UCMJ Article 134

UCMJ Article 126

Arson; Burning with Intent to Defraud


According to the MCM, there are three different types of arson service members may be prosecuted for:

Aggravated arson applies to any service member who, willfully and maliciously, burns or sets on fire an inhabited dwelling, or any other structure, movable or immovable, wherein, to the knowledge of that person, there is at the time a human being.  Charges of aggravated arson of an inhabited dwelling requires the accused to have willfully and maliciously burned or set on fire an inhabited dwelling.  Charges of aggravated arson of a structure requires the accused to have willfully and maliciously burned or set fire to a structure that contained a human being and the accused was aware of a human being in the structure at the time.

Simple arson applies to any service member who, willfully and maliciously, burns or sets fire to the property of another. Charges of simple arson require the accused to have willfully and maliciously burned or set fire to certain property belonging to another.  Simple arson charges must also specify if the property had a monetary value greater than $1,000.

Burning property with intent to defraud applies to any service member who, willfully, maliciously, and with intent to defraud, burns or sets fire to any property.  Charges of burning with intent to defraud require for the accused to have willfully and maliciously burned or set fire to a certain property with the intent to defraud a specific person or organization.

 

Understanding Article 126 (Arson; Burning with Intent to Defraud) of the UCMJ

In aggravated arson, danger to human life is the essential element; in simple arson, it is injury to the property of another. In either case, it is immaterial that no one is, in fact, injured. It must be shown that the accused set the fire willfully and maliciously, that is, not merely by negligence or accident. In burning with intent to defraud, it is the fraudulent intent motivating the burning of any property that is the essential element. It is immaterial to whom the property belonged; the focus is that the burning of that property was for a fraudulent purpose.

In regard to aggravated arson, an inhabited dwelling refers to a structure and any surrounding outbuildings that are used for habitation, not that there was a person inside the dwelling at the time of the offense.  A structure is any sort of shelter or edifice, public or private, movable or immovable in which a human being is at the time of the offense.

 

Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 126

A conviction for aggravated arson carries a maximum possible punishment of a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 25 years.

A conviction of simple arson where the value of the property was less than $1,000, the maximum possible punishment includes a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.  If the property was valued at more than $1,000 the maximum possible punishment increases to a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 10 years.

A conviction of burning with intent to defraud carries a maximum possible punishment of a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 10 years.

 

How do you defend against Article 126 Arson; Burning with Intent to Defraud charges?

When you are facing the combined resources of the military as well as the current cultural climate, you need to be prepared to defend your career and your freedom. Crisp and Associates, LLC has a team of experienced trial attorneys, with more than 75 years of combined experience, who have won these types of cases. This team includes the firm’s founder, Jonathan Crisp, a highly respected and sought-after attorney, speaker, and lecturer, who has served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) since 1998 and entered private practice in 2007.

 

If you, or someone you know, is facing Article 126 charges for Arson; Burning with Intent to Defraud, you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. We understand what is at risk, and we know how to protect your career, your freedom, and your future. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 888-258-1653 for a free consultation.

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