Article 118: Murder

A service member of the United States Armed Forces who without justification or lawful authority kills another human being is subject to criminal charges under Article 118 of the UCMJ. If you or someone you love has been accused of murder, immediately acting to defend yourself could mean the difference between a life in prison and being acquitted of all charges against you.

This is not the time to hire an inexperienced defense attorney. The actions you take now will determine whether you spend the rest of your life behind bars or walk away a free man or woman.

  • An aggressive military defense attorney will form a defense team, including multiple attorneys, a defense investigator and the proper forensic expert. A murder trial is incredibly complex and requires not just one attorney, but an experienced defense team.
  • Hiring an inexperienced attorney all but guarantees that a plea deal will be struck, often a very bad one. This plea deal may look good on paper compared to the alternative, but the only people it’s likely benefiting are your defense attorney and the prosecutors.
  • Even if the crime was committed, you may not have desired the death of that person. But without proper representation, your side of the story may never be told.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by hiring the right attorneys to defend your interests in court. Do not delay a moment longer. Call TODAY to receive a free consultation from the law offices of Bilecki & Tipon.

What Is Article 118 of the UCMJ?

Every article of the UCMJ requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a handful of critical assumptions—known as elements—to convict you of a crime. Charges of murder are broken down into four separate offenses under Article 118, each with its own set of elements which must be proven.

(1) Premeditated Murder

(a) That a certain named or described person is dead;

(b) That the death resulted from the act or omission of the accused;

(c) That the killing was unlawful; and

(d) That, at the time of the killing, the accused had a premeditated design to kill

(2) Intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm

(a) That a certain named or described person is dead;

(b) That the death resulted from the act or omission of the accused

(c) That the killing was unlawful; and

(d) That, at the time of the killing, the accused had the intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm upon a person

(3) Act inherently dangerous to another

(a) That a certain named or described person is dead;

(b) That the death resulted from the intentional act of the accused;

(c) That this act was inherently dangerous to another and showed a wanton disregard for human life;

(d) That the accused knew that death or great bodily harm was a probable consequence of the act; and

(e) That the killing was unlawful

(4) During certain offenses

(a) That a certain named or described person is dead;

(b) That the death resulted from the act or omission of the accused;

(c) That the killing was unlawful; and

(d) That, at the time of the killing, the accused was engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a separate crime.

A court gavel with guns and bulletsSummary of the Elements of Article 118: All murder offenses under Article 118 require prosecutors to prove that a particular service member unlawfully killed another individual. The distinction between offenses is related to the intent of the service member at the time the murder occurred.

The government may attempt to prove that you intentionally—and with premeditated foresight—sought to kill another human being. This is the worst form of murder and under military law, could incur the death penalty if referred capital, or could incur the mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.

Other forms of murder, such as performing an action that is inherently dangerous to others around you, or desiring to inflict great bodily harm yet killing the person anyway, may incur reduced charges.

Military Defense Attorney for Article 118 of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics

The most important advice we can offer a service member accused of murder is to not panic, do not talk to law enforcement, and contact Bilecki & Tipon immediately. The sooner you protect yourself, the stronger the defense case can become prior to your trial.

No matter how hopeless the situation feels, there are many, many ways an experienced defense team can overcome the testimony and evidence that prosecutors claim will sink you.

For instance:

  • Not all defense attorneys are helpless against the onslaught of prosecutorial DNA evidence and expert witness testimony. Bilecki & Tipon, for instance, has resources at our disposal to review blood work, investigate evidence connected to the crime scene, and hire our own expert witnesses to take the stand for us. We will form a true defense team to represent you.
  • Your motives matter a great deal, and prosecutors may find those motives much harder to pin down with a strong defense attorney by your side. Bilecki & Tipon will aggressively fight back against the prosecution’s case and take the steps required to win your case.
  • In a race to convict you, law enforcement or the prosecution may have cut corners during their investigation into your case. A single misstep by law enforcement could stop its most important piece of evidence from ever making it into court. That, in turn, could be all it takes to obtain a Not Guilty verdict in court.

No matter how helpless you feel or how hopeless the situation appears, Bilecki & Tipon can help. Call us immediately to set up a time to discuss your murder case.

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 118 Charges

We have defended service members against murder charges in the past. Now, let us help you.

Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 118: Murder

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 118: Murder?

The maximum possible punishment in your case will depend upon which criminal offense the government accuses you of. Certain charges of murder are graver than others. For example:

Premeditated murder OR Murder during a certain offense:

The maximum punishment of premeditated murder or murder during a separate offense is death, if referred capital. The mandatory minimum punishment includes a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm OR murder due to an action that is inherently dangerous to others:

Any punishment other than the death penalty may be prescribed should the service member be convicted of either offense under Article 118.

What Is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

Murder is the intentional, premeditated killing of another human being. It requires a prior intent to kill. Manslaughter is a lesser charge involving the death of another person, often by accident or with intent to harm but not kill.

What Our Clients Are Saying About Us

  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC His knowledge and experience were evident during the Article 32 where he seemed to sort of take control of the court room.
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  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Mr. Bilecki and his associates are amazingly qualified and skilled in handling UCMJ cases.
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