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Assault Charges in the Military

Assault is committed when an individual causes another person to fear imminent bodily harm. Physical harm does not actually need to occur for the crime to be charged, but there must be reasonable cause for the victim to be in fear, such as the reality that the suspect could actually commit the crime. This could be done verbally through threats, physically through gestures or the display of a weapon, or both. As a violent crime, assault has harsh consequences in civil law; but military law is only harsher. U.S.C. § 928 outlaws assault, making it punishable at different levels dependent on the extent of the crime. Therefore, you need a military criminal lawyer for your assault charges.

Forms of Assault and Penalties

Simple assault can result in confinement and a reduction of pay for a period of a few months. Assault consummated by battery can result in discharge, loss of pay and confinement for a period of time. A crime of assault committed upon a warrant officer can lead to dishonorable discharge, as well as the loss of pay and confinement for up to 18 months. When the crime is against a noncommissioned or petty officers, a bad conduct discharge may be issued, along with confinement and loss of pay and allowances for a six month period of time. These crimes can also extend outside of the army and may be committed against a civilian. Any time assault consummated by battery is against an individual under 16 years of age, a military member can be faced with no pay and allowances, confinement for two years or dishonorable discharge.

As in other assault cases, anytime a weapon is involved, such as a firearm or knife, the consequences will be increased. Aggravated assault, or assault with a deadly weapon can result in legal penalties dependent on the weapon and the damage caused. Both crimes with a gun or other weapon may result in dishonorable discharge, in addition to further repercussions. Having a loaded gun can result in the loss of pay/allowances and confinement up to eight years. Other instances can lead to loss of pay and allowances and confinement of three years. For cases in which bodily harm was inflicted, confinement can reach up to five years, and 10 years when a loaded firearm is involved.

Those convicted may face discharge and can lose the career, identity and life they have come to know. Many of the most important areas can be stripped away without proper defense. Discharge can take the respect and dignity some officers have fought long and hard for. Others that are still able to remain in their position can deal with a significant financial reduction that could put them and the family they support at a disadvantage. Confinement is somewhat similar to the jail that other convicted individuals face outside of the military. They will be placed in a holding facility for the period that is given in their sentencing and certain privileges will be given in various situations.

Assault Under the UCMJ

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) also says that it is illegal to assault a superior officer in U.S.C. § 890. Striking or threatening to strike a superior officer could result in serious consequences after a trial by court-martial. All penalties for assault are determined by court-martial and, for assault, the penalties can include a reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay for three months, dishonorable discharge, or even confinement for up to 10 years in extreme cases.

Searching for a military criminal defense attorney?

Contact Meagan F. Temple, Attorney at Law for a free case evaluation today. As a former judge advocate for the USAF, Ms. Temple has extensive understanding of and experience in military law. No matter what type of military criminal defense you need, she could fight to have your charges dismissed. She also has experience in prosecution and could anticipate your opponent's strategies. To find out exactly how she could help you, call today to schedule an appointment. With the excellent representation of a military criminal defense lawyer, your reputation and career could be saved.

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