Legal Question in Military Law in Ohio


my daughter was stationed in fort campbell ky and went awol.they have come to pick her up for desertion.In the past year she has gotten in trouble she had asked the police if they had anything from the army and was told no.what can i expect as far as a sentence?

Asked on 9/07/04, 10:18 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Philip D. Cave Military Law & Justice

Re: desertion

Hard to say. Since October 2003, Army policy and practice is all over the place. Used to be that she'd go to Fort Knox, and then be administratively discharged within a few weeks. Now the policy is to sometimes return the soldier to their unit. Some units have put the soldier back to duty, some have administratively separated, some have put the person in confinement as the result of a court-martial.


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Answered on 9/07/04, 10:28 pm
Steven Brand Steven Brand, Attorney at Law

Re: desertion

The answer is: it depends. Generally speaking, the maximum punishment for Article 85 of the UCMJ, desertion terminated by apprehension is 3 years and the maximum for desertion with intent to shirk hazardous duty is 5 years. If the Government believes she went AWOL to avoid a deployment to Iraq, they may try to charge her with the latter. This is also assuming the case is referred to a general court-martial instead of a special court-martial. A special court-martial would automatically set the sentence maximum at 1 year confinement. It is difficult to state a "going rate" for a particular sentence although I can say that many of these cases go to general courts-martial. The maximum punishment in terms of discharge she'd face in a general court-martial is a dishonorable discharge. One avenue you want your daughter to explore with an attorney is the possibility of a "Chapter 10" discharge under other than honorable conditions in lieu of court-martial.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to call me at 512-259-7324 and/or visit my website at

Sincerely Yours,

Steven 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 9/07/04, 10:30 pm
Neal Puckett The Law Firm of Puckett and Faraj, PC

Re: desertion

The other replies are correct. I concur. Bottom line is that it depends on the command climate where she ends up facing discipline. She could be administratively separated with an other than honorable discharge. She could also face trial by general court-martial and receive a sentence of a year or so in jail, along with a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge. To desert during a time of war (declared or undeclared) is considered extremely serious misconduct by all services. If she is fortunate enough to be referred to a special court-martial, the maximum sentence is one year of confinement. But beyond that, there is no way to predict the severity of her punishment. As Mr. Brand said, "it depends."

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Answered on 9/08/04, 7:26 am

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