Service members receive dishonorable discharges after general court-martials, in which they are found guilty of crimes the military considers most serious, notes The Law Dictionary. Being absent without leave, sedition, sexual assault, manslaughter and murder are some of the crimes that might result in court-martials and dishonorable discharges.
The military initiates general court-martials in cases where they accuse service members of major crimes or violations, states The Law Dictionary. Members of the military can receive dishonorable discharges if the military court finds them guilty of leaving their posts intentionally or of not returning to their posts. Military courts may find service members guilty of sedition if they are involved in plots to overthrow the government or have encouraged others to disobey orders.
Members of the military may receive dishonorable discharges if they are found guilty of sexual assaults such as rape or other crimes wherein the serviceman forced sex on another person, according to The Law Dictionary. Service members who act in a manner that results in the death of another, either through their actions or inactions, may be found guilty of manslaughter, while those who intentionally cause the death of others may be charged with murder, court-martialed and dishonorably discharged. Servicemen/women who receive dishonorable discharges may also face criminal charges, incur jail time or fines, and be ineligible for military benefits.