Seek Help from Our Skilled Military Defense Attorneys

When you enter into the military, you agree to adhere to a number of different laws and regulations, including those regulating how active duty personnel may take leave.

Any military personnel who is thought to have deserted their unit, with or without communication, may be charged with AWOL or desertion. The punishments for these offenses are harsh and go beyond affecting life in the military - they can also affect your civilian life.

If you were accused of either of these offenses, you should seek help from a military criminal defense lawyer right away. Contact our office now at (757) 401-6365.

Understanding Article 85 of the UCMJ

Under Article 85 of the UCMJ, it is illegal for any service member to desert their unit or remain absent with the intention of staying away permanently.

It is also considered a breach of Article 85 to leave your unit with the intention of avoiding certain services or duty. Desertion can be charged in a number of different cases and in several ways.


  • Desertion with the intent to permanently remain away
  • Desertion with the intent to avoid hazardous duty
  • Attempted desertion
  • Desertion before a notice of acceptance of resignation

Aggressive Defense for AWOL & Desertion Charges

The government's task after accusing an individual of desertion or AWOL isn't to figure out the reason behind the absence but to prove that the accused intended to remain away.

For example, if we can prove that you left suddenly to receive important medical treatment but planned to return as soon as possible, this may be a workable defense. Other defenses may include duress, former jeopardy, and mistake of fact. The length of the absence is one of a few factors that may be considered during a trial.

Regardless of the circumstances, if you've been accused of unauthorized absence, Daniel Conway & Associates can help. We recommend that you address the situation as quickly as possible, especially if you can do so before you are arrested.

To learn how our military AWOL and desertion defense lawyers can help, contact us at (757) 401-6365 for a free consultation.

Why Hire Daniel Conway & Associates?

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  • Daniel  Conway Photo
    Daniel Conway Partner

    For the better part of the last decade, Mr. Conway has become a nationally recognized resource on military justice. Daniel Conway is a former Marine staff sergeant and captain. He is a proud graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and University of New Hampshire School of Law. Mr. Conway is recently a former President of the New Hampshire Bar Association Military Law Section and a current member of the DC Bar. Mr. Conway has also written a book on Military Crimes and Defenses that is near publication with a major ...

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    Gary Myers Partner

    Gary Myers is a former JAG officer and one of the most experienced civilian military defense counsel in the country. He attended the University of Delaware where he received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering in 1965. Gary Myers served as president of his freshman, sophomore and junior classes and went on in his senior year to be president of the student body. Gary Myers then attended the Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law, and graduated in 1968. Gary Myers paid his way through law school by ...

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    Brian Pristera Attorney

    A Richmond, Virginia native, Mr. Pristera graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After spending some time as a DuPont engineer, specifically working on Kevlar manufacturing and ballistics applications, Mr. Pristera attended law school at the University of New Hampshire. On July 4, 2010, Mr. Pristera was commissioned in the U.S. Army in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Mr. Pristera spent almost six years on active duty. He spent just over three of those years in criminal defense, ...

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    Joseph Galli Attorney

    Originally from Portland, Maine, Mr. Galli attended Elmira College in New York on a four-year Army ROTC Scholarship. At Elmira, he double majored in Business Administration and Public Affairs. Mr. Galli graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree and was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. Mr. Galli began his study of the law in 2009 at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. There, he focused on litigation and honed his advocacy skills as a member of the Advanced Trial ...

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