Service Members have rights! If you are suspected of a criminal offense in violation of the UCMJ, you must be given your Article 31 rights before anyone can interrogate or question you. Interrogation includes any formal or informal questioning on the part of a law enforcement official such as OSI, NCIS, CID or CGIS. Typically law enforcement agencies are questioning with one objective in mind; CONFESS! They want you to give a statement that is damaging against yourself. Interrogations can also occur from senior non-commissioned officers and officers in within your Command. If you are facing a Commanders Inquiry, the subject of a Command led investigation, or the subject of a law enforcement investigation, you must be given your Article 31 rights before you are questioned.
Article 31 Rights Must include the following:
General Nature of the suspected offense –
- If you don’t understand what the offense you are being questioned about it is, ask for clarification!
Your Right to Remain Silent!-
- This is always the best course of action!
- If you remain silent, your words cannot be used against you.
- If you state to the interrogator or the individual questioning you that you wish to remain silent, then the interrogation must cease!
Your Right to Consult with an Attorney–
- ALWAYS ask for your attorney…even if you don’t have one.
- Questioning must cease once you ask for your attorney.
You must understand and acknowledge your rights before waiving them in order to make a statement.
- Waiver of rights means giving them up!
- Never give up your right to remain silent!!
- Law enforcement officials and your command are expressly prohibited from making promises, making threats or tricking you into making a statement. NO ONE CAN COERCE YOU INTO MAKING A STATEMENT!
ADVISEMENT OF RIGHTS FOR MILITARY SUSPECTS
I am __________, (first sergeant of the) _________, _________ (military installation). I am investigating the alleged offense(s) of ___________, of which you are suspected. Before proceeding with this investigation, I want to advise you of your rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. You have the right to remain silent, that is, to say nothing at all. Any statement you do make, either oral or written, may be used against you in a trial by court-martial or in other judicial, nonjudicial or administrative proceedings. You have the right to consult with a lawyer prior to any questioning and to have a lawyer present during this interview. You have the right to military counsel free of charge. In addition to military counsel, you are entitled to civilian counsel of your own choosing at your own expense. You may request a lawyer at any time during this interview. Have you previously requested counsel after advisement of rights?(If the answer is yes, stop. Consult your JAG Office before proceeding).
If you decide to answer questions during this interview, you may stop the questioning at any time. Do you understand your rights? Do you want a lawyer? (If the answer is yes, cease all questioning). Have you already consulted an attorney about this matter?
(If the answer is yes, stop questioning). Are you willing to answer questions? Do you understand that your are free to end this interview at any time?