UCMJ Article 131d: Wrongful Refusal to Testify
When a service member in the United States armed forces refuses to provide testimony in the presence of an official of the court or a law enforcement officer conducting an investigation, he or she could be at risk of accusations and a conviction under Article 131d of the UCMJ: Wrongful Refusal to Testify. If the government discovers that you have information regarding a case, and you still refuse to provide that information to law enforcement or testify before a court, you could face sentencing which is equal to that of perjury. Everything from your military career to your freedom hangs in the balance of your upcoming court-martial.
- If convicted, you could be dishonorably discharged from the military, losing all VA benefits in the process.
- Your military pay and allowances may be forfeited, and you may be required to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses.
- Simply refusing to provide testimony or answer questions could leave you behind bars for up to five years.
Has the military accused you of wrongfully refusing to testify? Your military career and freedom are on the line. And time is running out.
What Is Article 131d (Wrongful Refusal to Testify) 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. For a soldier to be convicted under Article 131d for wrongfully refusing to testify, he or she must be guilty of the following five elements:
- That the accused was in the presence of a court-martial, board of officer(s), military commission, court of inquiry, an officer conducting an investigation under Article 32, or an officer taking a deposition, of or for the United States, at which a certain person was presiding;
- That the said person presiding directed the accused to qualify as a witness or, having so qualified, to answer a certain question;
- That the accused refused to qualify as a witness or answer said question;
- That the refusal was wrongful; and
- That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
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Summary of the Elements of Article 131d (Wrongful Refusal to Testify): A service member may be convicted under Article 131d for wrongfully refusing to testify if he or she refuses to answer questions or provide testimony for an ongoing case that he or she has information on.
Military Defense Attorney for Article 131d of the UCMJ: Fighting Back Against Charges of Wrongfully Refusing to Testify
A service member may refuse to testify for any number of reasons. Most of these reasons do not constitute a defense in the eyes of military courts. That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced defense attorney regarding your Article 131d charges. If you walk into court with the wrong narrative, you may be facing down a dishonorable discharge and years of prison. Bilecki & Tipon LLLC has been helping service members secure positive outcomes for Article 131d charges for years. Our experience with the UCMJ and the military’s judicial system, our qualified in-house team, and our strategic location in the Pacific make us one of the most reputable and sought-after military law firms in America today. So why choose Bilecki & Tipon LLLC to represent you in court?
- Our attorneys are veterans of the JAG Corp: You are being accused of a crime under military law and tried in a military court. Bilecki & Tipon LLLC has decades of experience fighting for service members just like you in military courts all across the globe. We know the system. And we can help you fight back against your charges.
- We have firepower to devote to your court-martial: A court martial can take weeks and even months of preparation and planning. Our experienced and talented in-house team allows us to quickly lock down a defense strategy which could lead to reduced charges or even an acquittal in court.
- We are strategically headquartered in the Pacific: Bilecki & Tipon is strategically located in Hawaii, in close proximity to military installations throughout Hawaii, Korea, Okinawa, mainland Japan and the United States.
What began as a helping hand to a friend has become a nightmare situation which could destroy your life. Do not wait until it is too late. Contact one of our experienced military defense attorneys TODAY.
Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 131d Charges
Your military career and even your freedom are at risk of a conviction under Article 131d. Hiring an experienced military defense attorney with a reputation for securing positive results for his clients may be all that stands between you and the worst case scenario. If you believe your case is worth fighting, and you do not want to accept the first plea deal that comes your way, then you need to contact Bilecki & Tipon LLLC. Review prominent B&T cases here, and then call us to schedule your confidential consultation today. Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 131d: Wrongful Refusal to Testify
Frequently Asked Questions About Article 131d (Wrongful Refusal to Testify)
What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 131d (Wrongful Refusal to Testify)?
A conviction under Article 131d of the UMCJ for wrongfully refusing to testify could lead to the following maximum charges:
- Reduction to E-1
- Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
- Confinement for 5 years
- Dishonorable discharge
Do I Have the Right to Not Testify?
Maybe. If you are advised of your Article 31(b) rights and your answer may incriminate you, then you have a right against self-incrimination. However, if you are not suspected of an offense and are therefore not entitled to Article 31(b) protections, then you may not have a right to refuse to testify. If you have information on a crime and you still refuse to provide that information to an officer or official of the court, you could be accused of wrongfully refusing to testify.