UCMJ Article 134
Self Injury, Without Intent to Avoid Service
The MCM states a service member may be subject to prosecution for a violation of Article 134 – Self Injury, Without Intent to Avoid Service if the following elements can be effectively demonstrated:
- the accused intentionally inflicted injury upon himself or herself; and
- 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.
If the offence occurred during a time of war or in a hostile fire pay zone, that element is to be added.
Understanding Article 134 (Self Injury, Without Intent to Avoid Service) of the UCMJ
This offense differs from malingering in that for this offense, the accused need not have harbored a design to avoid performance of any work, duty, or service which may properly or normally be expected of one in the military service. This offense is characterized by intentional self-injury under such circumstances as prejudice good order and discipline or discredit the armed forces. It is not required that the accused be unable to perform duties, or that the accused actually be absent from his or her place of duty as a result of the injury. For example, the accused may inflict the injury while on leave or pass. The circumstances and extent of injury, however, are relevant to a determination that the accused’s conduct was prejudicial to good order and discipline, or Service discrediting.
The injury may be inflicted by nonviolent as well as by violent means and may be accomplished by any act or omission that produces, prolongs, or aggravates a sickness or disability. Thus, voluntary starvation that results in debility is a self-inflicted injury. Similarly, the injury may be inflicted by another at the accused’s request.
Bona fide suicide attempts should not be charged as criminal offenses. When making a determination whether the injury by the Servicemember was a bona fide suicide attempt, the convening authority should consider factors including, but not limited to, health conditions, personal stressors, and DoD policy related to suicide prevention.
Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 134
Service members convicted of Intentional self-inflicted injury faced a maximum possible punishment of a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 2 years.
Those convicted of Intentional self-inflicted injury in time of war or in a hostile fire pay zone 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 134 Self Injury, Without Intent to Avoid Service 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 Self Injury, Without Intent to Avoid Service, 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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