Article 31

Your right to remain silent.

Article 31, UCMJ

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).

If you are or may be facing prosecution by the military, make sure you have an attorney who is well-versed in the UCMJ and court-martial defense. As a former area defense counsel and senior (circuit) defense counsel in the Air Force, Ross Brennan at Cronauer Law is a seasoned advocate in military court rooms.

Don’t risk the consequences of inexperienced counsel. Contact Cronauer Law today.

Related rights

A. THE RIGHT to an appointed military attorney free of charge before answering any questions.

B. THE RIGHT to obtain a civilian attorney of the person’s own choosing, at that person’s expense.

C. THE RIGHT to consult with an attorney and to have a lawyer present during any questioning.

D. THE RIGHT to terminate an interrogation at any time.

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