UCMJ Article 113: Misbehavior of Sentinel or Lookout

If you are a service member of the United States Armed forces misbehave while performing the duties as a lookout or sentinel, you will face charges under Article 113 of the UCMJ. This generally includes drunkenness, sleeping upon his or her post, or leaving before he or she is properly relieved.

The duty of a sentinel or lookout is imperative to the security of a mission, base of operations, or of military supplies and personnel. It is therefore considered one of the worst offenses under military law:

  • You may be executed for failing to uphold your duties as a sentinel or lookout should you be found guilty while the country is at war if the case is referred capital.
  • Even if you escape the death penalty, you could face incarceration that might last decades.
  • At the very minimum, a loss of all pay, allowances, and benefits will force you to enter the civilian world at an extreme disadvantage.
Military lookout, looking through binoculars

The charges you face are severe and your time is growing short. If you value your future and liberties, do not risk them on an untested attorney, especially when the experienced military lawyers at Bilecki Law Group are ready to fight for you.

What Is Article 113 of the UCMJ?

Every article of the UCMJ requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a handful of critical assumptions—known as elements—to convict you of a crime. Two such elements—with a third added in a time of war—must be proven for a service member to be convicted under Article 113 of the list of articles in the U.C.M.J.

  1. That the accused was posted or on post as a sentinel or lookout;
  2. That the accused was found drunk while on post, was found sleeping while on post, or left post before being regularly relieved.
  3. That the offense was committed in a time of war OR while the accused was receiving special pay under 37 U.S.C 310

Summary of the Elements of Article 113: Prosecutors will attempt to prove that a service member was actively on duty at his or her post and that, while on duty, he or she was drunk, fell asleep or left prior to being properly relieved. The severity of the offense increases should the service member be found in such a state while at his or her post in a time of war.

Military Defense Attorney for Article 113 of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics

The duties of a sentinel or lookout are critical to the protection of military assets and personnel, which is why the UCMJ has designated a separate article—Article 113—to separate lookouts and sentinels from all other duties (who would otherwise be accused under Article 112, Drunk on Duty).

The job of a lookout or sentinel is paramount to the success of a mission, but many extenuating circumstances or mitigating factors may be at play which can exonerate a service member outright or reduce their charges significantly.

For instance:

  • Has your drunken or insentient state been caused by factors beyond your control? Were you injured or poisoned? Were you incapacitated due to a disease or illness? Anyone of these things may have kept you from performing your duties as sentinel or lookout.
  • If you are accused of abandoning your post, how far did you go, and was it enough to warrant accusations under Article 113? Did you move from your post due to some action by the enemy, a sound, motion, or some other factor? The circumstances surrounding the abandonment of your post matter a great deal and should be thoroughly investigated.
  • Were circumstances grave enough that you were not relieved for an extensive period of time? Were you sleep deprived, and if so, for how long were you in such a state? We’ll investigate your state of mind as well as the state of mind of the service members with you, which may mitigate the severity of the sentencing you face.

Be aware that should you be found guilty under Article 113, you could face substantial punishment. Do not risk your life over allegations of misbehavior during guard duty. Fight back with the aggressive legal representation of Bilecki Law Group TODAY.

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 113 Charges

Bilecki Law Group has decades of experience defending service. Unlike many other military defense attorneys, we as court martial lawyers believe that every service member deserves a fighting chance in court.

Bilecki Law Group will help you fight back against charges under Article 113: Misbehavior of Sentinel or Lookout

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Frequently Asked Questions About Article 113: Misbehavior of Sentinel or Lookout

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 113?

The grave offense of misbehaving while on duty as a sentinel or lookout is one of the few charges under the punitive articles of the UCMJ that allows the service member to be sentenced to death in a time of war. 

If, however, the government does not consider the offense a wartime charge, these factors will play a role in your maximum punishment: While receiving special pay under 37 U.S.C 310:

  • Reduction to E-1
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 10 years
  • Dishonorable discharge

In all other places:

  • Reduction to E-1
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 1 year

Other Punitive Articles of the UCMJ

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