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Are soldiers allowed to participate in physical conflict with a civilian? Are the punishments different for the soldier ?

North Little Rock, AR |

If a soldier initiates the fight and punches the civilian. Will the soldier receive the same punishment as though he were just an ordinary civilian fighting another or are the punishments different because he is military personnel

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Nobody can predict what the punishment will be for either of these individuals.

    This post is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney client relationship with Mr. Cassara.


  2. Generally speaking, a person should be treated equally under the law regardless of status.


  3. No. A Soldier does NOT get a free pass to assault.

    Yes, punishments can be more severe fir the Soldier. BOTH the military AND the civilians can charge and punish the suspect of the same crime.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.


  4. If you're asking if a military member is permitted to just go out and assault an adult civilian - of course not. If that does happen, there's no "going rate" for either scenario - every case is different and unique. If a soldier assaults an adult civilian, who will take jurisdiction of the case - will it be the civilian system or the military justice system? If it's the military justice system, there is no increase or decrease in authorized punishments simply due to the alleged victim being an adult civilian vs adult military. There are different authorized punishments in scenarios in which the alleged victim is a child or is a military member of certain rank or position, but that is not applicable to what you're asking. The civilian and military systems are independent, and each have their own laws and authorized punishments. But, the bottom line is, there is no standing immunity that allows military members to assault adult civilians without consequences.

    My answers are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. Each case is fact specific, and you would need to speak to an attorney to provide appropriate details in order to receive advice specific to your case and unique circumstances.


  5. Whether you are a soldier or not, no one is "allowed" to assault another person. The punishment will be determined by who takes jurisdiction in bringing charges, which would be either the civilian or military police.

    I've added your question to the Criminal Law forum.

    Disclaimer: Transmission or receipt of information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

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