UCMJ Article 98: Noncompliance with Procedural Rules

What is Article 98 of the UCMJ?

Any enlisted member of the United States armed forces who causes delays in a procedural hearing whether by accident, negligence or willfulness, may be prosecuted under Article 98 of the UCMJ. Even seemingly harmless mistakes leading to slight procedural delays may incur enormous punitive damages to service members:

  • The government will threaten your very livelihood. Your healthcare, income, and retirement could be taken from you just like that.
  • You will be forced to hide your past military service. A dishonorable or bad-conduct discharge will hound you for the rest of your life, threatening opportunities and limiting advancement.
  • You could be facing up to 5 years in prison. Your friends and family will move on with their lives while you linger in a prison cell, all because of a few delays in a court-martial case.

The government already assumes your guilt and your allies are growing scarcer by the day. A call to Bilecki Law Group may be your last best chance to fight back against Article 98 charges.

Defining Article 98 of the UCMJ

American soldiers in a lineEvery article that is under 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 98 contains two criminal acts, each with its own set of elements which must be proven by the government in your hearing or court-martial case.

  1. Unnecessary delay in disposing of case
    1. That the accused was charged with a certain duty in connection with the disposition of a case of a person accused of an offense under the code;
    2. That the accused knew that the accused was charged with this duty;
    3. That delay occurred in the disposition of the case;
    4. That the accused was responsible for the delay; and
    5. That, under the circumstances, the delay was unnecessary
  2. Knowingly and intentionally failing to enforce or comply with provisions of the code
    1. That the accused failed to enforce or comply with a certain provision of the code regulating a proceeding before, during, or after a trial;
    2. That the accused had the duty of enforcing or complying with that provision of the code;
    3. That the accused knew that the accused was charged with this duty;
    4. That the accused’s failure to enforce or comply with that provision was intentional

Summary of the Elements of Article 98: Prosecutors must prove that a service member failed to perform his or her duty during court proceedings. The most serious charges under Article 98 are for service members that purposefully and knowingly delay a case. But even a slight delay in the disposing of a case will be considered an offense should the government consider it unnecessary.

Military Defense Attorney for Article 98 of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics

Every court martial case has underlying circumstances which will influence the final strategy. With that said, Article 98 cases often revolve around three core considerations:

  1. What caused the delay; 
  2. What was the accused’s connection with the delay, and; 
  3. If prosecutors are claiming you purposefully failed in your duties, what motive would you have for doing so.

We’ll begin by considering these essential questions in your case:

  • Why would you purposefully delay the case in question? If the government is claiming you intentionally delayed the case, what evidence do they have to support that claim? Are you familiar with the individual that is accused of the alleged crime? We’ll press the prosecution to fully explain the alleged motive behind the delays.
  • What caused the delay in the first place? Were other parties involved in the delay besides the accused? Did the delay truly inconvenience anyone? We’ll poke holes into the prosecution’s version of events or show that the inconvenience caused by the delay was slight or non-existent.
  • What was your connection with the delay? Were other factors at play that made it impossible for you to complete these tasks in time? If there was a complete failure to comply with your duties, were there extenuating circumstances that made it impossible for you to do so?

Never make assumptions about the government’s case against you. Before you make any decisions that could affect your trial, contact the team at Bilecki  Law Group today.

Request A Free Case Evaluation

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 98 Charges

We’ve been fighting—and winning—court-martial cases for years. Our experienced team of military defense attorneys is prepared to aggressively defend your freedom and your military career in court. 

Bilecki  Law Group will help you fight back against charges under Article 98: Noncompliance with Procedural Rules

Frequently Asked Questions About Article 98:

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 98: Noncompliance with Procedural Rules?

There are two possible criminal charges under Article 98, each with its own maximum sentencing: Unnecessary delay in disposing of case:

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

Knowingly and intentionally failing to enforce or comply with provisions of the code:

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

What Are the Lesser Included Offenses under Article 98?

Bilecki Law Group will always work to win your case outright. However, our goal is to secure the best outcome possible in your case. And that may mean building a case around securing one of the lesser included offenses included within each article. 
For Article 98 charges, that may mean convincing the prosecutors to lower your charges from intentional failure to comply with the law, to creating an unnecessary delay. Additional lesser included offenses are:

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