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Article 134- False or Unauthorized Pass Offenses

Article 134 - the general article, makes no mention of false or unauthorized pass offenses, or for any other offense for that matter. All the offenses are listed in the succeeding passages. Paragraph 77 concerns an unauthorized or false pass.

The text of statute of Article 134 (general article) says that any neglect or disorder which is against the discipline or good order expected of armed force personnel or any conduct which can bring discredit to the armed forces can be punished by a court martial.

Making a false or unauthorized pass is not the sort of behavior that is expected from a member of the armed forces and anyone found guilty of this offense, will have to pay the price.

The elements of false or unauthorized pass offenses

The elements of this offense consist of three parts.

  • The accused falsely and wrongfully made, counterfeited, tampered and/or altered a certain official or military pass, discharge certificate, identification card or permit.
  • The accused wrongfully gave, sold, disposed or loaned a certain official or military pass, discharge certificate, identification card or permit which was unauthorized or false and the accused knew that it was unauthorized and false.
  • The accused was in wrongful possession or made wrongful use of an authorized or false official or military pass, discharge certificate, identification card or permit and the accused knew that the document was unauthorized or false.

In these circumstances, the accused's conduct was against the discipline or good order expected from members of the armed forces or the nature of the act brought discredit to the armed forces.

If the accused intended to deceive or defraud, the next statement can be added to the elements.

'The accused possessed or used the false or unauthorized pass, discharge certificate, identification card or permit with the intention to deceive or defraud.'

Explanation for some points

An official or military pass, discharge certificate, identification card or permit includes, apart from the usual form of these documents, others that are issued by governmental agencies for identification and their copies.

'Intend to deceive' as defined under Article 123a (making, drawing or uttering check, draft, or order without sufficient funds) means an intention to cheat, mislead or trick another person to gain an advantage for himself or another person, or to put the other person to whom the accused made the representation or the interests of that person, at a disadvantage.

'Intend to defraud' means an intention to obtain, by a misrepresentation, a thing or an article of value and use or benefits from it himself or use it for the benefit of another person, either on a permanent or temporary basis.

A scenario of a false or unauthorized pass offense

An enlisted member has been invited to a party outside his base. Unfortunately, the party is being held at a time when he is not supposed to be outside the base. The enlisted member wants to go to the party at any cost. So he convinces one of this friends inside the base office to procure a blank pass for him and he later forges his commanding officer's signature on the pass. He gives this 'pass' to the military police at the gate and goes out. This is a very crude example, but it explains the false or unauthorized pass offense.

Maximum punishment for this offense

If a personnel of the armed forces is found guilty of using or possessing, with the intend to deceive or defraud or making, counterfeiting, tampering with, altering or selling an official or military document, he can be handed a maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of allowances and pay and 3 years of confinement.

In all other cases, he can be punished with a bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of allowances and pay and 6 months of confinement.

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