Military Defense Lawyer

Fraternization Article 134 UCMJ

R. Davis Younts

Military Lawyer

Unprofessional relationships are those that can compromise military authority or create the appearance of impropriety. The exact definition of an unprofessional relationship may vary, generally encompasses relationships that have the potential to negatively affect the military. Such relationships may affect morale, discipline, respect for authority, unit cohesion, or even compromise the military mission itself.

In the military, there are regulations in place that place certain restrictions on relationships to ensure the proper functioning and discipline of the armed forces. These regulations prevent military members from having complete freedom to associate with anyone they choose.

The military have two articles to address this type of situation.

  • Article 92: Unprofessional relationships
  • Article 134: fraternization

 

Relationships between supervisors and subordinates pose a high risk of becoming unprofessional. The military want to prevent favoritism, misuse of authority, and the exploitation for personal gain. Even actions that give the appearance of impropriety can be subject to punishment under the UCMJ.

If you have been accused or charged under the UCMJ, the representation of an experienced military lawyer such as R. Davis Younts will help you to protect your rights.

These regulations are in place to maintain a strict hierarchy, discipline, and professionalism within the military. They aim to prevent any conflicts of interest, favoritism, or the perception of such issues that could undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the armed forces.

It’s important for military members to understand and abide by these regulations to ensure the overall success and readiness of the military. Adherence to these rules helps maintain a cohesive and disciplined military environment, fostering trust and confidence among service members while upholding the values and mission of the armed forces.

Specific areas of concern include:

  • Engaging in sexual or romantic relationships
  • Exchanging sexual or romantic communications (via text, email, etc.)
  • Sharing living arrangements
  • Going on vacations together
  • Using shared transportation
  • Engaging in off-duty activities such as playing sports or drinking alcohol together
  • Flirtation

 

Unprofessional relationships can develop both on and off duty, and they can involve officers, enlisted personnel, or a mix of both. The UCMJ also covers relationships between recruiter and recruit, faculty and student, and trainer and trainee, which are common scenarios.

Article 134 specifically addresses relationships between officers and enlisted members. From the military’s perspective, fraternization is about maintaining boundaries. An inappropriate relationship between an officer and an enlisted member can jeopardize discipline, discredit the military, or dishonor the officer corps. Officers have a greater responsibility to avoid any relationship that could compromise the mission or integrity of the officer corps.

Examples of conduct that may lead to trouble for officers if engaged in with enlisted personnel include:
  • Gambling
  • borrowing or Lending money
  • engaging in sexual or romantic relationships
  • Sharing living quarters
  • Engaging in business or sales

 

Allegations of unprofessional relationships, whether under Article 92 or Article 134, are common cases that are taken seriously by the military. Such cases often proceed to a court-martial. Investigations typically involve a thorough review of electronic communication (emails, texts, calls) as well as traditional methods like interrogations and witness interviews. Any accusation of an unprofessional relationship can ruin a military career, resulting in jail time, loss of pay and benefits, and damage reputation and future prospects for promotion.

If have been found guilty of fraternization, which is considered a violation or failure to comply with lawful general orders or regulations, the potential punishments can be severe. The maximum penalties for such a conviction include:

  • Dishonorable discharge
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for up to two years.

 

However, in many cases where service members are suspected of fraternization, the consequences are typically less severe. These individuals may face disciplinary actions such as receiving a Letter of Reprimand or a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand.  they may be subjected to administrative boards, such as an enlisted separation board or an officer show cause board, also known as a “Board of Inquiry” The outcomes of these boards can lead to dismissal from the military.

If you face allegations of engaging in an inappropriate relationship, remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to consult with R. Davis Younts an attorney that will help you to protect your rights.

If you are facing military charges and require experienced legal representation, contact R. Davis Younts today. Don’t navigate the complexities of military justice alone.

 

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