Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies. The concept is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of what the law says about reasonable doubt, there is an unwritten presumption within the ranks of the military that if you are charged with sexual assault, then you are guilty. The stakes are your life! Your military counsel works for the same military that charged you. Consider that as you choose who represents you in your potentially life altering case.

Article 134 - Restriction Breaking

Any service member who has been ordered to submit to certain restrictions and who fails to stay within the limits imposed by this order may be violating this section of the UCMJ Article 134. This article deals with incidents where the accused has been restricted as part of non- judicial punishment, as directed by a court martial or as part of administrative procedures (to carry out training, security or operations).

The elements to be proven in these trials are as follows:

  • That the accused was ordered by a specific person to remain restricted to certain limits.
  • That the person who issued such order was authorized to do so.
  • That the accused was fully aware that such restriction had been placed on him and also of the limits applying on him as a result of this restriction.
  • That at a specific time and place, the accused broke restriction by going beyond the limits imposed on him although he had not been freed from the restriction by the proper authority.
  • That given the circumstances, this conduct of the accused was against the good order and discipline expected from members of the armed forces; or this conduct was such that it would discredit the armed forces

What is the Maximum Punishment for Restriction Breaking?

For breaking restriction, the accused faces maximum punishment of 1 month confinement, forfeiture of 2/3 rd of a month's pay for 1 month.

Explanation of Terms

Under this section, the word 'restriction' refers to the moral restraint imposed on a service member by a person authorized to issue such orders. The service member may be asked to remain within specified limits within the base or his quarters or other specific limits.

Points to Note

One very critical point to note about these trials is that proof of the offense which resulted in the imposition of restriction is neither permitted nor necessary. The prosecution only has to establish that restriction has been imposed on the accused in the rightful manner. If the prosecution makes use of documentary evidence to show this, it is required for them to conceal all reference to the actual offense for which restriction was imposed.

Generally, circumstantial evidence is permissible to prove that the accused had knowledge about the restriction and its limitations.

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