Domestic violence is a problem that plagues the entire United States, including its military. While domestic violence has been an issue in the military for a long while, laws did not use to reflect this.
However, in 2018 the military updated the Uniform Code of Military Justice to classify domestic violence as its own crime. According to the US Navy, domestic violence used to be charged under a variety of different statutes, but now court martial has homogenized the charges.
What does the law specifically say?
The new law that governs domestic violence in the military is Article 128B. It specifically states that any individual who has committed an act of violence against an intimate partner, spouse, or immediate family member with the intent to commit a violent offense has committed domestic assault.
This law covers all family members of military personnel. It also does not stop at physical abuse; rather, it addresses any instance where a service member engages in intimidating behavior. Essentially, this means that the law covers emotional and psychological abuse as well.
What can happen if I am charged with this new law?
If you receive a domestic violence conviction while an active service member in the military, then the court-martial will decide the punishment. There are a variety of different penalties for violating this law. They could potentially involve confinement, a reduction of rank, forfeiting pay, a restraining order, or potentially a dishonorable discharge.
In addition to military laws, service members who commit domestic violence may face prosecution under federal and state laws. There may be additional penalties if this is the case.