Receiving Article 15 is not ideal in any way. Military personnel who are believed to have committed a minor crime -akin to a misdemeanor offense in a civilian proceeding- may be issued an Article 15. Defined as a commanding officer’s non-judicial punishment, there are several consequences that could happen. You may suffer a reduction in your military rank, be forced to pay a fine, suffer certain restrictions, and more.
Whether you accept or decline Article 15 is your choice. However, there are serious considerations to think about when deciding which is the right way to go for your situation. It is essential to understand the potential benefits and risks of your decision.
For more information and legal guidance on how to proceed in such a situation, the California military defense attorney at The Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo can not only help you but also provide legal representation.
Explaining the Benefits and Risks Of Either Accepting or Turning Down An Article 15
Thinking about what you should do after you receive Article 15 can be an overwhelming experience. You want to make the right choice because of the repercussions you may face.
The advantages of turning down Article 15 include:
- You go to court, but to receive a guilty verdict, the judge or judge and jury must be convinced that you are guilty of the alleged misconduct beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard. Essentially, this means that there is no comprehensible way that you are innocent.
- The judge or the judge and jury should be, in theory, unbiased. So you would have a fresh set of eyes reviewing your situation and coming to what they believe is the right and fairest conclusion.
The disadvantages of turning down Article 15 include:
- It is essential to get a not-guilty verdict. If this does not happen, you will be federally convicted. A federal conviction will follow you around in life, and when you leave the military, it can impact your prospects for employment outside of the military.
- You might be immediately discharged from the military if you are deemed guilty.
On the other hand, if you accept Article 15, then you avoid a possible federal conviction, and your punishments are limited. But the downside is that your commander, who may be biased against you, will determine whether you are guilty or not. Also, some of the punishments can affect your pay, duties, and even your rank. Accepting Article 15 means that you can not have your case go to trial.
Speak to an Orange County Military Defense Attorney Today
Perhaps you should accept your Article 15, or maybe it is best that you don’t. Our Orange County military attorney at The Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo can help you determine what the best approach is.
If you decide to turn down Article 15, that is your right. Just as it is your right to have your case go to trial and be seen by a judge or a judge and jury. Here, you should have experienced and trusted legal representation by your side, helping you secure the best outcome. Please call the Bruzzo Law Firm today to learn more.