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Non-Judicial Punishment | Article 15 | Captain's Mast

Your command may allege that you have committed a minor violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and may elect to address that misconduct without the formalities of a court-martial through Non-Judicial Punishment.  The procedures for, as well as the rights afforded to service members under, Non-Judicial Punishment are set forth within Article 15 of the UCMJ.  Although each service may refer to it by a different name.  In the Army it is known as an "Article 15".  In the Navy and Marine Corps it is known as the "Captain's Mast".  In the Air Force the the same procedure is called "Offisce Hours".  Irrespective of the service component, the UCMJ is uniform across all components and the same rights and process are afforded to all who are subject to the Code.  An experienced military attorney can assist you in your defense against the charges you face. 

 A service member may "turn down" an Article 15 and instead demand a court-martial.  Such a decision is a serious one which subjects a service member to the full range of potential punishments that may flow from a court-martial to include confinement reduction in rank, fine, reduction in rank as well as the statutory bar to government benefits and employment opportunities. A service member may elect to proceed with the procedures set forth under Article 15 of the UCMJ typically after being afforded a reasonable opportunity to discuss their case with an attorney.  The procedures for Non Judicial Punishment are designed to produce fast and expeditious results.  To protect service members, the speed non-judicial punishment is balanced with a limitation of punishments that may be imposed upon a service member based upon the rank of the commander initiating an action under Article 15 of the UCMJ.

If initiated by a Field Grade Officer (O-4 and up), the potential punishments are limited to the following:

  • Admonition or reprimand;
  • Confinement on diminished rations;
  • Correctional custody of not greater than 30 days;
  • Forfeiture of not greater than half of base pay for not more than 60 days;
  • Rank reduction (to E-1 for E-4 & below, one pay grade for E-5 & up);
  • Extra duty of not more than 45 days; and
  • Restriction of not more than 60 days.

If initiated by a Company Grade Officer (up to an O-3), the potential punishments are limited to the following:

  • Admonition or reprimand;
  • Confinement on diminished rations;
  • Correctional custody of not greater than 7 days;
  • Forfeiture of not more than 7 days base pay;
  • Rank reduction (one grade for E-4 & below, no reduction for E-5 & up);
  • Extra duty of not more than 14 days; and
  • Restriction of not more than 14 days.

If the service members elects to proceed under the provisions of Article 15, an experienced military law attorney like Mr. Jubelt can help you present witnesses and documentary evidence.  After being collated and examined by Mr. Jubelt, such evidence can include witness statements, character letters, arrest reports, personnel records and other matters for the purpose of substantiating your innocence.  Mr. Jubelt can advise, assist and develop both your and other witness testimony to demonstrate either your absence of guilt or to serve as mitigating or extenuating circumstances to diminish the potential punishment you may face to include, but not limited to, the impact of such punishments upon your family, career, and children. 

If the commander makes a finding as to your innocence, the proceedings are concluded.  In the alternative, should your commander determine that you are guilty, the commander will impose a punishment within the parameters afforded to the commander by his rank.  The commander may also impose a suspended punishment creating a quasi period of probation for a specified period of time.  Should you complete that probationary period without additional violations, your sentence will not be imposed.  In certain unique circumstances, punishments may also be delayed prior to imposition.   

Should you disagree with the imposition of punishment under Article 15 or the finding of guilt, you may, within a limited period, appeal you case to the next highest commander.  

Although Non-Judicial Punishment proceedings under Article 15 are initiated to address minor misconduct, findings of guilt at an Article 15 can have a significant adverse impact upon one's military career and can and frequently result in administrative separations.  Mr. Jubelt can assist you in presenting your case at an Article 15 to present your best case and should punishments have already been imposed, Mr. Jubelt can pursue subsequent proceedings to set aside or vacate a finding of guilt or punishments under Article 15.  

Contact Mr. Jubelt today to discuss your case and secure your future by dialing toll free 888-371-6011 or via email at [email protected].

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