If you are facing an Article 15, Non-Judicial Punishment, or Captain’s Mast, it is important that you approach your situation deliberately and with resolve to defend your good name. Although these actions do not amount to convictions, and you cannot be discharged from the service under the process, you can still suffer a number of adverse penalties, including filing in your Offical Military Performance File.
What is an Article 15/Non-Judicial Punishment?
Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) permits military commanders to resolve allegations that a Service Member committed a minor offense or other misconduct without having to go through the more formal process of preferring court-martial charges. Article 15 is also referred to as non-judicial punishment (NJP) because it is not a considered a judicial proceeding, unlike a court-martial. The title of these proceedings carry different names depending on the branch of the military. Soldiers and Airmen in the Army and Air Force refer to these proceedings as an “Article 15.” The proceedings are referred to as “Captain’s Mast” in the Navy and Coast Guard. In the Marines, the proceedings are often called “Office hours.”
There are a number of more minor offenses that often result in an Article 15, NJP, or Captain’s Mast, such as:
- Reporting late for duty
- Unauthorized absences of short duration
- Disobeying an order
- Disrespect toward a non-commissioned or commissioned officer
In order for a commanding officer to impose an Article 15/NJP/Captain’s Mast, he or she must inform the accused military Service Member:
- The fact that he/she is being considered for an Article 15, NJP, or Captain’s Mast
- The alleged offenses
- The evidence upon which the allegations are based
- The right he/she has to refuse the NJP/Captain’s Mast/Article 15
- His/her rights if he/she elects to proceed at the NJP/Article 15/Captain’s Mast level of disposition
If the military serviceman or woman does not want accept an Article 15, NJP, or Captain’s Mast, he or she can demand a trial by court-martial, unless he or she is attached to or embarked on a vessel. However, it is important for all Service Members to carefully consider their situations before requesting courts-martial. The possibility for a criminal conviction is much greater at a trial by courts-martial. Furthermore, the penalties for a conviction at courts-martial are far more severe than those that can be imposed if you are found guilty at an Article 15/Captain’s Mast/NJP.
What are the Penalties for an Article 15/NJP/Captain’s Mast?
Because Article 15, Captain’s Mast, and Non-Judicial Punishment are among the lowest forms of military disciplinary action, they do not result in discharge from the military. If you are found guilty, you most likely will face limited penalties, such as a reduction of rank and/or pay grade, partial forfeiture of a month’s pay, restrictions, and/or extra duty.
Why Should I Hire Military Lawyer Scot Sikes?
If you are facing an Article 15, Non-Judicial Punishment, or Captain’s Mast, you need the benefit of consulting with an experienced military lawyer as soon as possible. As a former member of the United States Army, Mr. Sikes knows firsthand the importance of putting your best foot forward at your Article 15, NJP, or Captain’s Mast proceeding. Military Attorney Scot Sikes has vast experience in the military justice system, and has the legal insight to provide you with the invaluable counsel you need to protect your rights and make informed decisions. With permission of the commander, Mr. Sikes can represent you at the proceeding, and challenge the charges brought against you by the commander. Attorney Sikes can also help you file an appeal within the 5 day limit if you feel you have been unjustly punished. Above all, Mr. Sikes is committed to helping you avoid adverse penalties, so you can continue to have a long and rewarding military career.
To schedule a consultation with Military Attorney Scot Sikes, please call (706) 494-6900 or 1-866-494-6908! Mr. Sikes provides legal representation to servicemen and women in all branches of the United State Military both domestically and abroad.