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As with any other job, a military career requires a Virginia resident to show up and do their work when they are told to do so. When a civilian fails to report to work, their employer may allow them some leeway and an opportunity to explain why they failed to report for their shift. In the military, though, a service member can be significantly sanctioned if they fail to report for duty.

There are three main military offenses that can be pursued if a service member does not report. First, the service member may be reported AWOL or absent without leave. If a service member is reported AWOL, then it means most simply that they are not where they are supposed to be. A service member may be reported AWOL if they leave their post early or do not arrive at their point of duty on time.

The second failure to report offense that a service member can face is desertion. Desertion is more serious than AWOL because it denotes that the service member’s failure to report is permanent. If a service member is AWOL for thirty days, then their matter may be converted into a desertion offense; depending upon when the service member attempts to desert their responsibilities, their penalty can range from dishonorable discharge to death.

The third failure to report offense is missing movement. In this offense, the service member effectively fails to get on the aircraft, water vessel or other transportation mode that will take them to their place of duty. A service member’s punishment may vary depending upon whether their missed movement was accidental or intentional.

The three failure to report offenses discussed will be elaborated on in further articles. Readers are encouraged to speak with military law attorneys about their failure to report matters and other concerns they may have regarding their service.