UCMJ Article 83: Malingering

What is Article 83 of the UCMJ?

Any service member of the United States Armed Forces who attempts to shirk his or her duties by either feigning an illness or injury or inflicting harm upon himself may face charges of malingering under Article 83 of the UCMJ.

Being found guilty under Article 83 could be disastrous to your military career and civilian future.  Should you be convicted, you could face:

  • A dishonorable discharge, along with the loss of your healthcare, military retirement and paycheck. 
  • A prison sentence that could leave you behind bars for up to 10 years under the maximum possible sentence.
  • A severely handicapped civilian future, where your opportunities will be scarce and your ability to rise to the top will be limited. 

Your freedoms and your future are on the line.  Do not trust them with an untested defense attorney.  Fight back against your charges TODAY with defense experts at Bilecki & Tipon.

Note: Article 83: Malingering is the updated UCMJ article. Article 83: Fraudulent Enlistment or Separation is outdated, as of 2019.

What Is Article 83 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.  There are three such elements under Article 83 of the UCMJ, with a fourth added should the offense be committed during wartime.     

  1. That the accused was assigned to, or was aware of prospective assignment to, or availability for, the performance of work, duty, or service;
  2. That the accused feigned illness, physical disablement, mental lapse or derangement, or intentionally inflected injury upon himself or herself; and
  3. That the accused’s purpose or intent in doing so was to avoid work, duty, or service
  4. If the offense occurred in a time of war or a hostile fire pay zone: That the offense was committed (in time of war) (in a hostile fire pay zone)

Summary of the Elements of Article 83:  The government will attempt to prove that a service member either caused a self-inflicted injury OR feigned an injury, illness or state of mental derangement in order to avoid military service.  If the purpose of the malingering was to avoid service during wartime or in a hostile fire pay zone, the service member will face harsher sentencing at the end of his or her trial.   

Military Defense Attorney for Article 83 of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics

The government must prove that you intentionally feigned an injury or illness, or that you caused harm to yourself to avoid your duties.  But proving this will not be easy. With the right defense strategy and a capable roster of expert witnesses, even the most difficult cases can be won in court.

Should you be accused under Article 83, Bilecki & Tipon will immediately set out to prepare your defense.  We’ll start by asking a few simple questions related to your case:

  • Are there medical records detailing your injury or illness, or can previous records confirm that an injury or illness was already present before your request to be removed from service?  We’ll review your medical history to determine if there is a precedent for your request. Even if there isn’t, we’ll request a review of your injuries by medical experts to prove that they are not fabricated and indeed grievous enough to warrant your removal from certain military duties.  
  • Do you have a prior history of shirking your duties or of requesting to be relieved of a duty or service?  Will your commanding officers vouch for your prior service? We’ll use your reputation to show that there is no precedent for your alleged feigning of injuries or illnesses.  
  • If this was a physical injury and the prosecutors claim it was self-inflicted, is the injury grave enough to suggest a suicide attempt or serious mental anguish at the idea of having to enter into the required duty?  Suicide attempts cannot be prosecuted under Article 83 and may be used as a defense against accusations of malingering. 

Accusations of malingering could destroy your military future and leave you without a paycheck, healthcare, and retirement savings.  One call to Bilecki & Tipon can protect your interests and secure the best possible outcome in your case.  

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 83 Charges

Bilecki & Tipon knows the government’s playbook inside and out.  We have the experience, resources, and connections necessary to help you win back your liberties, reputation, and honor. 

Below are just a few of the cases we’re proud of:

Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 83: Malingering

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Frequently Asked Questions About Article 83

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 83: Malingering?

Maximum charges will depend on the type of injury or illness that was feigned or self-inflicted. In addition to this, charges will increase depending on whether or not the country is at war or the service member avoided service in a hostile fire pay zone:

Feigning illness, physical disablement, mental lapse, or derangement:

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

If during a time of war or in a hostile fire pay zone, confinement increases to 3 years

Intentional self-inflicted injury:

    • Reduction to E-1
    • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
    • Confinement for 5 years
    • Dishonorable discharge
  • If during a time of war or in a hostile fire pay zone, confinement increases to 10 years.

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