The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the military’s legal doctrine. It applies to all active duty and retired United States military service members, regardless of location. The UCMJ contains over 100 punitive articles (punishable offenses) and each carry varying maximum sentences, with some requiring mandatory minimum sentences.
The Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) is the authoritative handbook of the UCMJ. All matters relating to the UCMJ are covered by the MCM and military appellate court cases.
Article 77: Principals – Makes unlawful the aiding, abetting, or assisting in a crime, even if the military member took no direct role in the crime.
Article 78: Accessory After the Fact – Makes it unlawful to provide aid or support to a known criminal.
Article 79: Conviction of Lesser Included Offense (LIO) – Defines lesser included offenses in the military.
Article 80: Attempts – Criminalizes attempts to commit UCMJ offenses.
Article 81: Conspiracy – Makes it a crime to conspire with another to commit a criminal offense under the UCMJ.
Article 82: Solicitation – Makes it a crime to solicit another to commit a criminal offense under the UCMJ.
Article 83: Malingering – Criminalizes attempting to get out of military duties by feigning illness or purposefully harming oneself.
Article 84: Breach of Medical Quarantine – Criminalizes abandoning a medical quarantine without being properly discharged.
Article 85: Desertion – Criminalizes abandoning one’s unit with an intent to remain away permanently.
Article 86: Absence Without Leave – Defines culpability and punishment for a service member who fails to appear before his unit or place of duty at a designated time.
Article 87: Missing Movement – Criminalizes missing the movement, by design or neglect, of a ship, aircraft, or unit.
Article 87a: Resistance, Flight, Breach Of Arrest And Escape – Makes criminal any act of resistance or escape by a service member from post-trial custody or confinement.
Article 87b: Correctional Custody & Restriction – Offenses Against – Criminalizes acts relating to escape or breach of correctional custody.
Article 88: Contempt Toward Officials – Criminalizes contemptuous statements or comments made by a U.S. Military Officer to a government official.
Article 89: Disrespect Toward a Superior Commissioned Officer or Assault of Superior Commissioned Officer – Authorizes punishment for service members who disrespect or assault a superior commissioned offer.
Article 90: Willfully Disobeying a Superior Commissioned Officer – Authorizes punishment for a service members who disobeys a superior commissioned officer.
Article 91: Insubordinate Conduct Towards Warrant Officer, Noncommissioned Officer, Or Petty Officer – Criminalizes punishment for insubordinate conduct toward military commissioned and noncommissioned officers.
Article 92: Failure To Obey Order or Regulation – Makes criminal the act of disobeying or ignoring military orders or military regulations.
Article 93: Cruelty And Maltreatment – Criminalizes acts of cruelty, oppression, and maltreatment by a superior ranking service members to a subordinate.
Article 93a: Prohibited Activities with Military Recruit or Trainee – Criminalizes certain activities with military recruits or trainees by other service members in a position of special trust.
Article 94: Mutiny or Sedition – Defines acts of mutiny and sedition and prescribes wartime and peacetime punishments.
Article 95: Offenses by Sentinel or Lookout – Criminalizes being drunk or asleep on post, leaving one’s post without justification, or otherwise misbehaving while on post.
Article 95a: Disrespect Toward Sentinel or Lookout – Criminalizes disrespectful language or behavior toward or within the sight or hearing of a sentinel or lookout.
Article 96: Releasing Prisoner Without Proper Authority – Prescribes punishment for service members who allow a prisoner to escape from military confinement through design or neglect.
Article 97: Unlawful Detention – Criminalizes actions leading to the unlawful apprehension and arrest of another individual.
Article 98: Misconduct as Prisoner – Makes causing delays in procedural hearings a criminal offense.
Article 99: Misbehavior Before the Enemy – Defines wartime offenses related to actions of cowardice, insubordination, and reckless behavior before enemy forces.
Article 100: Subordinate Compelling Surrender – Prescribes punishment for service members accused of compelling the surrender of property or personnel without proper authority.
Article 101: Improper Use of Countersign – Criminalizes using unofficial countersigns or disclosing countersigns to unauthorized individuals.
Article 102: Forcing A Safeguard – Criminalizes actions that risk or fail to uphold safeguarded property or persons.
Article 103: Spies – Criminalizes any attempt by a service member to buy, sell, or trade captured or abandoned property.
Article 103a: Espionage – Criminalizes the delivery of information with the intent to benefit a foreign nation or injure the United States.
Article 103b: Aiding the Enemy – Criminalizes aiding an enemy of the United States.
Article 104: Public Records Offenses: Altering, Concealing, Removing, Mutilating, Obliterating Or Destroying – A UCMJ offense involving the altering, concealing, removing, or destroying of public records.
Article 104a: Fraudulent Enlistment, Appointment, or Separation – Criminalizes the concealment or distortion of information related to enlistments, appointments, or separations of military service members.
Article 104b: Unlawful Enlistment, Appointment, or Separation – Criminalizes any attempt to bring about an unlawful military enlistment, appointment, or separation.
Article 105: Forgery – Makes it a UCMJ offense to falsify a signature or writing, or wrongfully alter a signature or writing.
Article 105a: False Or Unauthorized Pass Offense – Acts involving the unauthorized use of or tampering with a military pass or permit.
Article 106: Impersonating a Commissioned or Noncommissioned Officer or an Agent or Official – Any military service member may be prosecuted if they wrongfully impersonate an officer, non-commissioned officer, petty officer, or agent or official.
Article 106a: Wearing Unauthorized Insignia, Decorations, Badges, Ribbons, Devices, or Lapel Buttons – Offenses involving the unauthorized wearing of military decorations, insignia, ribbons, and another rank or service devices.
Article 107: False Official Statement – Criminalizes making official statements that are false or falsifying official documents.
Article 107a: Parole Violation – Prohibits acts by service members that violate the terms of their parole.
Article 108: Military Property, Sale, Loss, Damage, Destruction, or Wrongful Disposition – Defines criminal actions pertaining to the sale, loss, damage, and destruction of military property by a military service member.
Article 108a: Captured or Abandoned Property, Failure to Secure, Looting or Pillaging – Criminalizes conduct where a military member fails to protect captured or abandoned property of the enemy or engages in looting or pillaging.
Article 109: Property Other than Military Property of the U.S. – Waste, Spoilage, or Destruction – Defines criminal actions pertaining to the waste, spoilage, or destruction of non-military property by a military service member.
Article 109a: Mail Matter: Taking, Opening, Secreting, Destroying, or Stealing – Criminal acts related to the taking, opening, destroying, or stealing of mail.
Article 110: Improper Hazarding Of Vessel or Aircraft – Makes punishable the placing of a military vessel in danger of loss or destruction through willful or negligent conduct.
Article 111: Leaving the Scene of Vehicle Accident – Criminalizes leaving the scene of an automobile accident.
Article 112: Drunk on Duty – Allows for the punishment of service members found drunk while performing their military duties.
Article 112a: Wrongful Use, Possession, etc., of Controlled Substances – Makes illegal the possession, use, distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances in the military.
Article 113: Drunken or Reckless Operation of a Vehicle, Aircraft, or Vessel – Makes punishable the reckless or drunken operation of a vehicle, aircraft, or vessel.
Article 114: Endangerment Offenses – Make punishable reckless conduct that is likely to lead to death or grievous bodily harm of another person.
Article 115: Communicating Threats – Allows for a military service member to be punished for communicating threatening language to another.
Article 116: Riot Or Breach Of Peace – Allows for the conviction and sentencing of military members for inciting a riot or breaching the peace within a community.
Article 117: Provoking Speeches or Gestures – Criminalizes provoking words or gestures use towards another service member subject to the UCMJ.
Article 118: Murder – Military murder law that includes murder in the first, second, and third degree.
Article 119: Manslaughter – Conduct leading to the unintentional killing of another person by a US service member.
Article 119a: Death or Injury of an Unborn Child – Makes criminal any action that causes the death or injury of an unborn child.
Article 119b: Child Endangerment – Prohibited conduct under the UCMJ of intentional or recklessness conduct that endangers the health and welfare of a child or children.
Article 120: Rape and Sexual Assault Generally – Defines sexual offenses such as rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse committed by military service members.
Article 120a: Mailing Obscene Matters – Criminalizes the intentional mailing of obscene matters by military service members.
Article 120b: Rape And Sexual Assault Of A Child – Authorizes punishment for service members who have raped or sexually assaulted a child.
Article 120c: Other Sexual Misconduct – Defines other forms of sexual misconduct, such as voyeurism and non-consensual taping and broadcasting of sexual material.
Article 121: Larceny And Wrongful Appropriation – Makes punishable the theft of property or attempted theft of property.
Article 121a: Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Other Access Devices – Criminalizes the use of access cards and devices fraudulently used to obtain money or other services.
Article 121b: Obtaining Services Under False Pretenses – Criminalizes a military member’s use of false pretenses to defraud a provider of services.
Article 122: Robbery – UCMJ crime involving the theft of property with the threat or use of violence.
Article 122a: Stolen Property: Knowingly Receiving, Buying, Concealing – Prohibits a military service member from knowingly receiving, buying, or concealing of stolen property.
Article 123: Offenses Concerning Government Computers – Makes punishable the accessing of government computers for unauthorized purposes or the unauthorized transmission of government information.
Article 123a: Making, Drawing, or Uttering a Check, Draft, or Order Without Sufficient Funds – Makes criminal any action that involves making, drawing, or uttering checks without sufficient funds.
Article 124: Frauds Against the United States – Criminalizes a wide range of fraudulent conduct against the United States, including financial fraud.
Article 124a: Bribery – Prohibits wrongfully receiving or exchanging a thing of value in order to wrongfully influence the actions of another or to be so influenced.
Article 124b: Graft – Generally makes it a punishable offense for a service member in an official position to accept something of value for services performed or for recognition of those services.
Article 125: Kidnapping – Prohibits the seizure and carrying away of a person against his or her will.
Article 126: Arson, Burning Property with the Intent to Defraud – Criminalizes the burning or setting alight of structures, dwelling places, or personal property.
Article 127: Extortion – Defines criminal actions wherein a service member attempts to coerce another person into taking certain action.
Article 128: Assault and Assault Consummated by a Battery – Criminalizes the unwanted touching of another person or an offer to do so.
Article 128a: Maiming – Allows for the prosecution of a service member that intentionally injures, disfigures, or disables another person.
Article 129: Burglary, Unlawful Entry – Offenses related to forcibly entering a dwelling property with the intent to commit another UCMJ crime inside.
Article 130: Stalking – Prohibits a military service member from engaging in a course of conduct that would reasonably lead another person to fear death or bodily harm to themselves, an immediate family member, or their intimate partner.
Article 131: Perjury – Criminalizes intentionally giving false testimony in a judicial proceeding or in a course of justice.
Article 131a: Subornation of Perjury – Criminalizes attempts by a military member to persuade another person to commit perjury.
Article 131b: Obstructing Justice – Actions that impede, delay, or obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation is punishable under this UCMJ rule.
Article 131c: Misprision of a Serious Offense – Makes punishable the wrongful concealment of a criminal offense from law enforcement officials and the failure to report a known UCMJ violation.
Article 131d: Wrongful Refusal to Testify – Makes punishable the wrongful refusal to testify by a military service member that has knowledge of the subject matter that their testimony is being sought.
Article 131e: Prevention of Authorized Seizure of Property – Actions involving the destruction, hiding, or removal of property which is the object of an authorized search and seizure.
Article 131f: Noncompliance with Procedural Rules – Allows for the punishment of service members that are responsible for the unnecessary delay of the disposition of a UCMJ case.
Article 131g: Wrongful Interference With an Adverse Administrative Proceeding – Acts which obstruct, delay, or impede an adverse administrative hearing are punishable under this UCMJ Article.
Article 132: Retaliation – Criminalizes retaliation against those that have or are planning on reporting a criminal act or making a protected communication.
Article 133: Conduct Unbecoming an Officer And Gentleman – Allows for officers and service academy students to be punished for dishonorable conduct.
Article 134: General – Criminalizes ANY conduct that, under the circumstances, is prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the armed forces or is service discrediting. Below are specific Article 134 offenses carved out by the President of the United States.
Article 134: Animal Abuse – Acts involving the cruelty, abuse, and abandonment of animals.
Article 134: Bigamy – Criminalizes polygamous relationships and multiple marriage contracts.
Article 134: Check, Worthless Making and Uttering – Acts concerning the making, drawing, or uttering of checks without sufficient funds.
Article 134: Child Pornography – Criminalizes the purchase, filming, and distribution of child pornography.
Article 134: Debt, Dishonorably Failing to Pay – Accused of dishonoring both yourself and the United States Military by failing to make payments on a debt that you owe.
Article 134: Disloyal Statements – A military service member that makes a negative statement about the U.S. government to another person with the intention of spreading disaffection or resentment in the ranks can be punished under this Article.
Article 134: Disorderly Conduct, Drunkenness – Any military service member who brings dishonor or shame to the U.S. Military via loud, offensive, or disorderly conduct—whether due to drunkenness or otherwise—is subject to UCMJ punishment.
Article 134: Extramarital Sexual Conduct – Replaces the old adultery statute and prohibits extramarital sexual conduct by military service members.
Article 134: Firearm, Discharging—Through Negligence – The accidental discharge of a firearm by a military member is punishable under this rule.
Article 134: Fraternization – A military commissioned officer or warrant officer who compromises the chain of command with the appearance of partiality toward an enlisted service member, may be punished under this Article.
Article 134: Gambling with Subordinate – A service member that is an NCO or petty officer and is found gambling with an enlisted service member of inferior rank, may be punished under this UCMJ Article.
Article 134: Negligent Homicide – Criminalizes negligent conduct of a military service member that causes the death of another.
Article 134: Indecent Conduct – Sexual or lewd acts by a service member to other service members or civilians is prohibited under this rule.
Article 134: Indecent Language – Oral or written statements by service members that are deemed indecent by another can be punished under this UCMJ law.
Article 134: Pandering and Prostitution – Acts of trading goods or services in exchange for sex or facilitating such exchanges for monetary benefits can be charged as a violation of the UCMJ under this rule.
Article 134: Self-Injury Without Intent to Avoid Service – Defines offenses where a service member inflicts self-harm for reasons not involving service avoidance.
Article 134: Straggling – Essentially criminalizes wrongfully lagging behind or becoming separated from one’s unit while on an exercise or maneuver.
If you are being investigated or are charged with any of these punishable UCMJ offenses, contact Tipon & Liebenguth today for a free consultation and learn how we would investigate, prepare, and defend your case. You owe it to yourself to learn how we can help.
The Purpose of the UCMJ
The purpose of the UCMJ is to maintain good order and discipline in the armed forces. As a result, the military makes punishable certain conduct that is not and would never be made criminal in the civilian community. For example, only in the military is extramarital conduct (i.e., adultery), being late for work, missing your flight, or being disrespectful made a crime.
Establishment of the UCMJ
The Uniform Code of Military Justice was passed into law in 1950 and took effect on May 31, 1951. Prior to that, the military justice system operated under the Articles of War and the Articles for the Government of the Navy. The word uniform is included because it was to apply to all of the armed forces uniformly: the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force.