UCMJ Article 91: Insubordinate Conduct Towards Warrant Officer, Non-commissioned Officer, or Petty Officer

Article 91 of the UCMJ gives the government immense power to criminally charge any service member that assaults, disobeys or even disrespects an officer of the U.S. armed forces, even if you are a superior to that officer.

If convicted, you may be subject to punishment that is entirely unacceptable for any service man or woman that has served honorably within the military up until that time. Regardless of your reputation and years of commitment, you will likely face:

  • A prison sentence that could leave your future in shambles.
  • A dishonorable discharge from the military, forcing you to hide your military history from employers.
  • The forfeiture of all pay and benefits, leaving your family without income or health care.

You do not deserve to be treated like a common criminal for a single offense under Article 91. Bilecki & Tipon can help you win back your freedom and your reputation.

What Is Article 91 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. Article 91 defines three possible ways to convict a service member, the most serious offense being listed first:

(1) Striking or assaulting warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer.

(a) That the accused was a warrant officer or enlisted member;

(b) That the accused struck or assaulted a certain warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer;

(c) That the striking or assault was committed while the victim was in the execution of office; and

(d) That the accused then knew that the person struck or assaulted was a warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer.

(2) Disobeying a warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer.

(a) That the accused was a warrant officer or enlisted member;

(b) That the accused received a certain lawful order from a certain warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer;

(c) That the accused then knew that the person giving the order was a warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer; and

(d) That the accused willfully disobeyed the order.

(3) Treating with contempt or being disrespectful in language or deportment toward a warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer

(a) That the accused was a warrant officer or enlisted member;

(b) That the accused did or omitted certain acts, or used certain language;

(c) That such behavior or language was used toward and within sight of hearing of a certain warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer;

(d) That the accused then knew that the person toward whom the behavior or language was directed was a warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer

Summary of the Elements of Article 91: The government may accuse you under article 91 for striking, disobeying or using contemptuous language or disrespect toward a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer of the U.S. armed forces.

Some actions are more serious than others and warrant harsher maximum sentencing. Additional charges may be leveled against you if the officer was a superior officer. Furthermore, the sentencing may vary depending upon whether the said officer was executing duties essential to his or her office.

Military Defense Attorney for Article 91 of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics

Bilecki & Tipon move immediately to protect our clients by conducting a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime. We’ll likely focus on a few essential questions to prepare an aggressive defense strategy:

  • Is the government alleging that you knew that this person was a superior officer? Did you even know who this person was when the conflict occurred?
  • Was the officer being needlessly aggressive toward you? Was he or she requesting actions that had no bearing in the execution of his or her office? Did the officer divest himself of his rank through his own actions? We may perform an investigation into the officer’s past to see if others have complained about their behavior.
  • Were there extreme conditions which made it hard or impossible for you to obey the officer? Was the request beyond the scope of your duties? We may be able to show that the officer divested himself of his rank and position, giving us a full defense to the charges against you.

Allegations of assault, disobedience or contempt could end your military career and put you behind bars. Fight back against your charges with the aggressive advocacy of Bilecki & Tipon TODAY.

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 91 Charges

No case is a lost cause with an experienced defense team on your side. No matter how long the list of witnesses or how strong the evidence is against you, we as court martial attorneys will fight to reduce your charges or acquit you completely. We’ve done so for others and we can do so for you.

Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 91: Insubordinate Conduct Towards Warrant Officer, Noncommissioned Officer, or Petty Officer

Frequently Asked Questions About Article 91

Does the Officer Have to Be My Superior to Warrant an Article 91 Charge Against Me?

No. Unlike Articles 89 and 90 of the UCMJ which govern offenses related to superior officers, Article 91 does not require a superior-subordinate relationship as an element of any of the offenses listed. However, if prosecutors can prove you knew that the officer was, in fact, your superior officer, you could face harsher sentencing under Article 91.

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 91: Insubordinate Conduct towards a Warrant Officer, Noncommissioned Officer or Petty Officer?

Article 91 encompasses half a dozen criminal accusations and the maximum sentence for each varies. However, the most serious offenses have their maximum sentencing as follows:

Striking or assaulting warrant officer

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

(Note: Striking or assaulting a superior noncommissioned officer carries with it the same sentencing, with a reduced confinement sentence of 3 years. Striking or assaulting any other noncommissioned or petty officer carries a reduced maximum confinement sentence of 1 year.)

Willfully disobeying a lawful order of a warrant officer:

  • Reduction to E-1
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 2 years
  • Dishonorable discharge

(Note: Confinement sentence reduced to 1 year for willfully disobeying a noncommissioned or petty officer.)

Contempt or disrespect to a warrant officer:

  • Reduction to E-1
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 6 months
  • Bad-conduct discharge

What Our Clients Are Saying About Us

  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC His knowledge and experience were evident during the Article 32 where he seemed to sort of take control of the court room.
  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC This was the best investment I have ever made in my life. Again I am forever in debt to this firm.
  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Mr. Bilecki and his law group ARE that best team.
  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Mr. Bilecki and his team are extremely aggressive, thorough, and know what they are doing. They saved my life.
  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Do not go into the courtroom by yourself. Go in with a confident hard charging legal firm like Bilecki & Tipon.
  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Mr. Bilecki and his associates are amazingly qualified and skilled in handling UCMJ cases.
Prev Next

Request Your Case Evaluation

You deserve a fighting chance on your day in court. When it comes time to decide who your defense attorney will be, make that decision count.

    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
      Please enter your phone number.
    • This isn't a valid email address.
      Please enter your email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.