Legal Question in Military Law in Ohio


My wife has been awol for 55 days and wants to turn herself in, but she wants out of the army. She applied for a hardship disharge because it was to hard for me to take care of our three toddlers, and it was denied and we couldnt take it any longer so she left, but we want this resolved and my wife and mother of our children back home with us. She has never broken any laws in her life and she wants disharged out of the army and not have to go to jail and to come home as soon as possible so we can move on with our lives. We are currently looking for her an attorney

Asked on 3/26/06, 3:45 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Donald G. Rehkopf, Jr. Brenna, Brenna & Boyce, PLLC

Re: awol

Unfortunately, after 30 days, she is classified as not AWOL, but as a deserter. There MAY be a way to keep her from being prosecuted, but I would need more facts before I can give you any advice. If you would like to discuss this, email me back at my office [email protected] and give me the following information:

1) What base/post was she at when she left:

2) What is her rank?

3) How long has she been in the Army?

4) Why was the "Hardship" denied?

5) What was her job in the Army?

6) Did she receive any type of enlistment "bonus" when she signed up?

7) Why did she enlist in the first place?

Any other information that might be relevant and I'll get back to you on Monday.


Don Rehkopf

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Answered on 3/26/06, 6:20 pm
Steven Brand Steven Brand, Attorney at Law

Re: awol

Dear Questioner:

Whether or not your wife can be prosecuted will depend on many factors. While it is true that after 30 days of being AWOL the standard procedure is to drop you from the rolls and place you in deserter status, that is different from being charged with desertion under Article 85 of the UCMJ, where she would be facing two years in jail and a dishonorable discharge if she turned herself in absent aggravating circumstances. To be charged with desertion, the prosecution must prove the added element that she intended to remain away PERMANENTLY. Granted, she could form the intent to remain away permanently and change her mind, yet having formed the intent for no matter how brief a period of time could still have her found guilty of desertion. Of course, it is more difficult to prove than AWOL, and one of the factors taken into account to help prove the intent is the length of time she has been gone.

The 55 day AWOL carries a maximum punishment of 1 year and a dishonorable discharge if she turns herself in.

This is not to say that all absence offenses go to court. But it depends on many factors, one of which includes the personalties of the command and the JAG on post. I will never guarantee that a client will not face court-martial or will not be convicted or receive jail time. However, I recognize how important the case is to each client and the families involved and will use all of my skills to fight for the best possible result.

If you have any other questions, or need assistance turning yourself in, please visit my website at or e-mail me at [email protected]

Sincerely Yours,

Steve Brand

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of this document should act or refrain from acting in reliance on its content without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. Transmission of this document does not create an attorney-client relationship between Steven T. Brand, Esq. and any recipients.

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Answered on 3/26/06, 6:36 pm

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