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Areas of Practice » Military Law » Military Criminal Defense » Adultery and Fraternization

Adultery, Fraternization & the UCMJ

Court Marital Lawyer

Military personnel, representing their country and its people, are expected to adhere to high standards of discipline. Any act committed by a service member that negatively impacts or discredits their unit, or the military itself, is considered an offense as covered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

The UCMJ considers adultery and fraternization criminal offenses, and the offending service member or officer may face a courts-martial. Adultery is the act of having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse. It is also considered adultery if a service member has sexual relations with someone who themselves is married. Whether or not the person is separated from their spouse will usually have no bearing on the case.

Fraternization is the act of a commissioned or warrant officer fraternizing (or socializing) with an enlisted service member on terms of military equality. Simply put, if a commissioned or warrant officer compromises the chain of command as laid out in the customs of the armed forces, and such compromise results in an appearance of partiality or an undermining of good order, discipline, morale or authority, that officer is guilty of fraternization.

False Accusations

It is not uncommon for individuals to face false accusations of adultery or fraternization. These false accusations are normally made with the intent to discredit or harm. At other times, false accusations could simply arise out of false pretenses. Because adultery is largely based on circumstantial evidence, such as "he said, she said" statements, we can help you expose the irrelevant nature of your charges and combat them successfully in court.

Don't allow the government to rely on witnesses who may have personal biases against you or whose credibility is otherwise tainted. Don't allow the future of your military career to be at stake! Get a hard-hitting representative in your corner who can help expose these false accusations.

Have you been charged with adultery or fraternization?

There are three elements of proof for the offense of adultery in the military:

  • That the accused wrongfully had sexual intercourse with a certain person
  • That the accused was married to another person at the time the offense was committed
  • That the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces

While the second element is not hard for the government to prove, the first and third elements can be extremely difficult to prove. While the government can produce written evidence that shows you were married to another person at the time the offense occurred, proof of sexual intercourse usually requires photographs, a confession, an eye-witness or another admissible proof. It is also usually difficult for the government to be able to prove that your conduct had a direct negative impact on the military.

Nevertheless, when adultery is proved, those employed in the military can suffer repercussions much more serious then civilians. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see additional charges added onto the initial charge; for example, a sexual assault or other military sex offenses charge being added to an adultery charge or an officer misconduct charge being added to a fraternization charge. Regardless of any additional charges, if you are facing adultery or fraternization charges, the consequences could be career-ending and life-changing.

Talk to a military criminal defense attorney today!

A court-martial could result in a reduction in rank, jail time and possibly even a discharge from the armed forces. The attorneys at the firm have experience representing active duty and retired military personnel. They know you have a lot to deal with; however they also understand your reputation and career are at stake. Take action and contact a court martial lawyer to protect your rights and to fight for the favorable resolution you deserve.