ARTICLE 134- FLEEING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT
This article covers incidents where a service member has been found fleeing the scene of an accident.
Two situations are covered under this heading and their elements are as follows:
a) Fleeing the accident scene- the passenger or driver charged is charged as principal
- That at a specific time and place, the accused was driving a vehicle which was involved in a collision or accident.
- That the accused was aware of this accident or collision.
- That the accused left the accident/ collision scene without: a) helping the victim who had been hit by the vehicle; b) without revealing his identity.
- That this act of the accused was unlawful and wrongful.
- That, under these circumstances, the behavior of the accused went against the good order and discipline expected from members of the armed forces; or it brought discredit to the United States Armed Forces.
Maximum Punishment: The accused faces maximum punishment of bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and 6 months confinement if proven guilty of this charge.
b) Fleeing the accident scene- senior passenger
- That the accused was traveling as passenger in a vehicle at a specific time and place.
- That this vehicle was involved in/ caused a collision or accident.
- That the accused held a post superior to that of the vehicle's driver and that he allowed, ordered, permitted or caused the driver to leave the accident scene without: a) giving assistance to the victims injured in the accident; b) providing his name/ identity.
- That under these circumstances, the behavior/ conduct of the accused was contrary to the discipline and good order in the armed forces; or that this conduct brought discredit to the United States Armed Forces.
Maximum Punishment: The accused faces bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and 6 months confinement as maximum punishment for violating this article.
POINTS TO NOTE:
- Hit and run incidents where property other than the accused's vehicle is damaged or persons other than the accused/ his driver are injured are covered under this article.
- If the accused's vehicle has not actually hit another vehicle or a person but it has caused an accident/ collision, these incidents are also covered under this article.
- The prosecution may use circumstantial evidence to establish that the accused was fully aware of the accident/ collision. The accused's knowledge of this accident/ collision has to be proven beyond doubt.
- In incidents where the accused is the passenger in the vehicle but he is charged as the principal in the case, it has to be established that he is a superior commissioned officer, superior non- commissioned officer of the driver/ commander of the vehicle which was involved in/ caused the accident. Refer to the Manual for Courts Martial for further information on this article.