United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Mar 25, 2023
Art. 53a. Plea agreements
At any time before the announcement of findings under section 853 of this title (article 53), the convening authority and the accused may enter into a plea agreement with respect to such matters as—
the manner in which the convening authority will dispose of one or more charges and specifications; and
limitations on the sentence that may be adjudged for one or more charges and specifications.
The military judge of a general or special court-martial may not participate in discussions between the parties concerning prospective terms and conditions of a plea agreement.
The military judge of a general or special court-martial shall reject a plea agreement that—
contains a provision that has not been accepted by both parties;
contains a provision that is not understood by the accused;
except as provided in subsection (c), contains a provision for a sentence that is less than the mandatory minimum sentence applicable to an offense referred to in section 856(b)(2) of this title (article 56(b)(2));
is prohibited by law; or
is contrary to, or is inconsistent with, a regulation prescribed by the President with respect to terms, conditions, or other aspects of plea agreements.
With respect to an offense referred to in section 856(b)(2) of this title (article 56(b)(2))—
the military judge may accept a plea agreement that provides for a sentence of bad conduct discharge; and
upon recommendation of the trial counsel, in exchange for substantial assistance by the accused in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense, the military judge may accept a plea agreement that provides for a sentence that is less than the mandatory minimum sentence for the offense charged.
Upon acceptance by the military judge of a general or special court-martial, a plea agreement shall bind the parties and the court-martial.
(Added Pub. L. 114–328, div. E, title LVII, § 5237,
Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2917; amended Pub. L. 115–91, div. A, title V, § 531(d), title X, § 1081(c)(1)(H), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1384, 1598; Pub. L. 117–81, div. A, title V, §§ 539, 539E(b), Dec. 27, 2021, 135 Stat. 1698, 1701.)
cite as: 10 USC 853a