UCMJ Article 94: Mutiny and Sedition
A service member of the United States armed forces who seeks to overthrow lawful civil or military order by seditious or mutinous acts either through violence or disobedience could face punishment under Article 94 of the UCMJ.
Accusations of mutiny and sedition are some of the most serious in the military. While a remote chance of occurring, even the less serious offenses found within Article 94 could carry with them the penalty of death, regardless of whether the actions were taken in a time of war or peace.
- A simple act of disobedience—the refusal to obey an order—could be all the government needs to accuse you of mutiny under Article 94.
- Should you be convicted of any of the charges under this article, you could face extraordinarily tough sentencing.
- Even some lesser included offenses include extensive maximum jail time—up to a decade—and force you out of the military with a dishonorable discharge and a loss of all military benefits and pay.
You could be the target of gross overreach by the government and its ruthless prosecutors. Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against these charges and secure the best possible outcome in your case.
What Is Article 94 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 94 governs two separate offenses—mutiny and sedition.
From most to least serious:
(1) Mutiny by creating violence or disturbance
- (a) That the accused created violence or a disturbance; and
- (b) That the accused created this violence or disturbance with intent to usurp or override lawful military order
(2) Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform a duty.
- (a) That the accused refused to obey orders or otherwise do the accused’s duty;
- (b) That the accused in refusing to obey orders or perform duty acted in concert with another person or persons; and
- (c) That the accused did so with the intent to usurp or override lawful military authority.
- (a) That the accused created revolt, violence, or disturbance against lawful civil authority;
- (b) That the accused acted in concert with another person or persons; and
- (c) That the accused did so with the intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of that authority
(4) Failure to prevent or suppress a mutiny or sedition
- (a) That an offense of mutiny or sedition was committed in the presence of the accused; and
- (b) That the accused failed to do the accused’s utmost to prevent and suppress the mutiny or sedition
(5) Failure to report a mutiny or sedition
- (a) That an offense of mutiny or sedition occurred;
- (b) That that the accused knew or had reason to believe that the offense was taking place; and
- (c) That the accused failed to take all reasonable means to inform the accused’s superior commissioned officer or commander of the offense.
(6) Attempted mutiny
- (a) That the accused committed a certain overt act;
- (b) That the act was done with specific intent to commit the offense of mutiny;
- (c) That the act amounted to more than mere preparation; and
- (d) That the act apparently tended to effect the commission of the offense of mutiny
Summary of the Elements of Article 94: Sedition in the military sense requires a concerted action by a group of individuals to overthrow a civil authority by use of violence. Mutiny, meanwhile, may be committed by a single individual and may or may not be violent in nature. Simple refusal to obey orders under the right circumstances may be considered mutiny.
Article 94 covers the most serious offenses related to disobeying lawful order in that many of the accusations herein are attempts to overthrowing military or civil governance entirely. The government, therefore, may make every attempt to secure the maximum possible sentence for any service member accused of such a crime.
Military Defense Attorney for Article 94 of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics
Article 94 is one of the largest articles of the UCMJ. The government may be accusing you of one or more criminal acts under this article alone. Any strategy, therefore, cannot begin until we know exactly what the government is charging you with. After determining this, we’ll perform a full review and investigation of all evidence and potential witness testimony in your case.
Again, the circumstances of your case matter a great deal. We’ll narrow down our strategy further by focusing on a few central questions into your case:
- On charges of mutiny or failure to report or stop a mutiny: Did the accused incite violence? If so, who was present when he or she did? If the accused failed to stop a mutiny, did he or she fear for his or her life? Did the accused work alone or in conjunction with others? Is this an overreach by the government to level charges of mutiny when a lesser charge is far more obvious? Mutiny is the gravest form of disobedience in the military. But the government must prove you actively sought to overthrow military command rather than, say, avoid performing a duty at all costs. We may first seek to reduce your charges before preparing a full on assault on the prosecution’s case to acquit you outright.
- On charges of sedition: How many other service members were accused of the sedition? If they are taking the witness stand against you, how strong are their reputations compared to yours? As possible criminals themselves, can their word be trusted? We’ll attempt to undermine the credibility of key witness testimony in court. And we may push the government to prove beyond a doubt that you intended to overthrow military order rather than, say, avoid duties.
Mutiny and sedition may carry a death sentence – if referred capital – even during times of peace. Defending yourself against these allegations should be your first and only priority. Contact Bilecki & Tipon today for a free review of your case.
Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 94 Charges
Government overreach is very often at play in Article 94 cases, as Bilecki & Tipon has capably pointed out on dozens of occasions. If you feel you’ve been over-charged and under-represented, we can help make things right.
Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 92: Mutiny and Sedition
Frequently Asked Questions About Article 94
What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 94: Mutiny and Sedition?
Article 94 is a grievous military offense that carries with it a penalty of death even during times of peace. Unlike many other punitive articles of the UCMJ, Article 94 – if referred capital – could convey a death sentence regardless of the criminal acts committed. In other words, you could be sentenced to death as a leader of a seditious movement, or simply by failing to quickly stop a mutiny that you had nothing to do with.
One goal of any court martial lawyer will be to first seek a review of the charges against you and see if we can secure a lesser included offense. These lesser included offenses are far more forgiving in their sentencing than a conviction under Article 94.
What Are the Lesser Included Offenses under Article 94?
The lesser included offenses under Article 94 are as follows:
- Article 90: assault on commissioned officer
- Article 91: assault on warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer
- Article 94: attempted mutiny
- Article 116: riot; breach of peace
- Article 128: assault
- Article 134: disorderly conduct