Military Homicide & Assault Charges
Defending Those Who Protect Us
The men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces are trained in the exercise of lethal force, but they are also subject to strict discipline to prevent violence in the ranks. Unfortunately, factors such as alcohol and drug use and the stresses of service work to cause conflicts among uniformed personnel, and the results are often disastrous for those involved. In some cases, one or more people is seriously injured or perhaps even killed in a fight or an attack. Even when everyone involved survives without any major physical harm, the incident is likely to result in some type of punitive action such as confinement and discharge following a court-martial.
Definition of Assault in the Military
The military justice system takes a tough stance against violent offenses, and if you have been charged with assault you can expect the case to be taken before a court-martial, rather than being disposed of through nonjudicial punishment. Article 128 recognizes two degrees of assault: simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault occurs when the offender threatens or attempts to injure the victim through the use of unlawful force - i.e. violence which is not justified by self-defense - regardless of whether or not the victim is actually struck or injured. The charge is increased to aggravated assault in cases where the perpetrator uses a deadly weapon or other means which are likely to cause grievous bodily harm or death, as well as if the victim is an officer, law enforcement personnel or a child under the age of 16.
Murder and Manslaughter Charges in the Armed Forces
The Uniform Code of Military Justice makes a distinction between the two types of homicide, with Article 118 covering the offense of murder and Article 119 applying to the crime of manslaughter. Murder is charged in cases where the homicide is premeditated, is the result of an assault which was intended to cause great bodily harm, is caused by activity which is inherently dangerous and which demonstrates a wanton disregard for human life, or is committed in the course of a burglary, sodomy, rape, robbery or aggravated arson. Manslaughter, in contrast, is a homicide which is committed in the heat of a sudden passion, provided that the passion was caused by adequate provocation. It may also be charged in cases where the defendant is accused of killing another person through some type of culpable negligence - such as by causing a fatal collision while driving drunk - or while perpetrating some other type of criminal offense.
Defense for Violent Crime Charges
Whether you have been accused of committing a simple assault or if you are suspected of murder, you cannot afford to take any chances with the outcome of your case. Don't make the mistake of trying to resolve the situation on your own by speaking with the investigators. Put your case in the hands of the military criminal defense lawyers at McCormack & McCormack. We have more than three decades of experience and a track record which includes hundreds of courts-martial, both as the prosecution and the defense. Take the first step now by contacting us for a confidential case evaluation!