UCMJ Article 107: False Official Statement, False Swearing, and Parole Violation
What Is Article 107 Of The UCMJ?
Article 107 of the UCMJ covers charges that can be levied against a service member for making false official statements or falsely swearing to a statement under oath. It requires that a service member made the official statement or oath and despite knowing that statement to be false, did so anyway with the intent to deceive.
What a service member needs to understand when reading that definition is that you will not automatically be let off of the hook because you thought your statement was true at the time. The prosecution will attempt to frame, shape, and coerce if needed the belief that you are now lying again when you say you thought it was true.
If the prosecution has gone so far as to bring charges against you, they are not going to give up on their case without a fight. Your best option to ensure your truth is told to those that matter is to hire an experienced military defense attorney that can check the prosecution at every turn. They are going to call you a liar, you know that you are not, but you are going to have to fight to prove it.
What Charges Can Be Brought Against Me Under Article 107 Of The UCMJ?
The two primary charges under Article 107 revolve around making a false official statement and falsely swearing an oath of some fact or matter. The UCMJ then throws parole violation under Article 107 as a separate charge, we guess because they had nowhere else to put it. When fighting these charges, it is important to understand every element that the prosecution must prove as each one provides an opportunity to push back against an overzealous and perhaps unscrupulous military investigator or prosecutor. We’ll take these right from the UCMJ and show you the max punishment allowed under each offense.
False Official Statement – For a service member to be found guilty of this charge, the prosecution must satisfy four elements:
(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused (signed a certain official document) (made to (state the name of the person to whom the statement was allegedly made) a certain official statement), that is: (describe the document or statement as alleged).
(2) That such (document) (statement) was (totally false) (false in that (state the allegedly false matters).
(3) That the accused knew it to be false at the time (he) (she) (signed) (made) it.
(4) That the false (document) (statement) was made with the intent to deceive.
“Intent to deceive” means to purposely mislead, to cheat, to trick another, or to cause another to believe as true that which is false.
Maximum Punishment: Dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, 5 years confinement and reduction in rank to E-1.
False Swearing – For a service member to be found guilty of this charge, the prosecution must satisfy six elements:
(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused took an oath.
(2) That the oath was administered to the accused in a matter in which such oath was required or authorized by law.
(3) That the oath was administered by a person having the authority to do so.
(4) That upon the oath the accused (made) (subscribed) a statement, to wit: (set forth the statement as alleged).
(5) That the statement was false.
(6) That the accused did not then believe the statement to be true.
Maximum Punishment: Dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, 3 years confinement and reduction in rank to E-1.
Parole, Violation Of – For a service member to be found guilty of this charge, the prosecution must satisfy four elements:
(1) That the accused had been a prisoner as the result of a court-martial conviction or other criminal proceeding.
(2) That the accused was on parole.
(3) That there were certain conditions of parole that the accused was bound to obey.
(4) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused violated the conditions of parole by (state the act or failure to act alleged as a violation of parole).
Maximum Punishment: Bad conduct discharge, 2/3rd pay for 6 months, 6 months confinement and reduction in rank to E-1.
How Can The Prosecutors Prove You Knew You Were Intending to Deceive?
In an ideal world, the prosecution would have to meet an extremely high bar to prove you knew you were lying and intending to deceive officials. The military justice system is not an ideal world. It exists to preserve order rather than to pursue truth and justice at every turn. For this to work, they need to make an example out of other service members and do so in a public and spectacular manner. As such, they don’t like to lose and they have their 90% conviction rate to show for it.
The UCMJ gives them instruction that the fact the accused did not believe the statement to be true when it was (made) (subscribed) may be proved by testimony of one witness without corroboration or by circumstantial evidence, if the testimony or evidence convinces you beyond a reasonable doubt as to this element of the offense.
Where we see this come into play the most is when you’re caught up in another investigation and you are speaking to CID, NCIS, or OSI and you waive your right to attorney because you know you didn’t do anything wrong. You make an official statement that, “Yes, Garcia was sleeping in his barracks room all night” and you believe that to be the gospel truth. The only problem is that Garcia wasn’t in his room and he was out doing something shady. He gets busted and now the prosecution is charging you under Article 107 because they don’t believe you.
Another common example is when you are accused of sexual assault, and you make a statement to law enforcement. When you tell the CID or NCIS agent that the girl you were hooking with had a few drinks with you but was otherwise good to go, the prosecution will charge you with a 107 violation for not telling the agents she was too drunk to consent – even though that was the furthest thing from the truth.
You Either Fight For Your Career Or You Lose Your Career Thanks To Article 107
Look, we understand that no one wants to be seen as the snitch and that gets good men and women in trouble with the UCMJ on a regular basis. Military service is the ultimate “ride or die” fraternity as they say. You buddy starts pumping lead into a particular clump of trees and without any explanation or invitation, you start gifting violence to those trees like you saw Osama Bin Laden hiding behind the bush. You have each other’s backs in the worst of times and that’s hard to let go.
The prosecution is going to try and act like you were out to overthrow the Senate and form the first galactic empire with your deception when, in reality, you just didn’t want to be the one to end Garcia’s career. So, even if you did indeed lie to protect yourself or Garcia, you still need to fight back because the prosecution is going to do their worst
upon you. They need their example and Garcia might actually get off because they can’t prove his charges, but they will still come after you for Article 107 if you let them.
The bottom line if you are facing Article 107 charges is that you either fight for your career or you lose it. That’s why when we get on the case we’ll fight like everything is on the line, because it is. You could have 19 years of service and just because you didn’t want to rat out the same guy that pulled you from an insurgent infested building in Fallujah, they’re going to take your entire retirement. That is, if you let them. So don’t.
Experienced Attorneys Take The Fight To The Prosecution
We’ve been down this road many times and we’ll make sure the prosecution has no easy avenue to prove you knew you were lying. We’ve got our own investigators to put on the case and we will absolutely shred any witness they put on the stand to pieces. We don’t care what rank or brass is sitting on the shoulders of that witness. When we are done we’ll have them weighing Article 107 charges against the witness because we will make their official oath and statement seem incredulous.
The point is we fight and we fight at every turn to secure you the best possible outcome and in many cases, total exoneration. Reach out to us and we’ll give you a free consultation where we will shoot you straight on exactly what you are facing. This is your career, retirement, and freedom on the line. If you don’t fight for it, they will take
it. We’ll fight like hell on your behalf to get your truth into the light and get you back in the fight for our country, where we need you most.