UCMJ Article 128

UCMJ Article 128


Military crimes that involve attempts or the completed act of bringing unlawful violence upon another person are charged as assault under Article 128 of the UCMJ. A military member facing an allegation of assault will face a range of potential punishments that vary based on several factors, including the use of a weapon, the status or age of the individual assaulted, and the extent of the injury suffered by a victim.

Like all allegations of serious misconduct in the military these offenses put the principles of due process and justice to test. Despite the right to be presumed innocent, military members facing these charges are far too often pushed to the sideline and viewed as dangerous by their family and fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines.


Maximum Possible Punishments for violations of Article 128: Assault

The maximum punishment according to Article 120c varies according to the specific offense. For example:

Simple Assault – Forfeiture of two-thirds pay for 3 months and confinement for 3 months.

Assault Consummated by a Battery and Aggravated Assault – These charges range in severity with maximum sentence for any assault charge involving the use of a loaded firearm or the assault of a child under the age of 16. In those case the maximum punishment includes forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for 8 or 10 years, and a dismissal or dishonorable discharge.


Understanding Article 128 of the UCMJ

There are generally 4 crimes outlined in Article 128. Each offense has a unique set of elements.

  1. Simple assault
    • That the accused attempted or offered to do bodily harm to a certain person; and
    • That the attempt or offer was done with unlawful force or violence.
  2. Assault consummated by a battery
    • That the accused did bodily harm to a certain person; and
    • That the bodily harm was done with unlawful force or violence.
  3. Assaults involving increased punishment based on the status or age of the victim
    • Assault upon a commissioned, warrant, noncommissioned, or petty officer.
    • An assault upon a sentinel or lookout in the execution of duty, or upon a person in the execution of law enforcement duties.
    • Assault consummated by a battery upon a child under 16 years.
  4. Aggravated assault
    • Assault with a dangerous weapon or other means of force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm.
    • Assault in which grievous bodily harm is intentionally inflicted.

Summary of Article 128: The elements of offenses listed under Article 128 define the gravity of the assault committed. Regardless of the allegation, the government must prove that an accused attempted to or actually committed bodily harm to another through the illegal use of force.



If you were acting in self-defense of yourself or in defense of another, that may be a full defense to charges under Article 128 of the UCMJ.


How do you defend against Article 128 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 who have won these cases. This team includes the firm’s founder, Jonathan Crisp, a highly respected former Army JAG with over 23 years of experience in military law and a sought-after speaker and lecturer on military law. Donald Gordon has litigated cases before the Discharge Review Board, the Board for Correction of Military Records, and the Board for Correction of Naval Records regarding a wide variety of matters and a diverse background of clients


If you are someone you know is facing Article 120 charges you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 717-412-4676 for a free consultation.


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