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UCMJ Article 120 Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance

Note: This law applies only to Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact offenses committed on and after 1 January 2019.

What is Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance?

Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar SubstanceArticle 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance is a serious offense in the military justice system. This crime involves using a substance to impair the victim’s ability to appraise or control their conduct, resulting in non-consensual sexual contact. Convictions can lead to severe penalties, including long-term confinement, dishonorable discharge, and mandatory sex offender registration.

Facing such charges can be overwhelming and carries substantial legal and personal consequences. Accused individuals must seek the best military defense lawyers to ensure a strong defense. Experienced Article 120 UCMJ lawyers are essential for navigating the complexities of military law, challenging the prosecution’s evidence, and protecting the accused’s rights. A well-prepared defense can significantly affect the outcome, potentially reducing or dismissing charges and mitigating long-term impacts on one’s career and life.

If you face charges under Article 120 UCMJ, consult with the best military defense lawyers to safeguard your future. The complexities of such cases demand a knowledgeable legal team capable of providing a robust defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.

What are the Elements of Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused [committed sexual contact upon] [caused a sexual contact to be committed upon] (victim), by (state the alleged sexual contact); and

  2. That the accused did so by administering to (victim) a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance (by force or threat of force) (without the knowledge or consent of (victim)), thereby substantially impairing the ability of (victim) to appraise or control his/her conduct.

Note: The maximum and minimum punishments for UCMJ Article 120 Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance (Aggravated Sexual Contact) vary depending on the date of the offense.

In the military, the crime of UCMJ Article 120, Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance, falls under the general offense category of Aggravated Sexual Contact. It is one of the more serious offenses under the UCMJ and carries significant mandatory punishments. Offenses committed after December 27, 2023, carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30-120 months (Between 2 years and 6 months to 10 years of confinement). If convicted, the defendant must register as a Federal and State sex offender.

What are the Aggravated Sexual Contact Offenses Under Article 120 UCMJ?

What are the Maximum Punishments for Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance, Article 120 UCMJ?

For offenses committed between 1 Jan 2019 and 27 Dec 2023:

  • 20 Years of Confinement
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction
  • Collateral Consequences of Registration as a State & Federal Sex Offender

For offenses committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance, Article 120 UCMJ, is a Category 3 Offense
  • Mandatory confinement ranges from 30-120 months (Between 2 years and 6 months to 10 years)
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction
  • Collateral Consequences of Registration as a State & Federal Sex Offender
  • Note: The Military Judge MAY impose a period of confinement less than the jurisdictional maximum period of confinement upon finding specific facts that warrant such a sentence. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.), Appendix 12B-C

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

What are the collateral consequences of having to register as a convicted sex offender?

Sex Offenders Often Cannot Live Near or Visit “Places Where Children Congregate.”
What does that mean? It means a registered sex offender may not be allowed to live near or visit schools, parks and playgrounds, beaches, shopping malls, stores, movie theaters, community centers, places of worship, libraries, recreational facilities, skating rinks, bus stops, and many more.

Potential Collateral Consequences of a Conviction of Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance

A military member convicted of Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance must register as a sex offender. A registered sex offender may suffer the following collateral consequences:
  • Denied housing or difficulty finding housing
  • Loss of family
  • Isolation
  • No educational opportunities
  • Unemployable or difficulty finding employment
  • Physical assault
  • Increased homelessness
  • Harassment
  • Financial hardship
  • Stigmatization
  • The decline in mental health
  • No internet access
  • Deterioration of social bonds
  • Loss of residency
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Social disgrace and humiliation
  • Loss of friends
  • Loss of custody of children
  • Lack of privacy

Sample Model Specification: Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance

In that ENS Willy Lopez, US Navy, did, at or near Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, on or about 22 May 2024, touch through the clothing the anus of Joe Victim, with an object, to wit: a dildo, with an intent to degrade Joe Victim, by administering to Joe Victim without the knowledge or permission of Joe Victim, a drug thereby substantially impairing the ability of Joe Victim to appraise or control his conduct.

What are the Definitions for Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance?

“Sexual contact” means touching, or causing another person to touch, either directly or through the clothing, the vulva, penis, scrotum, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person or to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. Touching may be accomplished by any part of the body or an object.

By unlawful force. When the sexual contact is alleged by unlawful force, include the following instruction:

“Unlawful force” means an act of force done without legal justification or excuse.

“Force” means the use of a weapon; the use of such physical strength or violence as is sufficient to overcome, restrain, or injure a person; or inflicting physical harm sufficient to coerce or compel submission by the victim.

Marriage. Marriage is not a defense to any offense violating UCMJ Article 120 Sexual Contact by Force. If necessary, include the following instruction: Marriage is not a defense to this offense.

Sexual Act and Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance

“Sexual act” means:

  1. the penetration, however slight, of the penis into the vulva or anus or mouth;
  2. contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, scrotum, or anus; or
  3. the penetration, however slight, of the vulva or penis or anus of another by any part of the body or any object, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person or to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

The “vulva” is the external genital organs of the female, including the entrance of the vagina and the labia majora and labia minora.

“Labia” is the Latin and medically correct term for “lips.”

Suppose Evidence of Consent to Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance has Been Raised. In that case, the Military Judge Will Give the Following Instructions:

Instructing on consent in Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance cases. The issue of “consent” may arise in two ways.

  1. First, lack of consent is an element when the accused is charged with aggravated sexual contact by administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance without the consent of the alleged victim.
  2. Lack of consent is not an element when the accused is charged with aggravated sexual contact by any other method (including when the accused is charged with administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance by force or by threat of force). See US v. Neal, 68 MJ 289, 302-304 (CAAF 2010) (statutory definition of “force” does not imply an element of lack of consent).
  3. Second, evidence of the alleged victim’s consent to the sexual conduct might be introduced to any aggravated sexual contact allegation to negate the elements of the offense. Generally, the elements of an Article 120(c) offense require the accused to have committed sexual conduct “by” a certain method. Stated another way, “by” means the sexual conduct occurred because of that method.
  4. Consent to the sexual conduct logically precludes that causal link; when the alleged victim consented, the sexual conduct occurred because of the consent, not because of the charged method. Accordingly, evidence that the alleged victim consented to the sexual conduct may be relevant to negate an element, even though lack of consent may not be a separate element.
  5. If consent evidence has been introduced to negate other elements of the charged offense, give the second parenthetical below, along with the appropriately tailored definitions of consent. If lack of consent to administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance is an element of the charged offense, give the first parenthetical below, along with the appropriately tailored definition of consent.

IF LACK OF CONSENT TO THE ADMINISTRATION OF A DRUG, INTOXICANT, OR SIMILAR SUBSTANCE IS AN ELEMENT, GIVE THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTION:

(As I previously advised you, in (The) Specification(s) (__________) of (The) (Additional) Charge (___), the accused is charged with the offense of aggravated sexual contact by administering a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance to (state the name of the alleged victim) without his/her knowledge or consent, thereby substantially impairing the ability of (state the name of the alleged victim) to appraise or control his/her conduct. For this offense, lack of consent to administering the drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance is an element of the offense.)

IF CONSENT EVIDENCE HAS BEEN INTRODUCED TO NEGATE OTHER ELEMENTS OF THE CHARGED OFFENSE, GIVE THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTION:

(The evidence has (also) raised the issue of whether (state the name of the alleged victim) consented to the sexual conduct listed in (The) Specification(s) (__________) of (The) (Additional) Charge (___).

All of the evidence concerning consent to the sexual conduct is relevant and must be considered in determining whether the government has proven (the elements of the offense) (that the sexual conduct was done by (state the applicable element). Stated another way, evidence the alleged victim consented to the sexual conduct, either alone or in conjunction with the other evidence in this case, may cause you to have a reasonable doubt as to whether the government has proven (every element of the offense) (that the sexual conduct was done by state the applicable element).

Consent and Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance

“Consent” means a freely given agreement to the conduct at issue by a competent person. An expression of lack of consent through words or conduct means no consent. Lack of verbal or physical resistance does not constitute consent. Submission resulting from the use of force, threat of force, or placing another person in fear also does not constitute consent. A current or previous dating or social or sexual relationship by itself or the manner of dress of the person involved with the accused in the conduct at issue does not constitute consent.

  • A sleeping, unconscious, or incompetent person cannot consent.
  • A person cannot consent to force causing or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm.
  • A person cannot consent to being rendered unconscious.
  • A person cannot consent while under threat or in fear.
  • A “competent person” is a person who possesses the physical and mental ability to consent.
  • An “incompetent person” is a person who is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct at issue, or physically incapable of declining participation in or communicating unwillingness to engage in the sexual act at issue.
  • All the surrounding circumstances are to be considered in determining whether a person
    gave consent.

Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance Military Defense Lawyers

If you are suspected or accused of UCMJ Article 120 Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug, Intoxicant, or Other Similar Substance, reach out to speak with one of our experienced military court martial lawyers to discuss your best defense strategy.

What is Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant, or Similar Substance?

Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) encompasses various forms of sexual misconduct, including aggravated sexual contact by administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance. This specific offense addresses situations where an individual uses substances to facilitate non-consensual sexual contact, highlighting the seriousness of such actions within the military.

Understanding Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance

Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance outlines several sexual offenses, with aggravated sexual contact by administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance being a particularly egregious crime. This offense occurs when a person engages in sexual contact with another individual by administering any substance that impairs the victim’s ability to consent.

Elements of Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance

To convict someone under Article 120 UCMJ for aggravated sexual contact by administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The accused engaged in sexual contact with another person.
  • The accused administered a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance to that person.
  • The substance was administered with the intent to impair the victim’s ability to consent.

“Sexual contact” includes intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of another person. The term “administering a substance” implies that the accused gave or caused the victim to ingest or inhale the substance with the intent to impair their ability to consent.

Consequences of Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance Conviction

A conviction under Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance carries severe penalties reflecting the gravity of the offense. These consequences include:

  • Dishonorable discharge from the military.
  • Lengthy imprisonment, potentially extending to several years.
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
  • Mandatory registration as a sex offender.

In addition to these direct penalties, individuals convicted of Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substanceface significant collateral consequences that can profoundly impact their lives:

  • Challenges in finding employment due to the dishonorable discharge and sex offender status.
  • Social stigma and isolation result from the nature of the offense and sex offender registration.
  • Restrictions on residency and travel due to sex offender registration requirements.
  • Loss of civil rights, such as voting or owning firearms.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance Case

Given the severe penalties and long-term consequences of a conviction under Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance it is crucial for anyone accused of this crime to seek legal representation immediately. An experienced military defense lawyer can provide vital support and guidance through the legal process. They can:

  • Conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations and gather evidence to build a strong defense.
  • Challenge the prosecution’s evidence and question the credibility of witnesses.
  • Negotiate with prosecutors to seek reduced charges or favorable plea agreements.
  • Advocate for the accused’s rights in court and strive for the best possible outcome.

A skilled defense lawyer for Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance cases understands the complexities of military law and can navigate the unique aspects of court-martial proceedings. They are essential in ensuring that the accused receives a fair trial and their rights are protected at every stage.

Long-Term Implications of Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance

The repercussions of a conviction under Article 120 UCMJ extend far beyond the immediate penalties. The long-term implications can affect various aspects of the individual’s life:

  • Career Impact: A dishonorable discharge effectively ends a military career and can significantly hinder future employment opportunities, particularly in fields requiring security clearances or background checks.
  • Family and Relationships: The social stigma and legal restrictions associated with a sex offender status can strain or sever family relationships and friendships, leading to social isolation.
  • Legal Obligations: Convicted individuals must comply with sex offender registration requirements, including regular check-ins with law enforcement, residency restrictions, and public notification.
  • Mental Health: The stress and trauma of the legal process, combined with the consequences of a conviction, can have significant mental health impacts, requiring ongoing support and counseling.

Resources and Support for Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance

Accessing available resources and support is crucial for those facing charges under Article 120 UCMJ. Organizations and services that can provide assistance include:

  • Military Legal Assistance: Military legal assistance offices offer free legal advice and representation to service members, helping them navigate the complexities of military justice.
  • Veterans’ Organizations: Groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion support and advocate for service members and veterans dealing with legal issues.
  • Counseling Services: Mental health services, including counseling and support groups, can help individuals cope with their situation’s emotional and psychological effects.
  • Educational Materials: Accessing reputable educational materials and legal resources can help individuals understand their rights and the legal process.

Military Lawyers for Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance

Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance addresses serious crimes with severe consequences for those convicted. Understanding the elements of the offense and the potential penalties is crucial for anyone involved in a military criminal case. The importance of having knowledgeable legal representation cannot be overstated, as it can significantly impact the outcome of the case and the future of the accused.

If you or someone you know is facing charges under Article 120 UCMJ Aggravated Sexual Contact by Administering a Drug Intoxicant or Similar Substance, it is imperative to seek legal assistance immediately. The stakes are high, and having a dedicated defense lawyer can make a critical difference in the defense strategy and the case’s ultimate resolution.

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