UCMJ Article 131d
Wrongful Refusal to Testify
The MCM states any service member may be subject to prosecution for a violation of Article 131d if, in the presence of a court-martial, a board of officers, a military commission, a court of inquiry, preliminary hearing, or an officer taking a deposition, of or for the United States, wrongfully refuses to qualify as a witness or to answer a question after having been directed to do so by the person presiding.
In order to be convicted for wrongful refusal to testify, the prosecution must demonstrate that:
- the accused was in the presence of a court-martial, board of officers, military commission, court of inquiry, an officer conducting a preliminary hearing under Article 32, or an officer taking a deposition, of or for the United States, at which a certain person was presiding;
- the said person presiding directed the accused to qualify as a witness or, having so qualified, to answer a certain question;
- the accused refused to qualify as a witness or answer said question; and
- the refusal was wrongful.
Understanding Article 131d (Wrongful Refusal to Testify) of the UCMJ
“To qualify as a witness” means that the witness declares that the witness will testify truthfully. A good faith but legally incorrect belief in the right to remain silent does not constitute a defense to a charge of wrongful refusal to testify.
Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 131d
Service members convicted of a violation of Article 131d 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 131d Wrongful Refusal to Testify 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 131d charges for Wrongful Refusal to Testify, 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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