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Article 31

Your right to remain silent.

Have you been read your article 31 rights?

Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is a succinct yet powerful article. It says, in very simple terms, that no military member can be compelled to incriminate themselves. Put another way, military members have a right to remain silent. Further, if a military member is suspected of an offense and another military member (such as a commander, first sergeant, or law enforcement official) seeks to question them about the offense, the person doing the questioning must provide a warning about the right to remain silent.

Article 31 applies in addition to the 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, although they function similarly. In fact, rights contained in Article 31 pre-date the Supreme Court’s landmark opinion Miranda v. Arizona, which required that law enforcement officials advise someone of their rights when being subjected to custodial interrogation. The Supreme Court actually cited Article 31 in their opinion as supporting authority for the decision. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 489, footnote 62 (1966).


Being read your Article 31 rights can be a scary, overwhelming experience. Your career may hang in the balance based on your decision.

As a former active duty JAG officer and two-time defense counsel in the Air Force, Ross Brennan at Cronauer Law is well-versed in Article 31 issues. Contact Cronauer Law today for a free consultation with an experienced military criminal defense attorney.

To learn more about a court-martial in the military, see these related links:

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