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Absent Without Leave (AWOL) Regulations

What does AWOL mean?

AWOL stands for Absent without Leave. Absent without Leave is used in the United States Military to describe when a soldier or other military members have left their post without permission. There are many consequences of going AWOL and AWOL punishments. Read below where the Experts have provided answers to the top commonly asked questions regarding to AWOL.

What happens when someone goes AWOL, and how long does it take for them to be dropped?

Nowadays, the military will no longer go looking for a person who is absent without leave. Instead what will happen is after the 31st day of being absent without leave, they are considered dropped from roles (DFR). At this time their name is in the data system, which allows the local law enforcement around the nation to have access to their status of AWOL. They will be listed as an absentee wanted by the Armed Forces. With the status of this they can still work, and normally not fear that their work will cause them to be picked up. With that being said, if for any reason they are stopped by law enforcement, the law enforcement can turn this person over to the armed forces. In some states it’s a routine for the sheriff to verify if any person they have stopped is wanted for AWOL with the military services. If they are stopped, they will be taken to a holding facility on the nearest military base. Then they will contact the unit to find out if they want this person back. If not, in many situations, they will be held for administrative discharge, under other than honorable conditions.

In the state of California what can happen if someone goes AWOL in the National Guard?

In many cases when a person goes AWOL out of the National Guard they will place an Other Than Honorable discharge. They can ask that discharge be based on absent without leave, under the concept of misconduct. Other Than Honorable (OTH) will be placed on this person’s permanent record, which can affect any future employment options. This can also limit their ability to use their Veterans Affairs.

If someone’s child went AWOL for 2 years, what can happen when they are arrested?

In this case the Army will either send them to court or process them administratively. Depending on the description of service requires the individual may be entitled to an attorney for this. If the military is trying to give them an adverse discharge, then they have to be provided an attorney. It is also possible for the military to prosecute them in court. If they were arrested, it is likely they will start out this way. If they are prosecuted criminally, then the services of military defense counsel will help in their defense. If this case starts out in a court martial, normally the individual will be offered a plea bargain to an administrative separation.

If someone has served a full four years in active army and then went AWOL to avoid re-deployment, is it possible the army is still looking for them?

It is possible that they have been dropped from rolls and separated administratively, but also it is possible that they have not and that there could be a warrant out for their arrest. If so, at some point they are pulled over they can be arrested for this warrant. If they were dropped or separated, the service would have created a DD214 and then they would have mailed this to the address on record.

If someone went AWOL and after 33 days they have turned themselves in, they then received an Article 15, how can someone find out the punishment on the Article 15?

When receiving an Article 15 the maximum punishment is reduction in rank, restriction and extra duties up to 45 days each and loss of half a month’s base pay per month for 2 months. They will also not receive pay for missing the 33 days, so they may have to pay the military back in order to get their current pay.

In many cases a solider goes AWOL in order to get out of their contract with the military or army, because either it is not the right path for them, or simply because they are in disagreement with a certain order. When AWOL soldiers make decisions without proper permission there are many legal Military consequences. Ask Experts to get answers and insight relating to AWOL help.
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