Article 128 | Military Assault Charges
Assault Charges in the Military
Assault Charges as defined Under Article 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), inform us that assault is a serious offense that may be punishable by Court Martial. A servicemember convicted of assault by Court Martial may face a minimum of 3-months of confinement and forfeiture of 2/3 of pay for 3-months contingent on the circumstances of the assault, whether a weapon was used, and whether the victim was a fellow servicemember. In more serious assault cases, maximum penalties may include confinement for up to 10-years and a dishonorable discharge.
Difference Between Assault & Battery Charges
- Assault: Typically defined as an attempt, or even the threat, to cause harm to someone.
- Battery: Defined as the actual physical violence committed on someone.
Consequently, a military charge of Assault and Battery is the commonly used term when someone both assaults and causes them harm to a person. An “assault and battery” charge in the armed forces can carry serious, career-altering consequences, sometimes resulting in an Article 32 Investigation which might then lead to a General Courts Martial.
Facing Assault Charges
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Assault Charges: The Victim need not be actually Harmed
The law is clear that it matters not if an attempted assault is successful, or if the threat of harm or violence is actually carried out: an individual may still face assault charges. (A simple law school example is the where one shoots to kill another but misses. – Should assault charges be dismissed?) Assault with a dangerous weapon or with the intent of causing death or serious bodily harm may constitute a more serious offense of aggravated assault, resulting in enhanced penalties.
Military Assault Charges – Coupled with Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence happens so much in the military that the Department of Defense (DOD) has made Domestic Violence an item of specific concern. First Sergeants and Military Police, like their civilian counterparts, despise calls to domestic violence scenes because the “victim” is often unclear, there are mostly no clear-cut solutions and when there does appear to be a “victim,” more often than not, both parties will refuse to file a complaint, statement, or even cooperate for a variety of reasons, it really was “no big deal,” and sometimes not wanting to harm their or their spouse’s military career.