You might pretend to be sick to skip school or feign an injury to avoid soccer practice, but malingering in the military is a major crime. Malingering is described in Article 115 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) as the following: “Any person . . . who for the purpose of avoiding work, duty, or service (1) feigns illness, physical disablement, mental lapse, or derangement; or (2) intentionally inflicts a self-injury.” To learn more about the elements that constitute this crime and the potential consequences, please scroll down.
Malingering in the Military
To demonstrate that the accused is guilty of the crime of malingering, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Assignment: The accused must have been assigned (or aware that they may be assigned) to the work, duty, or service in question.
- Action: The accused must have pretended to have an injury to be guilty of malingering. Alternatively, he or she could have intentionally inflicted an injury upon himself or herself. Injuries include illnesses, physical disablement, mental lapses, or derangement.
- Purpose: The accused's intention was to avoid the work, duty, or service. They feigned injury or intentionally inflicted an injury for this purpose, whether to avoid all of the duty or only a particular job.
Additionally, if the offense was committed in a time of war or in a hostile fire pay zone, this element must be proven during the court-martial.
The maximum punishment for malingering in the military varies based on whether the injury was feigned or intentionally self-inflicted and if the offense occurred in a time of war or hostile fire pay zone. In this context, “feign” means to pretend, misrepresent, or make false statements. The following are the maximum possible punishments for malingering:
- Maximum punishment for feigned injury: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year.
- Maximum punishment for feigned injury in a hostile war zone or time of war: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 3 years.
- Maximum punishment for intentionally self-inflicted injury: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.
- Maximum punishment for intentionally self-inflicted injury in a hostile war zone or time of war: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 10 years.
Malingering is very hazardous in the military, where a single person's absence can place others in danger. Consequently, the punishment can be quite harsh, especially if you self-inflect in an injury in a time of war.
If you or someone you know is preparing for a court-martial (for malingering or another crime), contact the top-quality lawyers at Newsom & Gapasin. Whether you're under investigation, facing a court-martial, or seeking an appeal, our experienced and aggressive law firm would be happy to help. We focus on winning tough cases, some of which have been reported on by national media outlets like CNN, Fox News, Time, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. For more information, please give us a call at 1-(888) 919-8265 , send an e-mail to [email protected], or click here to contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!