UCMJ Article 134: Straggling

What Is Article 134 (Straggling) of the UCMJ?

A service member who becomes separated from his organizational unit during a march, a training exercise, or military maneuver, is at risk of being accused and convicted of straggling under Article 134 of the UCMJ.   Straggling breaks down the military’s organizational structures, making them susceptible to enemy attacks. While you may have a very good reason as to why you fell behind, do not expect your commanding officer—or a military court—to listen to reason. You will be hit hard from the moment you are accused. And the sentencing for such a crime can be incredibly severe.

  • A conviction will remain on your permanent record, making it significantly more difficult to earn promotions, gain in rank, or secure reenlistment bonuses.
  • Your pay could be reduced for months, leaving your family struggling to pay bills back home.
  • You may be forced to pay for your offenses with your freedom. A charge of straggling carries with it a months-long confinement sentence

Have you been wrongfully accused of straggling? Beat the odds and hire an experienced military defense attorney to fight for you in court.

Summary of the Elements of Article 134 (Straggling):

Any service member who wanders away or separates himself from his unit or organization while on a march or similar exercise is considered a straggler and subject to prosecution under Article 134 of the UCMJ. In addition to these elements, it must also be proven that the straggling was prejudicial to good order and discipline or service discrediting.

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. To be convicted under Article 134 of straggling, the following three elements must be proven:
That the accused, while accompanying the accused’s organization on a march, maneuvers, or similar exercise, straggled;

  • That the straggling 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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Military Defense Attorney for Article 134 of the UCMJ: Fighting Back Against Charges of Straggling

It is important to review the circumstances which brought about the accusations of straggling. An injury, dehydration, or conflicting orders could all lead to a service member falling behind or getting lost. And while a service member may have had a very good reason for why he wandered off from his unit, it often takes a persuasive defense attorney to convince a judge or jury that the context is grounds for an acquittal or lesser punishment.   Bilecki & Tipon has been helping service members fight U.C.M.J. charges since its inception. Our past experience fighting for service members within the military’s justice system, combined with our talented legal, makes us one of the most effective military defense law firms operating worldwide today.   Let’s take a look at all of these benefits in more detail:

  • Experience in the JAG Corp: The military’s justice system is unique, with its own legal code and customs. Hiring an attorney who doesn’t understand that context is a recipe for disaster. Managing partners Timothy Bilecki and Noel Tipon are both former officers of the JAG Corp with decades of experience fighting for service members inside the military’s justice system.
  • Talented legal team: You are going up against a ruthless government opponent with one of the highest conviction rates in the world. Evening the odds means having a proven and talented team on your side, to work day and night on your case if need be.
  • Rapid response times: You do not get to decide where your court-martial will be. But you do get to choose your attorney. Thanks to our strategic location in Hawaii, we have fast access to military installations throughout the Pacific, including locations in Korea, Okinawa, mainland Japan and Guam. Chances are we can reach you faster than most other law firms operating in the U.S. today.

military troopYour military career may never recover from a conviction of straggling. Contact Bilecki & Tipon TODAY to set up a confidential consultation.  

Contact Bilecki & Tipon   Accusations and a conviction of straggling will leave your military career, your salary, and even your freedom at risk. An experienced military defense attorney may be your only shot at avoiding the worst case scenario. And when it comes to experience and reputation, few military defense law firms can match Bilecki & Tipon LLLC.   Feel free to review our case history, then schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced military defense attorneys today.   Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 134: Straggling

Frequently Asked Questions About article 134: (Straggling)

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 134 (Straggling)?

A soldier who is convicted of straggling faces charges under Article 134, which could include a maximum punishment of:

  • Forfeiture of two-thirds pay per month for 3 months
  • Confinement for up to 3 months

What Does the UCMJ Define as Straggling?

According to the Manual for Court Martial, straggling is defined as “to wander away, to stray, to become separated from, or to lag or linger behind.” It is very important to note that the context plays a critical role in your sentencing or whether or not you are even convicted.        

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