Article 90: Assaulting or Willfully Disobeying a Superior Commissioned Officer

What Is Article 90 of the UCMJ?

Any service member who is found guilty of willfully disobeying, striking or threatening his superior commissioned officer while said officer is executing the orders of his or her command will be subject to punishment under Article 90 of the UCMJ.

As one of the few Articles of the U.C.M.J. to include the death penalty as punishment during times of war, it is imperative that a service member protect himself or herself immediately with an experienced military defense attorney. If not, you could be facing the maximum charges under Article 90, which may include:

  • If during a time of war and referred capitally the death penalty. Though this would be an extraordinarily rare occurrence.
  • Confinement for up to 10 years. If not at a time of war, but you still willingly disobeyed or struck an officer or threatened him or her with violence, prosecutors are free to ask for the maximum sentence.
  • Even if you avoid the harshest sentencing, you may be dishonorably discharged and stripped of your military pay and benefits

 You have one chance to fight back against your charges. Make it count by hiring the military defense attorneys at Bilecki & Tipon TODAY.

Article 90 of the UCMJ governs the conviction and sentencing of any service member that assaults or willfully disobeys a commissioned officer. To convict a service member, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused perpetrated one of two criminal acts stipulated under this article: 

  1. Striking or assaulting the superior commissioned officer.
    1. That the accused struck, drew, or lifted up a weapon against, or offered violence against, a certain commissioned officer:
    2. That the officer was the superior commissioned officer of the accused;
    3. That the accused then knew that the officer was the accused’s superior commissioned officer; and
    4. That the superior commissioned officer was then in the execution of office.
  2. Disobeying superior commissioned officer.
    1. That the accused received a lawful command from a certain commissioned officer;
    2. That this officer was the superior commissioned officer of the accused;
    3. That the accused then knew that this officer was the accused’s superior commissioned officer; and
    4. That the accused willfully disobeyed the lawful command.

Our Take: Article 90 has two possible components for guilt: the physical assault or threatening with a deadly weapon, and the disobeying of orders given. For the physical assault component, a verbal threat is not enough to warrant the more egregious charge. It could, however, incur the charge of disobeying an officer.

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Article 90 Court Martial Defense

An assessment of the charges against you and the circumstances surrounding the assault or act of disobedience will be any defense attorney’s top priority out of the gate. As the defense investigation gets underway, Bilecki & Tipon will look to a few essential questions to help build you a winning trial strategy:

  • Did the event have any eyewitnesses? Is it the service member’s word against the superior officer’s? If so, a component of the trial strategy may be pitting your credibly against the alleged victim. Meanwhile, we’ll look into the officer’s history to determine whether he or she has had complaints brought up against him or her in the past.
  • Were there extreme conditions which made it hard or impossible for you to obey the officer? Were you fully aware of your actions at the time? We may focus on your mental state at the time of the event in question, as well as the onerous nature of the request by the superior officer.
  • What lesser charges are available to us to negotiate with the prosecution? Can we reduce the assault component to an attempted assault or an assault while the officer was not in the execution of his or her office? Can we reduce the act of disobedience to a Lesser Included Offense such as that under Article 89: Disrespect to a superior commissioned officer? Our goal is to provide you with the best possible outcome in your case no matter how high the evidence is piled up against you.

Do not allow a mistake or a false accusation of an assault to define the rest of your life. Fight back against your charges with the aggressive advocacy of Bilecki & Tipon TODAY.

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 90 Charges

We proudly serve every member of the U.S. Armed Forces, even those who have become pariahs and outcasts due to alleged crimes of assault or disobedience.

Our military defense lawyers have an unrivaled track record of securing the best possible outcome for our clients in every case.

Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 90: Assaulting or Willfully Disobeying a Superior Commissioned Officer

Frequently Asked Questions About Article 90

I Wasn’t Aware that the Person I Struck Was a Superior Commissioned Officer. Can I Escape My Charges?

Yes, you can. Prosecutors must prove that you were aware that the person you struck or disobeyed was a superior commissioned officer. If they fail to do this, you should be found not guilty on all charges.

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment?

Article 90 encompasses a broad selection of crimes perpetrated by service members to superior commissioned officers. Prosecutors, however, may likely pursue maximum charges for two crimes in particular related to Article 90:

Striking, drawing, or lifting up any weapon or offering any violence to a superior commissioned officer in the execution of office:

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

Willfully disobeying a lawful order of superior commissioned officer:

  • Reduction to E-1
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 5 years
  • Dishonorable discharge

Other Uniform Code of Military Justice Articles

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