Military Fraternization

Defense Attorney for Fraternization in the Military

Military Fraternization Attorney

It is no surprise that the military regularly oversees the relationships between servicemembers. Most commonly, this entails the criminalization of extramarital sexual relationships or adultery. What you may not know, however, is that there are also regulations on officer-enlisted friendships. Outside of the military, forming friendships or special bonds is far from illegal. However, when these things occur between military members, the accused may face nonjudicial punishment (NJP) or even court martial for their alleged behavior.

Aden Wilkie has specialized knowledge when it comes to dealing with legal issues such as fraternization in the military. If you have been accused of fraternization, it is critical that you retain the services of a competent military defense attorney. Contact us now for a free consultation at 910-333-9626 and see whether the Wilkie Law Firm is the right fit for you.

Fraternization FAQs

In the military, fraternization refers to inappropriate relationships that might vary between anything from business relationships to friendships to sexual or romantic relationships. Such relationships between military members of various ranks and roles are forbidden because they may potentially jeopardize the chain of command and good order and discipline. The military does not forbid all interactions between military personnel of unequal rank; only those that compromise or appear to violate the chain of command, as well as the good order and discipline of the unit, are prohibited.

Military commissioned and warrant officers can be prosecuted with fraternization under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) if they:

  • Fraternized with one or more subordinates because of military equality
  • Violated regulations that involve officers fraternizing with subordinates
  • Harmed good order and discipline in the armed forces or placed the armed forces into disrepute in the eyes of the public

The laws governing fraternization can be relaxed in certain circumstances. Cases where an officer and a service member were married before they joined the military or before the anti-fraternization regulation was put into place is one example. Another example is between National Guard commanders and enlisted service members who may have had a prior commercial relationship owing to their civilian occupations. Even these exclusions, however, are subject to penalty under fraternization laws if they appear to jeopardize the line of command.

The best practice before engaging in a romantic, business, or close relationship with a subordinate or someone junior in rank is to seek advice from an experienced military defense attorney who can give you advice on how to avoid a problem before it occurs. Avoiding problems is always better than being forced to solve a problem.

Punishments vary depending on the gravity of the event and the overall impact on the unit’s chain of command and morale. While formal charges may be filed, most fraternization infractions do not result in a court-martial. For example, the accused may get a verbal or written reprimand if the incident of fraternization was minimal and had little impact on the chain of command. 

For more serious cases, however, it is possible that a court-martial may be ordered. In these circumstances, the accused has access to legal counsel, the ability to confront evidence and witnesses, and the right to appeal, just as in any other court-martial proceeding. If the defendant is found guilty in a court-martial, penalties may include dismissal, two years confinement, or pay forfeiture. 

Other potential penalties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Suspension from duties for 30 days
  • 30 days of confinement to your quarters
  • Additional duties or responsibilities
  • Docked half a month’s pay for two months

In military legal proceedings, the accused is assumed innocent until proven guilty, much like in a civilian court of law. They are also able to use a variety of legal tactics to defend themselves against fraternization allegations. A competent military defense lawyer will focus on weakening the prosecution’s case, either by finding gaps or inconsistencies in their claim or by relying on expert testimony to show why the charge is unjust. Other defenses may include showing proof that: 

  • The accusation was false
  • The line of command was not obstructed
  • Proving that the alleged fraternization was supportive of official duties
  • There is a lawful marriage between the alleged parties

It is critical that those accused of fraternization in the military obtain the help of an experienced attorney to arrange and prioritize evidence to be presented to the command on their behalf. An attorney can also legally advise you and generate witnesses to testify to your excellent character, positive military achievements, good duty performance, and more. You will need an attorney with the appropriate abilities and experience to defend your case and help you achieve the best possible result. 

Luckily, we have just the man for the job: the Devil Dog Defender. Civilian military defense attorney Aden Wikie of the Wilkie Law Firm is ready to learn everything there is to know about your case and look carefully into the accusations made against you. Wilkie can and will build the strongest possible defense for your specific case. Located in Jacksonville, NC, he services armed forces at Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg as well as other bases, camps, stations, and posts in the U.S. Do not leave your military career hanging in the balance – contact Aden Wilkie online or call 910-333-9626 today.

This information is intended to educate and help you better understand the process and is not meant as a substitute for the personalized advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.