Essay Preview: Unauthorized Absence
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This article is designed to cover every case not elsewhere provided for in which any member of the armed forces is through the memberÐ²Ð‚™s own fault not at the place where the member is required to be at a prescribed time. It is not necessary that the person be absent entirely from military jurisdiction and control. The first part of this articleÐ²Ð‚”relating to the appointed place of dutyÐ²Ð‚”applies whether the place is appointed as a rendezvous for several or for one only.
The offenses of failure to go to and going from appointed place of duty require proof that the accused actually knew of the appointed time and place of duty. The offense of absence from unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid maneuvers or field exercises requires proof that the accused actually knew that the absence would occur during a part of a period of maneuvers or field exercises. Actual knowledge may be proved by circumstantial evidence.
The status of absence without leave is not changed by an inability to return through sickness, lack of transportation facilities, or other disabilities. But the fact that all or part of a period of unauthorized absence was in a sense en-forced or involuntary is a factor in extenuation and should be given punishment for the offense. When, however, a person on authorized leave, without fault, is unable to return at the expiration , that person is not absent without leave.
There are variations of unauthorized absence under Article 86, which are more serious because of circumstances such as duration of the absence, a special type of duty from which the accused absents himself or herself, and a particular specific intent which accompanies the absence. These circumstances are not essential elements of a violation of Article 86. They simply constitute special matters. The following are unauthorized absences:
(a) Unauthorized absence for more than 3 days (duration).
(b) Unauthorized absence for more than 30 days (duration).
(c) Unauthorized absence from a guard, watch, or duty (special type of duty).
(d) Unauthorized absence from guard, watch, or duty section with the intent to abandon it (special type of duty and specific intent).
(e) Unauthorized absence with the intent to avoid maneuvers or field exercises (special type of duty and specific intent).
A member of the armed forces turned over to the civilian authorities upon request is not absent without leave while held by them under that delivery. When a member of the armed forces, being absent with leave, or absent without leave, is held, tried, and acquitted by civilian authorities, the memberÐ²Ð‚™s status as absent with leave, or absent without leave, is not thereby changed, regardless how long held. The fact that a member of the armed forces is convicted by the civilian authorities, or adjudicated to be a juvenile offender, or the case is Ð²Ð‚ÑšdivertedÐ²Ð‚Ñœ out of the regular criminal process for a probationary period does not excuse any unauthorized absence, because the memberÐ²Ð‚™s inability to return was the result of willful misconduct. If a member is released by the civilian authorities with-out trial, and was on authorized leave at the time of arrest or detention, the member may be found guilty of unauthorized absence only if it is proved that the member actually committed the offense for which detained, thus establishing that the absence was the result of the memberÐ²Ð‚™s own misconduct.
A person undergoing transfer between activities is ordinarily considered to be attached to the activity to which ordered to report. A person on temporary additional duty continues as a member of the regularly assigned unit and if the person is absent from the temporary duty assignment, the person becomes absent without leave from both units, and may be charged with being absent without leave from either unit.
Duration. Unauthorized absence under Article 86 is an instantaneous offense. It is complete at the instant an accused absents himself or herself without authority. Duration of the absence is a matter for the purpose of increasing the maximum punishment authorized for the offense. Even if the duration of the absence is not over 3 days, it is ordinarily alleged in an Article 86 specification. If the duration is not alleged or if alleged but not proved, an accused can be convicted of and punished for only 1 day of unauthorized