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Military Desertion

Joining the US Army can be a rewarding experience for many if they are ready mentally and physically. However, many times people that join are not ready and often desert the military for various reasons. Military desertion is illegal and can impose many fines and punishment. This often leads to questions regarding what is a military deserter, what is the desertion statute of limitations, or what is the penalty for desertion. Below are a few questions that have been answered by the Experts.

Are Military desertion warrants lifted off of a FBI criminal record?

Many times it will depend on the background check and who is running the check. The NCIC (National Criminal Information Center) database will maintain a record of the warrant/arrest forever. NCIC is law enforcement, and this would also pertain to state agencies that have access to LE data. Therefore, a state agency could ask local law enforcement to process an NCIC check. However, a private corporation will not have access.

If someone was incarcerated on military hold in a county jail for desertion how long will it take to be transferred and tried in court?

In most situations, this could take up to a week, or possibly two weeks to be transferred and arraigned. Depending on where the person on trial is taken will determine the amount of time that it will take to transfer from county jail to Military court. Many times if the person was taken back to their own unit for trial, the process could last weeks and even months.

If someone is facing a desertion charges where would he/she need to find an attorney?

Most often than not, if someone is facing desertion charges, more than likely he/she will be facing a court martial. If the individual is dealing with a court martial, then they will be appointed to a military lawyer. Since desertion charges go through the military court process, people may not understand where legal counsel will come from.

After a voluntary surrender of military desertion, does legal counsel increase the likelihood of an administrative discharge in the army?

Not generally, however it is still possible that upon surrendering the individual will be taken back to their unit for action.

How would someone turn report a person if they are a military deserter?

If the person has been absent without leave (AWOL) for more than thirty days there is likely a warrant for his/her arrest. If you know his location, you can simply call local law enforcement and provide the information. Law enforcement will handle the rest.

In the U.S. military law, desertion is measured by leaving and remaining absent for extended periods of time without prior authorization. Military desertion has many legal implications and desertion laws differ per situation since the military abides by its own military law. If desertion questions are a primary focus for you or someone you know, you can ask the Experts to get insight to your toughest questions.
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Recent Desertion Questions

  • Hello, I received a special court martial and a bad conduct

    Hello,
    I received a special court martial and a bad conduct discharge from the USMC in 1979. I was in trouble several times for drunk on duty, dui, UA for 29 days and the last time desertion. That’s when I was giving the special court martial.
    Since then I have applied for a hand gun permit probably three times here in Indiana. I’m guessing at the years but I’m going to say 1992, 1996 and 2000. Each time when I applied at the County Sheriff I would get denied when they did a back ground check and I would have to go to talk to the Sheriff which every time they then OKed it. I got tired of messing with it every time it was due again so I just quit renewing it.
    Since then I decided to get a shotgun in 2013 from a store. When they did the background check it got denied. Was told the FBI would have to check into it more. After a few days they OKed the purchase but I decided not to get the shotgun. I then tried to but a mini 14 which is a semi automatic rifle. Again the background check was denied but after a few days the FBI OKed my purchase.
    Now I applied for a lifetime handgun permit in Indiana and got denied. The exact wording was :
    Your application has been denied because you are not a proper person to be licensed as set forth in Indiana Code 35-47-1 and the licensing rules which appear at 240 Indiana Administrative Code, Article 3. Specifically I.C.35-47-1-7, a proper person is one who: (7) does not make a false statement of material fact on the parson’s application.
    I tried to find out what they were talking about but never could talk to a real person. I had to appeal it. Now I have a date to meet with the Indiana State Police Firearms Section in Indianapolis.
    The only thing I can think of is a question that I think was asked somewhere about if I got a dishonorable discharge which I said no.( I got a bad conduct discharge) and a question was asked if I was charged with anything which I could have received a year in prison. I said no because when I received the Special Court Martial the max time was 6 months not a year so I’m thinking that they are looking at the court-martial and thinking I could have received a year out of it.
    I looked up IC 35-47-1-7 and it states:
    IC 35-47-1-7
    "Proper person"
    Sec. 7. "Proper person" means a person who:
    (1) does not have a conviction for resisting law enforcement under IC 35-44.1-3-1 within five (5) years before the person applies for a license or permit under this chapter;
    (2) does not have a conviction for a crime for which the person could have been sentenced for more than one (1) year;
    (3) does not have a conviction for a crime of domestic violence (as defined in IC 35-31.5-2-78), unless a court has restored the person's right to possess a firearm under IC 35-47-4-7;
    (4) is not prohibited by a court order from possessing a handgun.

    None of the above apply to my case.
    1. I have never had a conviction for resisting law enforcement
    2. I have no conviction for a crime for which I could have been sentenced for more than one (1) year.
    3. I have never been convicted for a domestic violence crime
    4. I have never been prohibited by a court order from possessing a handgun.

    Am I wrong appealing this? I don't want to take a vacation day and have a 5 hour round trip if I'm wasting my time.I don’t understand why they approved several handgun permits in the past plus the FBI OKed me for the semi automatic rifle just recently. I haven’t been in any trouble other than a speeding ticket for over 30 years. Been at the same job for 30 years and married 27 years. Having drank or smoked cigarettes since 1995 when I recievied the Lord in my life
    Thanks Dave
  • I recently received a battalion-level NJP for going UA, and

    I recently received a battalion-level NJP for going UA (was actually desertion, three months UA, but the NJP was lowered so I'd accept it), and when I spoke to the Chaplain I admitted to suicidal thoughts/depressions. He took me to the Medical Officer, who I told the same thing... While he wrote down everything in my medical record. In this process, I admitted to a previous suicide attempt when I was younger that I did not disclose in my enlistment paperwork. The MO made me go see the division psych (who recommended to my chain of command that I be discharged for mental instability that will disrupt my ability to serve), who then made me go to the hospital... Where I wasn't admitted into the psych ward. I'm not sure what to expect to happen, as now my fraudulent enlistment is out there. The branch is the USMC, and my chain of command has not contacted me or told me anything about what is going to happen. We are also supposed to be deploying on a UDP to Japan within two months. Am I going to be facing brig time? Or will I just be getting admin separated? Or retained? No one has been able to tell me anything about what to expect, so I'm looking for some help in that regard. Also, if it came down to my choice of retention or getting out, I'd choose to get out.

  • I was awol for a long time in the 60s I was picked up returned

    I was awol for a long time in the 60s I was picked up returned to the army I was senticed to levenworth for 1 year but returned to duty and stay till 1974 at that time was SSgt and was honable discharge also a Vietnam vet. now I live in texas that's almost 50 years no civilian record at all. applied for police academy they are checking my records with the fbi that is military they have my dd214 it is as I say here. now I wait for answer from texas commission on law enforcement. yes ok or no?
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