UCMJ Article 95
Offenses by sentinel or lookout
The MCM states under Article 95 (Offenses by a sentinel or lookout) any service member may be prosecuted if they are drunk on post, asleep on post, leaves their post before being relieved, or if they are found loitering or wrongfully sitting while on post.
In order for a service member to be convicted of an Article 95 violation in regard to being drunk on post, asleep on post, or leaving their post before being relieved, the prosecution must demonstrate the accused:
- was posted or on post as a sentinel or lookout;
- was drunk while on post, was sleeping while on post, or left post before being regularly relieved.
If the offense was committed during a time of war or when the accused was receiving special pay, the prosecution must also prove that the event occurred and that it was during a time of war or when the accused was receiving special pay.
In order to be prosecuted for loitering or wrongfully sitting on post, it must be demonstrated the accused:
- was posted as a sentinel or lookout; and
- that while so posted, the accused loitered or wrongfully sat down on post.
If the offense occurred during a time of war or when the accused was receiving special pay, the prosecution must also prove the accused was, in fact, posted to said position.
Understanding Article 95 (Offenses by sentinel or lookout) of the UCMJ
The behaviors specified in Article 95, drunk on post, asleep on post, or leaving post before being relieved does not apply to those who are not assigned as a sentinel or lookout, nor does it apply to anyone who’s duties do not require constant alertness and attentiveness.
“Post” is the area in which the service member is required to be for the performance of their assigned duties. Depending upon the duties specified, the surrounding areas may be included as the lookout of sentinel’s assigned post. For the offense of leaving post to apply, the sentinel or lookout must have traveled a distance sufficient to hinder their ability to perform their assigned duty. The order to go “on post” must have been a lawful order but it may or may not have been formally given.
If the service member is accused of sleeping on post, it is not necessary for them to have been completely comatose, merely physically and mentally impaired enough to not be able to perform their duties. If, however, the accused suffered a physical incapacity as the result of a disease or accident that caused the sleeping, this would be considered an affirmative defense.
Loitering refers to standing around, moving slowly, lingering, or lagging behind when it is in direct violation of instruction or allows for the accused to fail in giving complete attention to their assigned duties.
Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 95
If one is convicted of drunk or sleeping on post, or leaving post before being relieved, the maximum possible punishment is a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for 1 year. If the offence occurred while the accused was receiving special pay, the maximum punishment includes a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 10 years. If the offense occurred during a time of war, the maximum possible punishment is death.
If one is convicted of loitering or wrongfully sitting down on post by a sentinel or lookout, the maximum possible punishment is a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months. If the offense occurred during a time of war or while the accused was receiving special pay, the maximum possible punishment is a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 2 years.
How do you defend against Article 95 Offenses by Sentinel or Lookout 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 who have won these cases. This team includes the firm’s founder, Jonathan Crisp, a highly respected former Army JAG with over 17 years of experience in military law and a sought-after speaker and lecturer on military law. In 2015 the firm recruited R. Davis Younts, a former prosecutor who was the number one rated Senior Defense Counsel in the Air Force and has taught at the Army and Air Force JAG Schools and successfully achieved acquittals in multiple rape, sexual assault, and sexual contact cases in courts-martial in multiple branches of the service.
If you or someone you know is facing Article 95 charges for Offenses by Sentinel or Lookout, you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 888-258-1653 for a free consultation.
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