UCMJ Article 129
Burglary; Unlawful Entry
The MCM states any service member may be subject to prosecution for burglary if they with intent to commit an offense under this chapter, breaks and enters the building or structure of another. A service member may be subject to prosecution for unlawful entry if they unlawfully enter the real property of another or the personal property of another which amounts to a structure usually used for habitation or storage.
In order to be prosecuted for burglary, the prosecution must demonstrate that:
- the accused unlawfully broke and entered the building or structure of another; and
- the breaking and entering were done with the intent to commit an offense punishable under the UCMJ.
** The specification that the breaking and entering were with the intent to commit an offense punishable under Article 118-120, 120b-121, 122, 125-128a, and 130 may be added, if applicable.
In order to be convicted of unlawful entry, it must be proven that:
- the accused entered the real property of another; or certain personal property of another which amounts to a structure usually used for habitation or storage; and
- the entry was unlawful.
Understanding Article 129 (Burglary; Unlawful Entry) of the UCMJ
Article 129 combines and consolidates the crimes of burglary, housebreaking, and unlawful entry. Burglary does not require that the accused break and enter in the nighttime or that the structure entered constitute the dwelling house of another to commit the offense. The offense of burglary requires the accused to have committed the offense with intent to commit a punishable offense. The intended offense may be charged separately. Whether or not the intended offense is committed, attempted or impossible to complete is irrelevant.
To constitute breaking, there must be a breaking, actual or constructive. Merely entering through a hole left in the wall or roof or through an open window or door will not constitute a breaking; but if a person moves any obstruction to entry of the house without which movement the person could not have entered, the person has committed a breaking. Opening a closed door or window or other similar fixture, opening wider a door or window already partly open but insufficient for the entry, or cutting out the glass of a window or the netting of a screen is a sufficient breaking. The breaking of an inner door by one who has entered the house without breaking, or by a person lawfully within the house who has no authority to enter the particular room, is a sufficient breaking, but unless such a breaking is followed by an entry into the particular room with the requisite intent, burglary is not committed. There is a constructive breaking when the entry is gained by a trick, such as concealing oneself in a box; under false pretense, such as impersonating a gas or telephone inspector; by intimidating the occupants through violence or threats into opening the door; through collusion with a confederate, an occupant of the house; or by descending a chimney, even if only a partial descent is made and no room is entered.
An entry must be effected before the offense is complete, but the entry of any part of the body, even a finger, is sufficient. Insertion into the house of a tool or other instrument is also a sufficient entry, unless the insertion is solely to facilitate the breaking or entry. An entry is unlawful if made without consent of any person authorized to consent to entry or without other lawful authority. Neither specific intent to commit an offense, nor breaking is required for it to be considered an offense. An entry is unlawful if made without the consent of any person authorized to consent to entry or without other lawful authority.
Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 129
Service members convicted of burglary, with the intent to commit an offense punishable under Article 118-120, 120b-121, 122, 125-128a, or 130, faces a maximum possible punishment of a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 10 years.
A conviction of burglary, with intent to commit any other offense punishable under the UCMJ, carries a maximum possible punishment of a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.
An unlawful entry conviction carries a maximum possible punishment of a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months.
How do you defend against Article 129 Burglary; Unlawful Entry 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 129 charges for Burglary; Unlawful Entry, 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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