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Article 134 - Disorderly Conduct, Drunkenness

An enlisted member or officer who exhibits disorderly conduct, drunkenness or the influence of alcohol, or both while on active duty at an alleged place like an army camp, station, base, an aircraft or a ship, at an alleged time is in violation of the Article 134 and shall be punished as considered appropriate by the military court. The elements of the crime that should be proved to declare the accused person as guilty are as follows.

Elements covered under Article 134 for drunkenness, disorderly conduct

  • The accused person was drunk, disorderly or both at the alleged time and place, including on board a ship
  • Under the stated circumstances, the accused had exhibited behavior and acted in such a manner that disturbs the discipline or the good order of the armed forces and brings disrepute to the service.

Explanation of the offense

The accused is said to be exhibiting disorderly conduct if his or her actions and behavior is of such nature that it disturbs the peace and tranquility of persons who are witnesses to it and have been disturbed or prone to resentment as a result of such conduct by the accused. Any action or behavior which outrages public decency and endangers public morals or any disturbance that is violent or contentious in nature shall be considered as disorderly conduct.

The term "drunk" refers to a level of intoxication by alcohol that is enough to prevent or impair the rational and full use of a person's physical and mental faculties. This means that conduct of the accused person creates an impression in the minds of the witnesses that the accused was unable to act like a normal, rational person solely due to the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants and that such impairment of physical or mental faculties did not otherwise exist in the person.

For the accused to be convicted of the charges, including that his or her conduct was of such nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, all the elements should be proved beyond any reasonable doubt. The accused shall still be convicted of disorderly conduct and/or drunkenness in case all the elements of the crime, except the element that the conduct of the accused has brought upon discredit to the service, are proven and if the court is convinced that the conduct of the accused was to disturb the discipline and the good order of the armed forces.

Maximum punishment

When all the elements of the offense under the Article 134, including that the conduct of the accused has harmed the reputation of the armed forces, are proved beyond reasonable doubt, then the accused shall be convicted of all the charges as specified, including that the offense is service discrediting, and shall be subject to maximum punishment as deemed fit by the court.

If proved guilty of disorderly conduct, and that the offense was service discrediting, the accused shall be subject to a maximum punishment of 4 months confinement. Otherwise, the maximum punishment shall be confinement of no more than one month.

The maximum punishment for drunkenness aboard a ship or under similar circumstances that bring disrepute to the armed forces shall be confinement for no more than 3 months. In other cases of drunkenness, the confinement is restricted to a maximum of one month.

When the accused person is convicted of both disorderly conduct and drunkenness on board ship, or under circumstances that bring disrepute to the armed forces, he or she shall be subject to a maximum punishment of no more than 6 moths of confinement. In other cases, the maximum punishment is confinement for no more than 3 months. However, generally, crimes of this nature are generally dealt with some sort of reprimand or some other non-judicial action such as punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ.

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