Area Defense Counsel reminds servicemembers of Article 31 rights
By Tech. Sgt. Michelle Trujillo, Buckley Area Defense Counsel office
/ Published October 28, 2009
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Active-duty military members have certain rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice when they are questioned concerning possible criminal conduct.
These rights are:
- The right to be informed of the offenses of which the servicemember is suspected.
- The right to remain silent, and say nothing at all. If the servicemember does make a statement (either orally or in writing) it can later be used against him, either in a court-martial or another proceeding.
- The right to have a military lawyer appointed to the servicemember, free of charge.
- The right to hire a civilian lawyer, at the servicemember's own expense.
- The right to consult a lawyer, and have him present during any interrogation.
- The right to stop answering questions at any time.
These Article 31 rights must be read to any servicemember before anyone (including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, security forces, commander or first sergeant) questions a servicemember about a possible offense. If a servicemember is read his rights, it is a good sign that there may be some action taken against him in the near future!
Be careful! Article 31 rights may not apply to servicemembers dealing with civilian authorities off base.
Remember, if a servicemember is read his rights, the Area Defense Counsel can help. The ADC can be contacted any time, day or night! For questions or legal advice, please contact the Buckley ADC office at 720-847-6967 during duty hours. After duty hours, contact the command post at 720-847-5613.