A service member of the USA forces has a right to defend themselves in court. They do so by filing a sworn testimony in which they declare their statement is true and nothing but the truth. If it is found later that they lied, they can be convicted under Article 31 of the UCMJ. They might have lied to protect someone they value or because they believed no one would ever discover that they lied. Whichever the case, lying in a sworn statement is treated as a serious offense that can lead to a long jail term unless the service member hires a strong defense attorney.

Army Sworn Statements

What is an army sworn statement form?

A sworn statement form goes by other names, such as a da form 2823 or a military sworn statement. It is a legal document used by the army when swearing. Army officers who use the form are those involved in crime or other offenses related to the army. The statement protects the concerned parties.

Military Sworn Statements

How do I fill out a sworn statement army?

The DA form 2823 is widely used in the armed forces. It Is often used in court when an army member is required to state facts known to them concerning a certain case. The military sworn statement is mostly filled out before court proceedings start.

Once the army officer fills and signs the DA form 2823, they allow court proceedings to go on without their presence. By signing the form, the officer makes a declaration that they understand the consequences if the information is found to belie. Follow these steps to fill out a sworn statement form.

Read The privacy statement

The top part of DA form 2823 contains the privacy statement. This section is already filled out and declares that the officer will maintain law and order during the investigation process. The army member is also alerted that the information can be shared with the federal, state, or foreign government. It can be shared in court, with children protection authorities, or with the veterans’ department.

Fill in your personal details in the next part. It is:

  • Your name (begin with your sir/last name followed by your first and then the middle name)
  • Date
  • Your location
  • Time
  • File number
  • Fill in your social security number
  • Your status or army grade
  • Write your organization (You may write your address instead)

Write the statement. 

When writing the statement, use the first-person perspective “I.” You may want to refer to a DA 2823 example to see how the swearing statement is made. You are swearing as you and not on behalf of someone else. Write a detailed statement of all the information you have about the case.

Only provide information that you know you can repeat the same information even after several years. Unless you have more detailed information, the military sworn statement takes about ¾ of a page. After completing the statement, provide the information required below the page. It is:

  • Any form of exhibits you may have
  • Write your initials
  • Indicate which page it is out of the total pages (for example, page I of 5 pages)
  • For any additional page that you use, remember to include the heading of the DA form 2823.
  • Also, include your initials at the bottom of every page and the page number. The page number should follow the same style.

The affidavit

The military sworn statement should end with an affidavit. Traditionally, the military member was required to visit an attorney and swear an affidavit before them. However, after a section in the act has been changed, the officer’s signature is enough. The affidavit should include the following:

  • Your full name
  • A statement declaring how many pages are contained in the sworn statement form
  • Your signature
  • Name of witness
  • If it must be signed by a notary, their name should be included.

Who is authorized to administer an oath on a military sworn statement?

The federal government, through various acts, has authorized different categories of people to administer an oath on a military sworn statement. These are the authorized people.

  • All courts in the USA
  • Every judge holding an office in the USA
  • Clerks of any court in the USA
  • Any justice
  • Any notary public
  • All authorized officers who can take testimony in a court proceeding

Sworn Statement Forms

Which military officer can take an oath?

All military officers belonging to the eight uniformed services of the USA do swear an oath of office during commissioning. This oath is different from the one all members recite when they join the service.

  • The punitive article 131 of the UCMJ

Under article 31 of the UCMJ, a prosecutor must prove that an army officer signed a false DA form 2823. Article 131 provides two elements of the offense.

  • Proving false statement

The prosecutor must prove before the court that the military officer:

  • Was present during a court proceeding when they took the oath
  • That the army officer signed the sworn statement form that is as per the requirement by law.
  • That the military sworn statement was signed before someone authorized to administer oaths
  • That the military officer didn’t give sign the DA form 2823 under duress, but they did so willfully.
  • That the sworn statement was material
  • That the sworn statement was a lie
  • That the military officer had no belief whatsoever that the statement was true.

The military officer must read a DA 2823 example before they write their statement about what they know about the case. If there are any details in the DA 2823 example that they don’t understand, they should confirm from someone who understands the law, such as an attorney.

If they are accused of signing a false military sworn statement, they must seek legal help to avoid spending a long time in jail. The attorney may help to investigate whether the military sworn statement was signed following the right legal protocol.

They may also investigate the nature of the sworn statement form to see if the case outcome would have been different had the officer signed a true statement. Lastly, the attorney will establish if the military officer knew whether they were telling a lie or not. By having that information, it is easier for them to prepare a strong defense for the accused military officer.