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Dereliction of Duty

Dereliction of Duty is a military offense that applies to all branches of the US Military. Any service member who willfully refuses to perform or follow an order would be in dereliction of duty. Falling asleep while on duty, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or leaving a post is all forms of dereliction of duty. To learn more about dereliction of duty, many people ask the Military Experts. The Experts answer a wide range of dereliction of duty questions. Below are five of the top questions answered by the Experts.

My unit may charge me with dereliction of duty but I had someone take my place for the entire time of my duty can they charge me for that?

It is possible to be charged with dereliction of duty, but you may also be charged with additional charges. You may be in violation of orders due to the fact that you had someone stand in for you when typically you would require permission to do this. However, if there was a medical reason for someone taking your place, you could use this as a defense. The main issue that your commander looks at is what steps you took, or didn’t take to prepare for duty, and did you let someone know that you were having issues.

If a person is charged with negligent discharge, and was not read their rights, can they refuse an Article 15 and demand a court hearing?

The fact that you were not read your rights will not prevent a prosecution. A negligent discharge is a common cause for an Art 15. Under Art 92, UCMJ, it’s a dereliction of duty if you have a duty and do not comply with it. Here are the elements:

(3) Dereliction in the performance of duties.
(a) That the accused had certain duties;
(b) That the accused knew or reasonably should have known of the duties; and
(c) That the accused was (willfully) (through neglect or culpable inefficiency) derelict in the performance of those duties.

A negligent discharge case usually results from an act of negligence, which you can be prosecuted and convicted, usually with little effort on the prosecutor’s part. You may want to consider taking the ARTICLE 15 and ask for leniency. It probably wouldn’t do any good to refuse the ARTICLE 15 and demand a court hearing due to the severity of the charge. If it was your duty to not send a round into a clearing chamber or downrange, and you knew or should have know this duty, and still sent the round, more than likely, you would be found guilty of dereliction of duty.

What can happen if a service member shows up for duty under the influence of alcohol? The officer has five years perfect service record and commanding officer is supporting the officer.

You could possibly be charged with dereliction of duty for showing up for duty under the influence of alcohol. The fact that your commanding officers are willing to support you in this situation is good. It may be possible that with the support of your department heads and a perfect service record of five years, this matter can be resolved at Executive Officer Inquiry (XOI). If you can manage to have this matter reviewed at XOI, you would fare better because they cannot take your rank and the issue would not remain on your record.

After court martial for dereliction of duty and 21 days of confinement, and receiving a general discharge under honorable conditions, will these charges show up on a person’s civilian record?

Usually, this will depend upon how an employer would view the conviction. Because you were not convicted of a felony, you could honestly say that you were never convicted of a felony. However, if an applications question is “have you ever been convicted of a crime”, you would need to answer yes; due to a court martial conviction is a criminal conviction. Generally, an employer will not be concerned with a dereliction of duty. This is strictly a military offense and is similar to a misdemeanor.

Can a dispatcher be charged with dereliction of duty for signing a truck out to a driver who was not qualified?

This could potentially fall under Art 92, UCMJ, and dereliction of duty. Under this article, if you have a duty to do or refrain from doing some particular action and fail to meet this duty, you can be prosecuted (or taken to Art 15, or counseled). This will actually depend on your duties as a dispatcher. If your job requires that you send two qualified drivers and you only sent one qualified driver and one driver who were not qualified, you could be charged with dereliction of duty.

Dereliction of duty can be a serious offense. There are many questions raised when someone is charged with dereliction of duty. If you find yourself in a situation that requires legal insight, you don’t want to take the advice of your friends and family. You can ask the Military Experts for solutions to your individual situation. The Experts can answer any question that you may have regarding dereliction of duty in an efficient and knowledgeable manner.
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