Navy Self-Reporting of Arrest or Civilian Prosecution

     The United States v. Castillo case has now been decided by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.  FN Castillo had been convicted of failing to disclose a DUI.  The appeals court affirmed Castillo's conviction and upheld the legality of the Navy self-reporting regulation.  The court did point out that there were some remaining issues with the regulation, but that they won't decide them yet.

     If you have been convicted in civilian court or arrested by civilian police, you should talk to an experienced military defense lawyer about the consequences for your military career.

  Recently a command master chief was punished at Article 15, UCMJ, for failing to report he had been arrested for driving while intoxicated.

The Navy SORM OPNAVINST 3120.32D requires that a member immediately report to their command a civilian arrest or the initiation of civilian criminal charges.  The requirement is there so that the Navy can, "monitor and maintain the personnel readiness, welfare, safety, and deployability of the force."

Section 5.1.6 of the SORM lays out the details.  See also NAVADMIN 373/11.

    If you have questions and concerns it is advisable to talk with an experienced military defense lawyer to help understand the requirement, and to ensure you protect your legal interests.

     There are several limitations on what the command can do with the disclosure you make.

  • The disclosure is not an admission of guilt to the underlying charges, and cannot by itself be used to take adverse actions.
  • If the command wants more information from you they must first advise you of your right to silence under Article 31, UCMJ, and you must knowingly and intelligently waive the right to silence.  This is where your military defense lawyer can best help you negotiate the legal shoals.