Request by Military Member for Pay and Allowances During Period of Detention by Civilian Authorities

B-179866: Jul 31, 1974

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An advance decision was requested as to the legality of crediting the pay account of a Navy member with basic allowance for quarters, base pay, and standard maintenance allowance for the period from July 16, 1972 through March 20, 1973. It appeared that while on authorized emergency leave, the member was taken into custody by civil authorities and charged with possession of marijuana. He was held in jail overnight and then released on bond, the terms of which restricted his movement to the State pending disposition of the case. The claimant was tried, found quilty, and sentenced to 1-year's probation. GAO consistently has held that during periods of detention by civil authorities a member is entitled to pay for such part of the period of the detention as is covered by an authorized grant of leave, but a member not on authorized leave whose misconduct has caused him to be in the hands of civil authorities and, thus unable to fulfill his obligation of duty, must be regarded as absent without leave and his pay for such period of unauthorized absence is forfeited. In the present case, the member was not present at his permanent duty station during the period in question, nor was he assigned to temporary duty at the recruiting station in the area where he was detained. Based on the record, the member's pay account may not be credited with pay and allowances for any portion of the period from July 16, 1972, through March 20, 1973.