the maximum punishment, potential defenses, and a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, consult with an experienced military lawyer.
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