UCMJ Article 92

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Denver Military Defense Attorney

One of the most defining elements of U.S. military operations is a disciplined environment. The Uniform Code of Military Justice is a non-negotiable standard that was created to ensure the safety and effectiveness of military personnel. Sometimes, there are service members who are accused of violating these standards set in place. Under UCMJ Article 92, any service member who fails to follow orders could face significant penalties.

At The Law Center P.C., we have a strong understanding of the implications and consequences that arise when a service member is found guilty of violating Article 92. If they are accused of breaking this norm, they should contact our military defense attorneys immediately. We can help them better understand the nature of Article 92 and how they can defend their rights and interests against severe punishment.

What Is UCMJ Article 92?

Article 92 under the UCMJ is commonly known as the general punishment for failure to obey an order. This is a serious offense, as orders from commanding officers are often given to either keep service members safe or prepare them to navigate potentially dangerous scenarios when on duty.

There are three types of infractions under Article 92:

Failure to Obey Direct Orders or Military Regulations

This infraction happens when a service member purposely ignores a well-established military regulation or direct order given by a superior officer. As long as there is evidence that the service member was aware of the command or regulation, such as signing paperwork before joining or demonstrating behavior indicating that the member heard the officer, they could be found guilty.

Failure to Obey Other Lawful Orders

This infraction was developed to cover other lawful orders issued by a service member’s superior officers, which might not be part of the established set of regulations. This could include orders involving uniform appearance or code of conduct. To be found guilty of this infraction, it must be clear that the commanding officer had the authority to issue the request and that the service member was aware of their requirement to obey.

Dereliction of Duty

This occurs when a service member willfully neglects their own assigned duties or shows a careless attitude toward their own military responsibilities. This infraction was specifically established to cover instances where a service member has not directly disobeyed an order but they are failing to fulfill their own duties or demonstrated a clear disregard for the military’s standards.

Examples of UCMJ Article 92 Violations

To further understand how Article 92 violations may occur, it can be helpful to examine two hypothetical scenarios:

  • Failure to obey a direct order: A sergeant orders a service member to report to the motor pool for vehicle maintenance duty. This service member, in particular, feels like this task is beneath their seniority and military skillset. As a result, they fail to show up, which directly neglects the sergeant’s order.
  • Dereliction of duty: One specific service member is responsible for conducting regular checks on military equipment. Over several weeks, he became lax in performing these checks because he assumed that everything was fine. When one of these pieces of equipment fails to perform and compromises a key military operation, the individual could be charged with a dereliction of duty.


Q: What Happens If a Service Member Is Unsure Whether an Order Is Lawful?

A: There is an open line of communication that is always encouraged between a service member and their superior officer when uncertainty may arise about the lawfulness of an order. It’s important for service members to feel comfortable asking whether their orders are lawful. They must also immediately communicate their need for clarification.

If they neglect to share their initial doubts, taking the time to seek clarification could appear like they are neglecting the order. If a service member discovers that the order is lawful but still refuses to listen based on a personal disagreement, it could lead to an Article 92 charge.

Q: Does Article 92 Apply to Indirect Orders or Implied Tasks?

A: There are scenarios where Article 92 could apply to indirect orders or implied tasks if they are part of the service member’s agreed-upon duties. An implied task is something that has not been explicitly requested, but it is a necessary step to complete an order that was directly requested.

For example, if the military unit has been ordered to be ready for combat, there is an implied task that the equipment needs to be ready to use. This could be tied back to an individual’s neglect to regularly inspect the equipment to be prepared for this moment and, therefore, subject the individual to an Article 92 violation.

Q: Can a Service Member Be Held Accountable Under Article 92 for the Actions of Their Subordinates?

A: If there is any indication that a service member failed to properly supervise or enforce a compliance order with their own subordinates, they could be held accountable for this neglect under Article 92.

While they may not have explicitly carried out the neglectful action themselves, the extra responsibilities that come with a leadership role opens the service member to potential disciplinary action as well. This is especially true if there is any evidence to suggest that the service member was aware of their subordinates’ mistake but did not act to correct it.

Q: How Does Intent Affect Article 92 Allegations?

A: Intent is one of the main areas that a military defense attorney may examine in their clients’ cases. The harshest penalties are given to those who have willfully disobeyed direct orders, which suggests that intent is a factor when issuing punishments.

If you are being charged with an Article 92 violation when you had no intention of violating an order, an attorney can begin by establishing the facts of your case. They need clear evidence that indicates your lack of intent, such as an explanation of how any reasonable person could interpret the command in more than one way.

Contact The Law Center P.C. for Defense Support Today

If you have more questions about Article 92 or need support addressing an allegation that you believe is misguided, contact our military defense attorneys today. We are well-versed in Article 92 and can help find ways to either reduce or dismiss any charges.


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