UCMJ Article 87: Missing Movement

Any service member of the U.S. Armed Forces who fails to make a military movement of an aircraft, ship, or unit either by neglect or design will face charges under Article 87 of the UCMJ: Missing Movement. Be aware that “forgetfulness” is not a defense for Article 87 and a conviction based on neglect could still land you in jail.

If you’re convicted under Article 87, you may face:

  • A prison sentence of up to two years, should they prove that you purposefully avoided the movement
  • A dishonorable discharge from the military, which carries with it a lifetime of shame and lost opportunities
  • The forfeiture of all allowances and pay

Missing one movement has caused you incredible anguish and wasted an outlandish amount of your time. Do not waste another moment worrying about your defense. Let Bilecki & Tipon fight your case for you.

What Is Article 87 of the UCMJ?

Should a service member miss a designated military movement either by neglect or design, he or she could face conviction and sentencing under Article 87 of the UCMJ.

To convict a service member under Article 87, four elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by prosecutors:

  1. That the accused was required in the course of duty to move with a ship, aircraft or unit;
  2. That the accused knew of the prospective movement of the ship, aircraft or unit;
  3. That the accused missed the movement of the ship, aircraft or unit; and
  4. That the accused missed the movement through design or neglect
Navy Ships moving on water

Military Defense Attorney Strategies and Tactics

Prosecutors will almost certainly take the heavy-handed route and charge you with intent to miss the movement in question. A strong defense strategy often begins by showing the prosecution’s case for what it is: absurd overreach. We can then move to further undermine the prosecution’s case and either secure a not guilty verdict outright or significantly reduce sentencing.

Here are just a few of the questions Bilecki & Tipon will ask to build your defense and secure the best possible outcome in your case:

  • Was the movement substantial enough to warrant charges under Article 87? Can the exercise, flight or departure even be considered a “movement”? Certain location changes shouldn’t even be considered for punitive charges under Article 87.
  • Did you receive enough warning prior to the movement? Were you well aware of the time and date of its departure? Did a miscommunication occur that caused the missed movement?
  • Are prosecutors claiming you neglected your duties? We may bring in character witnesses proving your good military character.
  • Were you an integral member of the operation that the movement was a part of? If we can prove that your absence did not impact any mission directly, that may impact the defense strategy.

A proper defense begins by asking the right questions. Let Bilecki & Tipon create a winning strategy and narrative for you that will secure the best possible outcome in your Article 87 hearing.

A military aircraft

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 87 Charges

Bilecki & Tipon has proudly defended enlisted men and women for years, and we have no intention of stopping now. Our experienced team of military trial lawyers has an exceptional track record regardless of whether you’re facing an administrative separation or a general court-martial.

Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 87: Missing Movement

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Frequently Asked Questions About Article 87

What Do the Armed Forces Consider a Military “Movement”?

According to the Manual for Court Martial, a military movement is “any move, transfer, or shift of a ship, aircraft, or unit involving a substantial distance and period of time.” Just how great the distance or how long the time frame isn’t stated, which can provide some leeway for the defense in securing a not guilty verdict or a reduction of sentencing.

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 87: Missing Movement?

Maximum punishment for charges of a missing movement varies according to whether a service member is guilty of neglect to show up to the movement or has done so by design. Maximum punishment for a missing movement by neglect: Reduction to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for 1 year, and a Bad-conduct discharge. Maximum punishment for a missing movement by design: Reduction to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for 2 years, and a Dishonorable discharge. Furthermore, your military defense attorney may be able to negotiate a pre-trial agreement for one of the lesser included offenses under the UCMJ. Maximum charges under these lesser offenses are far more favorable to the accused service member and may incur less severe sentencing and discharge. Possible lesser included offenses include:

  • Missing movement by design
    • Article 87: missing movement through neglect
    • Article 86: absence without authority
    • Article 80: attempts
  • Missing movement by neglect
    • Article 86: absence without authority

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