WORLDWIDE MILITARY DEFENSE LAWYER
Absence Without Leave
One of the most frequently charged offenses in the military is unauthorized absence (UA), also known as absence without leave (AWOL). Servicemembers can be charged with unauthorized absence for very short periods of time or for being absent for many years. If the government believes a person went AWOL with no intention of ever returning to the military, they can even charge the offense of desertion. According to Article 86, the following elements must be present:
- The accused person fails to go to the appointed place of duty, or;
- The accused goes from the appointed place of duty, or;
- The accused is absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty;
Servicemembers can be unfairly charged with these offenses. It’s not uncommon for the government to create a separate charge for every time a person is late, thus stacking charges and specifications for the sole reason of trying to increase the punishment. While the military must hold each military member accountable for their own actions, prosecution for these offenses can start looking like a witch hunt. There may be a very good reason why a servicemember is absent: hardship, family emergency or other mitigating factors. Some have been treated unfairly or maltreated and are just trying to escape that kind of environment. And some leave their unit and duty station and do not want to return. Depending on the type and length of absence, you could face up to 18 months of confinement. But even more if you are charged with desertion.
Experienced Military Criminal Defense Lawyer
No matter the circumstances, if you find yourself facing UA or AWOL charges, you need an experienced military lawyer. You need someone who knows how to fight such cases or who knows the right way to handle military prosecutors, commanders and military judges. There are also critical steps that you can take before you turn yourself in that can drastically alter the ultimate punishment or type of discharge. At our firm, military criminal defense lawyer Colby Vokey has handled hundreds of AWOL cases. Please don’t rely on your appointed defense counsel to fight the government. Detailed military defense counsel in uniform are often inexperienced, under pressure from their service, and carrying case loads too great to provide adequate representation for all of their clients. If you are charged with AWOL, call an experienced military lawyer immediately for help. You need to speak with someone who will not call your command or base or post to report you. You need a lawyer who will keep your conversation absolutely confidential. Colby Vokey will speak with you confidentially and provide his honest opinion about your case. If he can’t help you, then he will point you in the right direction.