U.S. Military Lawyer - The Law Office of Stephen P. Karns

Fraternization

Each branch of the military prohibits personal and business relationships between officers and enlisted members. Personal relationships are defined as those which include dating, cohabitation, and any form sexual relationship. Business relationships are defined as those which include loaning and borrowing money and other business partnerships.

If you have been accused or charged with having an “inappropriate relationship,” the representation of an experienced military attorney such as Mr. Karns is strongly recommended. Not all contact or association between officers and enlisted persons is an offense. Whether the contact or association in question is an offense depends on the particular circumstances. As an experienced military attorney, Mr. Karns can help you defend yourself against the charges by developing evidence and witnesses for your side of the case, as well as discrediting the evidence and witnesses being used against you. Because these cases are often heavily dependent on circumstantial evidence and witness statements, the expertise of an experienced military attorney such as Mr. Karns is indispensable to defending yourself from the accusations.

Other factors to be proven in a case against you include whether the conduct has compromised the chain of command, resulted in the appearance of partiality, or otherwise undermined good order, discipline, authority, or morale. The key to this analysis is whether or not the good order and discipline of the armed forces has been prejudiced by the acts of the parties. Mr. Karns has the experience to know how difficult this can be for the government to prove. It is imperative to have an experienced military attorney such as Mr. Karns examine the government’s evidence against you, including the statements of its witnesses. In many of these cases, the government has relied upon witnesses who may have personal biases against you, or whose credibility is otherwise tainted. Mr. Karns can employ this evidence for your side of the case in an attempt to resolve it in manner most favorable to you.

The UCMJ only makes fraternization a crime for commissioned and warrant officers, so enlisted members can not be charged with this crime. However, in addition to the UCMJ, service regulations may govern conduct between officer and enlisted personnel, enlisted persons of different ranks, or between officers of different ranks. Mr. Karns can help you in these types of cases as well.