UCMJ Fraternization: What are the Penalties?
When you are employed in the military, there are many additional rules and regulations that you must follow that civilians are not privy to. One of the most important things in the Armed Forces is the chain of command between superior officers and their subordinates. This regulated chain of command ensures that each person does their job and is aware of who they answer to during the course of their duty. When this order is compromised, criminal charges may arise.
What is fraternization?
Fraternization is one way that the chain of command can be broken down. This refers to casual relationships between military members of the same ranks, in a way that would seem to undermine the order of command. While not all relationships and interactions between different ranks can be considered fraternization when it appears as though a superior officer is being partial to someone of a lower rank, the order is threatened.
Examples of fraternization include:
- Close, personal friendships
- Romantic and sexual relationships
- Business transactions
When Can the Military Charge You?
In order to be charged with fraternization, it must be shown that the accused is an officer that knew that the person they were fraternizing with is an enlisted member of the military and that this relationship jeopardized the order and discipline of the armed forces.
While some minor instances of fraternization can result in a minor reprimand and an order to cease, more severe instances can result in suspension, confinement, and appearance before a court-martial. If facing court-martial, the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment, forfeiture of pay, and dismissal from service.
UCMJ Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of fraternization, you must work with a military defense lawyer that knows how to use emphatic legal defenses to such accusations. At Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC, we represent military clients in fraternization cases around the world- call today!