Article 131 UCMJ: A Brief Overview

Today, we are going to take a look at Article 131 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This covers an area that can be confusing. And I do recommend an attorney with ample experience in military law if you face an Article 131.

What An Article 133 Lists As

If a member of any military branch commits perjury… Lying. And one thing I have always been sure of, lying gets you no where. Because when you tell 1 lie you will have to tell another lie to cover the first. At some point, you will be discovered.

Under What Circumstances Can An Article 131 Be Used?

There are 2 things that committing perjury can get you charged with an Article 131:

  1. Upon a lawful oath or in a form allowed by law to be substituted for an oath, gives any false testimony material to the issue or matter of inquiry.
  2. In any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty or perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, subscribes any false statement material to the issue or matter of inquiry.

In either of these, you can get an Article 131 and have court martial directed punishment.

What Makes A Charge Of Perjury Valid

article 131Herein is where a good defense attorney can find “holes” in a perjury charge. These are what makes a perjury charge valid:

The statement given by the defendant is proven false.

  • The defendant knows that the statement he gave was not true.
  • The defendant was placed under an oath which was administered by an authorized person.
  • The defendant willfully gave wrong testimony even after being administered the oath.
  • The defendant has subscribed a false statement, declaration, certification or verification, even when he knew that the there was a penalty for giving wrong information.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Article 133 UCMJ: A Brief Overview
  2. The Army Zero Tolerance Drug Policy
  3. Times When Disobeying A Direct Order Is The Right Thing To Do
  4. History of the Army JAG Corps: 11 Cool Facts
  5. The Article 138 Process: What Every Soldier Should Know

If Convicted Of An Article 131

The individual will face punishment under court-martial direction.

Possible punishments include:

  • Up to 5 years of prison confinement
  • Dishonorable discharge
  • Loss of pay and allowances

Can It Hold Up In Court?

A defense attorney should be asking several questions to determine if the Article 131 is even valid:

  • Was all sworn testimony properly taken?
  • Did the individual who requested the sworn testimony have the authority to do so?
  • Were all documents properly notarized?
  • Did the accused know that he or she was lying at the time the sworn testimony or written statements were given?
  • Was anything not clear about the question which could have elicited an incorrect statement?
  • Does the statement or testimony have a material bearing on the outcome of the case in question?
  • And, Would the outcome of the matter have been different if the accused had told the truth?

The answers to these questions can help a defense attorney in a mighty way.

Final Thoughts

Perjury… Lying just isn’t worth it. Maybe by doing so, you think you are protecting someone. While that may seem honorable, is it?

If you are being threatened and are lying to protect you or your family, you need to tell your attorney that. There is help and protection.

Just know that perjury is a major offense in military standards. After all, if a person will lie about one thing, they will lie about anything.

I hope this helps you. If you have any questions or feedback, please post it below. Thanks you.

References

  1. http://www.ucmj.us/sub-chapter-10-punitive-articles/931-article-131-perjury
  2. https://www.bileckilawgroup.com/court-martial-defense/articles-of-the-ucmj/article-131-perjury/
  3. https://www.jordanucmjlaw.com/articles/article-131-perjury/

About The Author

Greg Boudonck is a full time freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He served in the United States Army in the early 1980’s and enjoys writing about military subjects. You can see Greg’s books on Amazon by searching his name and you can also visit his website at Lancerlife.com.

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