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10 U.S. Code § 845 - Art. 45. Pleas of the accused

(a) Irregular and Similar Pleas.—
If an accused after arraignment makes an irregular pleading, or after a plea of guilty sets up matter inconsistent with the plea, or if it appears that he has entered the plea of guilty improvidently or through lack of understanding of its meaning and effect, or if he fails or refuses to plead, a plea of not guilty shall be entered in the record, and the court shall proceed as though he had pleaded not guilty.
(b) Pleas of Guilty.—
A plea of guilty by the accused may not be received to any charge or specification alleging an offense for which the death penalty is mandatory. With respect to any other charge or specification to which a plea of guilty has been made by the accused and accepted by the military judge, a finding of guilty of the charge or specification may be entered immediately without vote. This finding shall constitute the finding of the court unless the plea of guilty is withdrawn prior to announcement of the sentence, in which event the proceedings shall continue as though the accused had pleaded not guilty.
(c) Harmless Error.—
A variance from the requirements of this article is harmless error if the variance does not materially prejudice the substantial rights of the accused.

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised section

Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)





May 5, 1950, ch. 169, § 1 (Art. 45), 64 Stat. 122.

In subsection (b), the word “may” is substituted for the word “shall”.

Editorial Notes

2016—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 114–328, § 5227(c)(1), inserted heading.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 114–328, § 5227(c)(2), inserted heading.

Pub. L. 114–328, § 5227(a), substituted “is mandatory” for “may be adjudged” and struck out “or by a court-martial without a military judge” after “by the military judge” and “, if permitted by regulations of the Secretary concerned,” after “charge or specification may”.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 114–328, § 5227(b), added subsec. (c).

1968—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 90–632, § 2(19)(A), substituted “after arraignment” for “arraigned before a court-martial”.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 90–632, § 2(19)(B), inserted provisions covering the making and accepting of a guilty plea to charges or specifications other than charges and specifications alleging an offense for which the death penalty may be adjudged.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 2016 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 114–328 effective on Jan. 1, 2019, as designated by the President, with implementing regulations and provisions relating to applicability to various situations, see section 5542 of Pub. L. 114–328 and Ex. Ord. No. 13825, set out as notes under section 801 of this title.

Effective Date of 1968 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 90–632 effective first day of tenth month following October 1968, see section 4 of Pub. L. 90–632, set out as a note under section 801 of this title.