Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
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The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the U.S. military’s legal canon. It establishes laws that you must abide by if you are a service member in any one of the branches of the armed forces. Altogether, the UCMJ contains over 100 unique punitive offenses, each with its potential maximum sentence and some with a mandatory minimum sentence.
List Of Punitive Articles
- Article 77: Principles – Makes unlawful the aiding, abetting, or assisting in a crime, even if a soldier took no direct role.
- Article 78: Accessory After the Fact – Makes unlawful the act of providing aid or support to a known criminal or criminals.
- Article 79: Conviction of Lesser Included Offense – Defines the process, procedures, and limitations of lesser included offenses in military courts.
- Article 80: Attempts – Creates a legal distinction between successful criminal acts and attempted criminal acts.
- Article 81: Conspiracy – Makes it a crime to conspire with another to commit a criminal offense under the UCMJ.
- Article 82: Solicitation – Makes it a crime to solicit another to commit a criminal offense under the UCMJ.
- Article 82(a): Soliciting another to commit an offense – Acts by service members to request another to commit an offense, or advise another on how to commit an offense.
- Archived: Article 83: Fraudulent Enlistment, Appointment, or Separation
- Article 83: Malingering
- Article 84: Quarantine: Medical, Breaking – Acts of abandoning a medical quarantine without being discharged by an officer or medical professional.
- Article 85: Desertion – Defines culpability and punishment for soldiers who purposefully abandon their posts.
- Article 86: Absence Without Leave – Defines culpability and punishment for soldiers who fail to appear before their unit or place of duty at a designated time.
- Article 87: Missing Movement
- Article 87a: Resistance, Flight, Breach Of Arrest And Escape – Makes criminal any act of resistance or escape by a service member from post-trial custody or confinement.
- Article 87b: Correctional custody-offenses against – Acts concerning the escape or breach of correctional custody.
- Article 87(b): Jumping From Vessel Into The Water – Acts involving the jumping of a service member from a military vessel into a body of water.
- Article 87b(c): Restriction, Breaking – Actions that break a restriction placed on a service member by a commanding officer or official.
- Article 88: Contempt Toward Officials – Criminalizes contemptuous statements or comments made by a U.S. Military Officer to a government official.
- Article 89: Disrespect Toward a Superior Commissioned Officer – Authorizes punishment for service members who disrespect a superior commissioned offer.
- Article 90: Assaulting or Willfully Disobeying a Superior Commissioned Officer – Authorizes punishment for any soldier who assaults his CO or refuses to obey a direct order.
- Article 91: Insubordinate Conduct Towards Warrant Officer, Noncommissioned Officer, Or Petty Officer – Defines and prescribes punishment for insubordinate conduct toward military officers.
- Article 92: Failure To Obey Order Or Regulation – Makes criminal the act of disobeying or ignoring unit orders or general military regulations.
- Article 93: Cruelty And Maltreatment – Criminalizes acts of cruelty, oppression, and maltreatment by a superior ranking soldier to a subordinate.
- Article 94: Mutiny And Sedition – Defines acts of mutiny and sedition and prescribes wartime and peacetime punishments.
- Article 95a: Sentinel or Lookout: Offenses Against or By – Actions by service members to loiter or disrespect an on-duty sentinel or lookout.
- Article 96: Releasing Prisoner Without Proper Authority – Prescribes punishment for soldiers who suffer a prisoner to escape through design or neglect from military confinement.
- Article 97: Unlawful Detention – Criminalizes actions leading to the unlawful apprehension and arrest of another individual.
- Article 98: Noncompliance With Procedural Rules – Makes causing delays in procedural hearings—whether through intent, accident, or neglect—a criminal offense.
- Article 99: Misbehavior Before The Enemy – Defines wartime offenses related to actions of cowardice, insubordination, and reckless behavior in front of enemy forces.
- Article 100: Subordinate Compelling Surrender – Prescribes punishment for soldiers accused of compelling the surrender of property or personnel w/out CO consent.
- Article 101: Improper Use Of Countersign – Punishes service members for using unofficial countersigns or disclosing countersigns to unauthorized individuals.
- Article 102: Forcing A Safeguard – Criminalizes actions that put at risk or fail to uphold known safeguarded property or persons.
- Article 103: Captured Or Abandoned Property – Makes wrongful any attempt by a soldier to buy, sell, or trade-in captured or abandoned the property.
- Article 104: Public Record: Altering, Concealing, Removing, Mutilating, Obliterating Or Destroying – Acts involving the altering, concealing, removing, or destroying of public records.
- Article 104a: Fraudulent Enlistment, Appointment, or Separation – Criminalizes the concealment or distortion of information related to enlistments, appointments or separations.
- Article 105: Misconduct Of A Prisoner – Criminalizes improper conduct or behavior by U.S. service members in front of prisoners of war.
- Article 105a: False Or Unauthorized Pass Offense – Acts involving the unauthorized use of or tampering with a military pass or permit.
- Article 106: Impersonating a Commissioned Officer or and Agent – Authorizes military courts to punish soldiers who have gathered intelligence for or delivered intelligence to the enemy.
- Article 106a: Espionage – Makes the intentional sharing of U.S. defense secrets to foreign powers a capital offense.
- Article 106a: Wearing Unauthorized Insignia, Decoration, Badge, Ribbon, Device, Or Lapel Button – Offenses involving the unauthorized wearing of military decorations, insignia, ribbons, and another rank- or service-defining devices.
- Article 107: False Official Statement – Makes falsifying official U.S. Military or Government statements and documents a criminal act.
- Article 108: Military Property Of The U.S., Sale, Loss, Damage, Destruction, Or Wrongful Disposition – Defines criminal actions pertaining to the sale, loss, damage, and destruction of military property by a soldier.
- Article 109: Property Other Than Military Property Of The U.S. – Waste, Spoilage, Or Destruction – Defines criminal actions pertaining to the waste, spoilage, or destruction of non-military property by a soldier.
- Article 109a: Mail: Taking, Opening, Secreting, Destroying, Or Stealing – Criminal acts related to the taking, opening, destroying, or stealing of another person’s mail.
- Article 110: Improper Hazarding Of Vessel – Placing a military vessel in danger of loss or destruction through willful or negligent actions.
- Article 111: Drunken Or Reckless Operation Of Vehicle, Aircraft Or Vessel – Provides grounds for courts-martial of any soldier who recklessly or drunkenly operates a vehicle, aircraft or vessel.
- Article 112: Drunk On Duty – Criminalizes service members who are found drunk while performing U.S. military duties.
- Article 112a: Wrongful Use, Possession, Etc., Of Controlled Substances – Makes illegal the possession, use, distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances in the military.
- Article 112b: Drunkenness, Incapacitation For Performance Of Duties – Acts that lead a soldier to be unfit for military duties due to intoxication or to the aftereffects of alcohol/illegal substances.
- Article 112c: Drunk Prisoner – Acts which concern the drinking of alcoholic beverages while serving time as a prisoner.
- Article 113: Misbehavior Of Sentinel Or Lookout – Defines criminal actions by military sentinels or lookouts such as drunkenness, sleeping while on the post, or leaving before being relieved.
- Article 114: Reckless Endangerment – Acts that recklessly put at risk the lives of civilians or other service members.
- Article 114c: Firearm, Discharging Through Negligence – Acts that involve the unintentional discharging of a service member’s firearm.
- Article 114d: Weapon: Concealed, Carrying – Acts that involve the concealment of a deadly weapon without proper authorization.
- Article 115: Threat, Communicating – Communications that use threatening language to invoke fear in another person.
- Article 116: Riot Or Breach Of Peace – Allows for the conviction and sentencing of soldiers who incite riots or sow chaos within a community.
- Article 117: Provoking Speeches Or Gestures – Criminalizes words or gestures which led to altercations or a breach of the peace.
- Article 118: Murder – Makes murder of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree a capital offense in the U.S. military.
- Article 119: Manslaughter – Actions which lead to the unintentional killing of another person by a U.S. soldier is criminalized.
- Article 120: Rape And Sexual Assault Generally – Broadly defines sexual offenses such as assault, rape, and sexual abuse committed by service members.
- Article 120a Stalking – Makes illegal any verbal, written, implied threatening behavior that causes another person to fear death or bodily harm.
- Article 120b: Rape And Sexual Assault Of A Child – Authorizes punishment for soldiers who have raped or sexually assaulted a child.
- Article 120c Other Sexual Misconduct – Defines other forms of sexual misconduct, such as voyeurism and non-consensual taping and broadcasting of pornographic material.
- Article 121: Larceny And Wrongful Appropriation – Makes the theft of property or attempted theft of property illegal and subject to military courts-martial.
- Article 121b: False Pretenses, Obtaining Services Under – Acts that involve the use of false pretenses to defraud a company of its services intentionally.
- Article 122: Robbery – Crimes involving the theft of personal property, often through the threat of violence.
- Article 122a: Stolen Property: Knowingly Receiving, Buying, Concealing – Acts which involve the receiving, buying, or concealing of stolen property.
- Article 123: Forgery – Crimes related to forging documentation or signatures with the intent to defraud another.
- Article 123a: Making, Drawing, Or Uttering Check, Draft, Or Order Without Sufficient Funds – Makes criminal any action that involves making, drawing, or uttering checks without sufficient funds.
- Article 124: Maiming – Soldiers who deliberately set out to disfigure or permanently disable another person.
- Article 125: Kidnapping – Acts concerning the seizure and confinement of a person against his or her will.
- Article 126: Arson – Criminalizes the burning or setting alight of structures, dwelling places, or personal property.
- Article 126c: Burning With Intent To Defraud – Acts that involve the intentional burning of property to open fraudulent insurance claims.
- Article 127: Extortion – Defines criminal actions related to the use of leverage (secrets, threats of violence, etc.) to coerce another person into taking certain actions.
- Article 128: Assault – Makes it a criminal offense to bring violence upon another person, especially through the use of a weapon
- Article 129: Burglary – Offenses related to the forcible entry into private property with the intent to commit a crime.
- Article 129b: Unlawful Entry – Acts of entering private property without that person’s consent, but without the intention to commit another offense.
- Article 130: Housebreaking – Penalty for breaking into private property without the consent of the owner.
- Article 131: Perjury – The offense of perjury and falsifying sworn statements.
- Article 131a: Perjury, Subornation Of – Acts in which a service member attempts to persuade another person to commit perjury.
- Article 131b: Obstructing Justice – Actions which impede, delay, or obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation.
- Article 131c: Misprision Of A Serious Offense – The action of deliberately concealing a criminal offense from law enforcement officials.
- Article 131d: Testify: Wrongful Refusal – Acts that involve the refusal to testify despite having knowledge of an offense.
- Article 131e: Seizure; Destruction, Removal, Or Disposal Of Property To Prevent – Actions involving the destruction, secreting away, or removal of property which is the object of an authorized search and seizure.
- Article 131g: Wrongful Interference With An Adverse Administrative Proceeding – Acts which obstruct, delay, or impede another soldier’s adverse administrative hearing.
- Article 132: Frauds Against The United States – Defrauding the U.S. of property by means of making false claims and falsified documents.
- Article 133: Conduct Unbecoming An Officer And Gentleman – Criminalizes COs, cadets, and midshipmen who bring dishonor to their rank and titles.
- Article 134 – General – A collection of punitive offenses concerning the general order, discipline, and good conduct of U.S. service members.
- Animal Abuse – Acts involving the cruelty, abuse, and abandonment of domesticated animals.
- Adultery – Acts related to the offense of adultery (sleeping with someone who is not your spouse).
- Bigamy – Acts involving polygamous relationships and multiple marriage contracts.
- Bribery And Graft – Acts that abuse power, position, or wealth to secure the influence of another person.
- Check, Worthless, Making And Uttering – Acts concerning the making, drawing, or uttering of checks without sufficient funds.
- Child Pornography – Acts concerning the purchase, filming, and distribution of child pornography.
- Cohabitation – Acts which concern the cohabitation of a domicile by two unwed adults.
- Debt, dishonorably failing to pay – Accused of dishonoring both yourself and the United States Military by failing to make payments on a debt that you allegedly owe.
- Disloyal statements – A service member of the US military who makes a negative statement about the U.S. government to another person with the intention of spreading disaffection or resentment in the ranks is at risk of a conviction and maximum sentence.
- Disorderly conduct, drunkenness – Any service member who brings dishonor or shame to the U.S. Military by acting in a loud, offensive, or disorderly manner—whether due to drunkenness or otherwise—is subject to a conviction and maximum sentence.
- Firearm, discharging—through negligence – Military members who are accused by law enforcement of discharging a firearm through negligence, forcing you to confront the possibility of a court-martial and a conviction.
- Fraternization – An officer of the United States military who compromises the chain of command with the appearance of partiality toward an enlisted service member, or who breaks with regulations governing the interactions between officers and enlisted members, is at risk of a conviction and maximum sentence.
- Homicide, negligent – Prosecutors will claim that the accused service member caused the death of another due to a careless action or failure to act.
- Gambling with a subordinate – The accused soldier must be an NCO or petty officer gambling with an enlisted service member under his or her rank. Furthermore, the actions must have discredited or disrupted the order of the military as a whole.
- Indecent Language – Oral or written statements by service members that are deemed indecent by another.
- Indecent Conduct – Sexual or lewd acts by a service member to other service members or civilians.
- Pandering And Prostitution – Acts of trading goods or services in exchange for sex or facilitating such exchanges for monetary benefits.
- Self-Injury Without Intent To Avoid Service – Defines offenses in which a service member inflicts self-harm for reasons which do not involve avoidance of service.
- Straggling – Acts by service members to lag behind their unit and undermine formations and fighting ability.
If you are being charged under any of these Articles, do not hesitate to contact Bilecki Law Group, for a free case evaluation, and you can expand your options, and fight back for your freedom.
The Purpose of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
The purpose of the UCMJ is to ensure that order is faithfully maintained among the ranks of the United States military, to establish rules which govern the conduct of military service members in wartime and peacetime, and to initiate punishment if a soldier acts in a manner that goes against those rules.
The military requires service members to perform duties that a civilian would rarely—if ever—be requested to carry out. Military service members have unique responsibilities; failing in those responsibilities may have severe consequences. It’s for this reason that the military has a separate justice code—to ensure that service members conduct themselves in a way that would not bring dishonor or harm to the military or the country.
Many of the UCMJ article offenses do not have civilian counterparts. They are specific to the circumstances of military life and military duties. Also, they are in place to maintain order among the ranks and mete out punishment for breaking those rules.
Are Civilians Subject to the UCMJ?
Civilians have their cases go to trial in civil and criminal courts that fall under state or federal jurisdiction. They are rarely subject to the laws and sentencing under the UCMJ and are therefore rarely seen as defendants.
- The dependents of a service member who accompanies the soldier overseas may be subject to military courts (as was the case of Madsen v. Kinsella, where an Air Force lieutenant stationed at Germany was killed by his wife).
- Certain offenses (such as espionage) may fall under the military’s jurisdiction.
- A civilian contractor working in a foreign country on a military base may go to trial through the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).
- When Martial Law goes into effect.
- With those exceptions in mind, it is still quite uncommon for a civilian to go to trial in a military court, including offenses which are under both criminal and UCMJ law codes (such as murder or driving under the influence). Also, it is unusual for veteran members of the armed forces (UNLESS that veteran is receiving retirement benefits, in which case they are still under UCMJ jurisdiction).
How Many Articles Exist Under the UCMJ?
Maximum Sentence Possible
Death is the maximum possible sentence that a military court can give out. With that said, every punitive UCMJ article proposes a range of sentencing, and the death penalty is quite rare. Some articles, such as Article 118 for Murder, carry with it the possibility of the death sentence or life sentence in prison without the opportunity for parole.