UCMJ Article 134

UCMJ Article 134

Debt, Dishonorably Failing to Pay

Article 134 of the MCM states any service member may be subject to prosecution if it is determined that:

  1. the accused was indebted to a certain person or entity in a certain sum;
  2. this debt became due and payable on or about a certain date;
  3. while the debt was still due and payable the accused dishonorably failed to pay this debt; and
  4. under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was either: (i) to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces; (ii) was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces; or (iii) to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces and of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.


Understanding Article 134 (Debt, Dishonorably Failing to Pay) of the UCMJ

In order to be prosecuted for an Article 134 violation for debt, dishonorably failing to pay, more than negligence in nonpayment is necessary. The failure to pay must be characterized by deceit, evasion, false promises, or other distinctly culpable circumstances indicating a deliberate nonpayment or grossly indifferent attitude toward one’s just obligations. For a debt to form the basis of this offense, the accused must not have had a defense, or an equivalent offset or counterclaim, either in fact or according to the accused’s belief, at the time alleged. The offense should not be charged if there was a genuine dispute between the parties as to the facts or law relating to the debt which would affect the obligation of the accused to pay. The offense is not committed if the creditor or creditors involved are satisfied with the conduct of the debtor with respect to payment. The length of the period of nonpayment and any denial of indebtedness which the accused may have made may tend to prove that the accused’s conduct was dishonorable, but the court-martial may convict only if it finds from all of the evidence that the conduct was in fact dishonorable.


Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 134

Service members convicted of an Article 134 violation for Debt, Dishonorably Failing to Pay face a maximum possible punishment of a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months.


How do you defend against Article 134 Debt, Dishonorably Failing to Pay 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 134 charges for Debt, Dishonorably Failing to Pay, 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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