Have you been Accused Of fraternization?
If you have been accused of fraternization, you should seek help from a defense attorney who has handled similar situations successfully. We understand fraternization and can help you understand exactly how the command will likely handle any alleged violation and work diligently to defend your best interests during any ensuing action taken against you.
Can Enlisted be charged with fraternization?
Fraternization under Article 134, UCMJ, prohibits officers from fraternizing with enlisted members. This Article is not meant to prohibit low-level camaraderie or teamwork between enlisted members and officers, but instead intended to prohibit overly personal relationships that affect an officer’s ability to appear and act impartial and undermine good order, discipline, authority, or morale. There are five elements of fraternization as it is broadly defined under Article 134:
- The accused party was a warrant or commissioned officer of a U.S. military branch
- The accused officer interacted with at least one enlisted member in a particular manner
- The accused officer was aware that they were interacting with an enlisted member
- The interaction between the two or more parties was not in line with the accused officer’s customary non-fraternization with enlisted members
- The accused officer’s conduct discredited the armed forces and/or negatively impacted “good order and discipline”
Common examples of “fraternization” in this context include romantic or sexual relations, shared living quarters, gambling, borrowing or lending money, or engaging in repeated private commercial transactions. Our office has experience with military fraternization offenses could help examine the grounds on which the accusation is based and work to challenge these allegations on their merits.
Although Article 134, UCMJ, only prohibits fraternization between officers and enlisted members, each branch of the service has regulations that prohibit fraternization between enlisted superiors and subordinates. A violation of these regulations will be charged as failure to obey a general order or regulation under Article 92, UCMJ. Proof that you actually knew about the general order or regulation is not required. Therefore, “I didn’t know,” is not a defense.
What Are The Consequences for fraternization?
While the military takes fraternization extremely seriously, it does not punish all instances of this offense equally. If the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense are not severe, a servicemember may face light punishment, such as a letter of reprimand, administrative separation, or NJP which may include extra duties, restrictions, or loss of pay.
In more severe situations, however, allegations of fraternization may be addressed through a court-martial, which could potentially end with an accused servicemember facing punitive discharge (dismissal, bad conduct discharge, or dishonorable discharge), forfeiture of pay, and confinement for up to two years. If you are accused of or facing suspicion of fraternization, contact us immediately.
If you’ve been Accused of fraternization, don’t wait. Call Us Immediately!