UCMJ Article 131b
The MCM states any service member may be subject to prosecution under Article 131b if they engage in conduct in the case of a certain person against whom the accused had reason to believe there were or would be criminal or disciplinary proceedings pending, with intent to influence, impede, or otherwise obstruct the due administration of justice.
In order to be convicted for obstructing justice, the prosecution must demonstrate that:
- the accused wrongfully did a certain act;
- the accused did so in the case of a certain person against whom the accused had reason to believe there were or would be criminal or disciplinary proceedings pending; and
- the act was done with the intent to influence, impede, or otherwise obstruct the due administration of justice.
Understanding Article 131b (Obstructing Justice) of the UCMJ
This offense may be based on conduct that occurred before preferral of charges. Actual obstruction of justice is not an element of this offense. Criminal proceedings include general courts-martial, special courts-martial, and all other criminal proceedings. For purposes of this paragraph, disciplinary proceedings include summary courts-martial as well as nonjudicial punishment proceedings under Part V of the MCM. Examples of obstruction of justice include wrongfully influencing, intimidating, impeding, or injuring a witness, a person acting on charges under this chapter, a preliminary hearing officer, or a party; and by means of bribery, intimidation, misrepresentation, or force or threat of force delaying or preventing communication of information relating to a violation of any criminal statute of the United States to a person authorized by a department, agency, or armed force of the United States to conduct or engage in investigations or prosecutions of such offenses; or endeavoring to do so.
Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 131b
Service members convicted of a violation of Article 131b for obstructing justice face a maximum possible punishment of a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.
How do you defend against Article 131b Obstructing Justice charges?
When you are facing the combined resources of the military as well as the current cultural climate, you need to be prepared to defend your career and your freedom. Crisp and Associates, LLC has a team of experienced trial attorneys, with more than 75 years of combined experience, who have won these types of cases. This team includes the firm’s founder, Jonathan Crisp, a highly respected and sought-after attorney, speaker, and lecturer, who has served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) since 1998 and entered private practice in 2007.
If you, or someone you know, is facing Article 131b charges for Obstructing Justice, you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. We understand what is at risk, and we know how to protect your career, your freedom, and your future. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 888-258-1653 for a free consultation.
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