Desertion: Does the Military Punish Soldiers Who Go AWOL?

soldier praying in a field

What to do if you are facing military desertion charges.

Desertion is a term used in the military to describe when a member of the armed forces abandons their post or unit. Desertion can be punishable by court-martial and may result in jail time, a dishonorable discharge from the military, or other penalties.

Desertion under military law is not limited to leaving your unit during wartime, it also involves abandoning your post in a time of peace. In both cases, the court-martial will take into consideration whether or not the individual was under orders to remain at their post, and whether they took any steps to carry out those orders.

To avoid any potential issues, it's important to understand the above definition of desertion and what constitutes an illegal departure from military duty.

What Are Some Reasons Soldiers Go AWOL?

Soldiers may go AWOL for a variety of reasons. Some soldiers may feel that they are not getting the support they need from their commanders or fellow soldiers. Others may feel that they are being asked to do too much, or that they are in danger and have nowhere to turn. Some soldiers may also go AWOL in order to escape abuse or mistreatment by their fellow soldiers, commanders, or superiors. Some may be seeking better living conditions, while others may have mental health issues or just feel like they can't continue to serve. 

Whatever the reason, going AWOL is not a decision that should be taken lightly, as it can lead to serious penalties. The military criminal defense lawyers at The Griffin Law Firm can help you when you are in this highly volatile situation.

The Different Types of Desertion

There are different types of desertion that can occur in the military, each with its own consequences:

1. Desertion with the intent to go away permanently is when a service member leaves the military with the intention of never returning. Desertion with the intent to go away permanently is the most serious type of desertion and is punishable by up to death. This is especially true if the service person deserted during wartime.

2. Desertion with the intent to avoid hazardous duty is when a service member leaves the military to avoid being assigned to dangerous or hazardous duty. Desertion with the intent to avoid hazardous duty is also a serious offense and can lead to imprisonment, demotion, etc.

3. Desertion before the resignation is accepted is when a service member quits the military before their resignation has been accepted. Desertion before the resignation is accepted is less serious, but can still lead to punishment. 

4. Attempted desertion is when a service member attempts to leave the military but is caught before they can do so. Attempted desertion is also a crime, and can result in imprisonment or other penalties.

How Can You Prove Your Case if You Are Faced With a Military Desertion Charge?

When you are faced with a military desertion charge, proving your case can seem daunting. However, there are a few things that you can do to strengthen your case and increase your chances of success. 

First, make sure to return as soon as possible. In many cases, soldiers may be able to receive less severe punishment, such as a demotion or a shorter jail term, if they return to duty voluntarily.

Second, you should also consult with an experienced military attorney at The Griffin Law Firm who can help you build a strong case and protect your rights. 

Finally, be prepared to tell your story in a clear and concise way. The court will want to hear from you why you decided to desert the military, what you have been doing since leaving the service, and how you plan to rectify the situation. By following these tips, you can give yourself the best chance of success in court.

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