A sexual assault conviction and a false accusation would severely harm your military career and reputation. Due to increasing reports of sexual misconduct, the U.S. government is working hard to imprison military sex offenders. Today’s climate makes it increasingly important for those accused to know their rights.
How the military handles sexual assault allegations
Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) outlines sexual assault offenses. Military personnel charged with rape or sexual assault will undergo an investigation and an Article 32 hearing. If the military finds enough evidence, the accused will be subject to a court-martial, a proceeding reserved for serious crimes.
Consequences of a sexual assault conviction
Article 120 covers rape and sexual assault, which involves a nonconsensual sexual act, as well as aggravated or abusive sexual contact, which covers inappropriate touching. If a service member is found guilty of a UCMJ violation, they could face a mandatory dishonorable discharge and imprisonment ranging from seven years to a life sentence. The conviction may also forfeit any allowances and pay earned during service.
Invoking your rights
Being accused of sexual assault may put the odds against you, but it is important to keep focused. If you are put under investigation, remember your fundamental rights:
- Right to remain silent
During the investigation, law enforcement may pressure you to confess or discuss what happened. Invoking the right to remain silent would help you avoid making statements that could negatively impact your trial.
- Right to refuse consent
Without probable cause, law enforcement would not be authorized to search or seize your property, including your person, phone, home, and vehicle. Consenting to a search may allow them to find evidence that can be used against you.
- Right to counsel
The nature of the crime can make it hard for anyone to side with you. With so much at stake, seeking legal counsel to know what options are available may be your best course of action.
Facing criminal charges can be extremely damaging to your military career and your future as a civilian. Before things take a turn for the worst, take action and protect yourself with the help of a military defense attorney.