UCMJ Article 120: Rape & Sexual Assault Generally

UCMJ article 120 illustrationWhat is Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice?
 
What kind of punishment will you face if you are convicted of sexual assault or rape?
 
UCMJ Article 120 broadly defines the criminal offenses of sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse committed by service members in the United States. This includes physical abuse or threatening to abuse another person with sexual contact, groping or unwanted sexual advances.
 
Sexual Assault is at the center of a dramatic shift in military culture and UCMJ law. Thousands of service members have had their military careers and liberties stolen from them by a harsh and unforgiving new climate of victim worship.
 
As this “War against Sexual Assault” continues unabated, more and more service members will see their military careers, liberties and benefits disappear before their very eyes.
 
Should you be convicted, you’ll likely face the punishment of:
  • A possible prison sentence that likely ranges from 7 years to life.
  • A dishonorable discharge and the decimation of your character and reputation, both inside and outside the military.
  • The complete loss of health care benefits, military pension, and pay.

8 Criminal Offenses Under the Article 120

Each one of the many articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a handful of critical assumptions that are known as elements to convict you of a crime.

Eight separate criminal offenses are described in Article 120, each with its own set of unique elements.

  1. Rape involving contact between penis and vulva or anus or mouth
  2. Rape involving penetration of the vulva or anus or mouth by any part of the body or any object.
  3. Sexual assault involving contact between penis and vulva or anus or mouth
  4. Sexual assault involving penetration of the vulva or anus or mouth by any part of the body or any object
  5. Aggravated sexual contact involving the touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person
  6. Aggravated sexual contact involving the touching of any body part of any person
  7. Abusive sexual contact involving the touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person
  8. Abusive sexual contact involving the touching of any body part of any person

Summary

Article 120 can be simplified into four major offenses. From most to least serious these include rapesexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, and abusive sexual contact. In the first two offenses, prosecutors will have to prove some form of penetration took place, often with the help of forensic evidence and the presence of physical damage done to the alleged victim.

A physical abuse component is also present with aggravated sexual contact, although prosecutors do not have to prove penetration took place. Finally, abusive sexual contact is more often verbal in nature and requires prosecutors to prove that a victim was made afraid by the threat of sexual contact or violence.

Strategies and Tactics Against Article 120 Charges

Article 120 has morphed in recent years to become one of the longest and most cumbersome articles of the UCMJ.

The sheer volume of criminal offenses—eight in total, each with dozens of elements—does not even include the separate Articles of 120a (stalking)120b (rape and sexual assault of a child), and 120c (other sexual misconduct), all of which deal with separate components related to sexual assault.

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Despite the relatively recent addition of such a sprawling code of legalese, our defense attorneys are more prepared than ever to handle your sexual assault case. In preparation for your trial, we’ll initiate a full review of the circumstances leading up and immediately following your alleged crimes:

  • Witness preparation: Is the case a classic “he said, she said” sexual assault trial, where the word of the alleged victim is pitted against the word of the alleged offender? We may take a number of actions, including strategically cross-examining the victim to identify holes in his or her story, securing character witnesses to protect your reputation, and locating expert medical witnesses to counter any forensic evidence that prosecutors have against you.
  • Forensic evidence: Do prosecutors have DNA evidence or any other forensic evidence which allegedly puts you at the scene of the crime? Despite what prosecutors may have told you, this evidence is not guaranteed to convict you. Far from it. By hiring our own expert DNA consultants and experts, we can attack the government’s DNA evidence head-on. In some cases, we can even have such evidence suppressed before it ever shows up in your trial.
  • Reduction of sentencing: Is this an egregious case of government overreach? This happens far more often than you’d ever realize. Attempts to turn you into a scapegoat, however, could backfire if the right defense team is retained in your trial. Bilecki & Tipon LLLC has defended its clients by securing reduced offenses, which could mean the difference between an administrative discharge and a punitive discharge, or 5 years in prison vs. 15.

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Rape and Sexual Assault Charges

A soldier smilingWe have seen dozens upon dozens of U.S. service members caught up in what can only be described as a military witch hunt of epic proportions.

Do not become another statistic in the “War against Sexual Assault.”

Fight back today with some of the most aggressive and experienced defense attorneys operating within the Pacific and the Continental U.S. today!

We will help you fight back against charges.

Frequently Asked Questions About Article 120

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for this Article?

The maximum punishment according to Article 120 varies according to the offense which was allegedly abused. For example:

Rape:

  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for life without eligibility for parole

In addition, rape includes a mandatory minimum sentence:

  • Dismissal or dishonorable discharge

Sexual Assault:

  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 30 years

In addition, sexual assault includes a mandatory minimum sentence:

  • Dismissal or dishonorable discharge

Aggravated sexual contact:

  • Dishonorable discharge
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 20 years

Abusive sexual contact:

  • Dishonorable discharge
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 7 years

When should I contact and hire a lawyer specializing in sex crimes?

Gavel with law booksAs soon as possible. The earlier you contact an experienced court-martial lawyer, the better chance you have to avoid conviction and imprisonment.   At Bilecki & Tipon LLLC, our toll-free number is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we accept calls from anywhere in the world.

We’re available to handle emergency consultations during the critical first hours of a serious criminal incident. This immediate intervention from an experienced military criminal defense attorney can have a profoundly positive impact on the case.

Related Punitive Articles under the UCMJ

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