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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
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Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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What is the statute of limitations for criminal military prosecution?

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What is the statute of limitations for criminal military prosecution? I read a post earlier saying that administrative punishments were per enlistment contract (I don't know what it is for officers).

I recall watching a documentary where a retired LTC brought back in from retirement for court martial because the civilian courts were unable to charge him for murder. This wasn't considered double jeopardy because it was a different authority. I have always wondered, any insight would be great!

Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I have nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines, including JAG.


Ok. The statute of limitations is 5 years on most crimes. A few crimes, like murder and rape, have no statute of limitations at all.


Both enlisted members and officers can be brought back if they were on duty when they committed the offense and are retired. That retirement keeps them connected to the military so that they can be called back up to active duty.


So, even crimes committed outside of active duty, but while in retirement, can be tried.




Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Wow thank you for your quick and informative response!


So if someone performed 20 years or has a military medical pension, they are still tied to the military and cab be called back up to active duty? Also those in IRR, is this assumption correct?


How about if you are receiving only VA disability? Would the military be able to call you back in for a crime?


And lastly, when you say the statute of limitations is 5 years, is that only while a service member is serving, or does it include after they ETS and no longer have an IRR obligation? Thank you!

Those in IRR, correct. And yes, those with some sort of military connection through medical retirement or regular retirement.


VA is not military. It is it's own thing, which is why you can have differing amounts awarded in disability from the VA and military itself.


It is 5 years from the date of the crime, if they have jurisdiction over the soldier.


So, if it is a 5 year statute of limitations crime and the person is getting out, and not retiring, then you have to place them on a legal hold to finish the criminal conviction or you essentially lose the jurisdictional right to go after can't bring them back once they are truly gone and not retired.

Allen M., Esq. and other Military Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much! Watching documentaries like Dateline and 60 minutes, I never understood why the military was able to prosecute retired military who were separated a long time after the alleged crime. Your clarification made it very understandable. I have also seen soldiers not allowed to ETS due to an investigation, which makes sense with what you said. Lastly before I give you a much deserved 5-star rating, can you tell me which Army regulation covers statute of limitations?

It's not an Army specific regulation.


It is contained in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is the single military law code for the entire armed forces.


It's found in Article 43 of the UCMJ.

Allen M., Esq. and other Military Law Specialists are ready to help you

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