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UCMJ Article 120c Indecent Viewing

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Note: This law applies only to Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing offenses committed on and after 1 January 2019. Effective 28 July 2023, EO 14103 added the words “without legal justification or lawful authorization” to the Model Specifications and Elements of these offenses.

What is Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing?

Article 120C Ucmj Indecent ViewingArticle 120c of the UCMJ addresses indecent viewing, defined as knowingly and wrongfully viewing another person’s private areas without consent and under circumstances where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. This offense carries severe penalties, including up to one year of confinement, dishonorable discharge, and mandatory sex offender registration.

Accusations of indecent viewing can have life-altering consequences, making it imperative to seek the best military defense lawyers. An experienced Article 120 UCMJ lawyer can navigate the complexities of military law, challenge evidence, and develop a robust defense strategy to protect the accused’s rights and future. Skilled legal representation is essential for ensuring the best possible outcome in such serious cases.

What are the Elements of Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused, without legal justification or lawful authorization, knowingly (and wrongfully) viewed the private area of (state the name of the alleged victim);
  2. That the accused did so without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim); and
  3. That said viewing took place under circumstances in which (state the name of the alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

What are the Abusive Sexual Contact Offenses Under Article 120c UCMJ?

What are the Maximum Punishments for Indecent Viewing, Article 120c UCMJ?

Note: The

maximum and minimum punishments for UCMJ Article 120c Indecent Viewing vary depending on the date of the offense.

In the military, the crime of UCMJ Article 120c is a serious offense. It carries significant mandatory punishments. Offenses committed after December 27, 2023, carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 0-12 months. If convicted, the defendant must register as a Federal and State sex offender.

Max Punishments for Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing offenses committed between 1 Jan 2019 and 27 Dec 2023:

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

MaxPunishments Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing offenses committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Indecent Viewing, Article 120c UCMJ, is a Category 1 Offense
  • Mandatory confinement ranges from 0-12 months
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal 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?

Article 120C Ucmj Indecent Viewing – Court Martial LawyersSex 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 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing

A military member convicted of Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing 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 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing

In that PFC Ted Trickster, US Army, did, at or near Fort Moore, Georgia, on or about 27 Oct 2024, without legal justification or lawful authorization, knowingly and wrongfully view the private area of Janice Victim, without her consent and under circumstances in which she had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Model Specification: Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing

In that _________ (personal jurisdiction data), did (at/on board—location), on or about _______ 20__, without legal justification or lawful authorization, knowingly (and wrongfully) view the private area of __________, without (his) (her) consent and under circumstances in which (he) (she) had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

What are the Definitions for Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing?

“Wrongful” under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing means without legal justification or lawful authorization.

An act is done “knowingly” under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing when it is done intentionally and on purpose. An act done as the result of a mistake or accident is not done “knowingly.”

“Private area” under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing means the naked or underwear-clad genitalia, anus, buttocks, or female areola or nipple.

“Under circumstances in which that other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy” or “reasonable expectation of privacy” under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing means:
(A) circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that he or she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that an image of a private area of the person was being captured; or
(B) circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the person would not be visible to the public.

“Broadcast” under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing means to electronically transmit a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons.

“Distribute” under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing means delivering to the actual or constructive possession of another, including transmission by electronic means.

“Recording” under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing means a still or moving visual image captured or recorded by any means.

Mistake of fact as to consent in Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing cases

When the accused is charged with indecent viewing or recording, under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing, and the evidence has reasonably raised mistake of fact as to consent, include the following instruction on honest and reasonable mistake of fact as to consent. If instructing on an attempted offense, only the honest mistake of fact instruction should be given.

The evidence has raised the issue of mistake on the part of the accused whether (state the name of the alleged victim) consented to the conduct concerning the offense(s) of indecent (viewing) (visual recording), as alleged in (the) Specification(s) (___) of (the) (Additional) Charge (___).

Mistake of fact as to consent is a defense to (that) (those) charged offense(s). “Mistake of fact as to consent” means the accused held, as a result of ignorance or mistake, an incorrect belief that the other person consented to the (viewing) (photographing) (videotaping) (filming) (visual recording). The ignorance or mistake must have existed in the mind of the accused and must have been reasonable under all the circumstances.

To be reasonable, ignorance or mistakes must be based on information or lack thereof, indicating to a reasonable person that the other person consented. (Additionally, the ignorance or mistake cannot be based on the negligent failure to discover the true facts. “Negligence” is the absence of due care. “Due care” is what a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances.)

The prosecution is burdened to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the mistake of fact as to consent did not exist. If you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, at the time of the charged offense(s), the accused was not under a mistaken belief that the alleged victim consented to the (viewing) (photographing) (videotaping) (filming) (visual recording), the defense does not exist. Even if you conclude, the accused was under a mistaken belief that the alleged victim consented to the (viewing) (photographing) (videotaping) (filming) (visual recording), if you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time of the charge offense(s), the accused’s mistake was unreasonable, the defense does not exist.

Voluntary intoxication and mistake of fact as to consent in Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing cases. If there is evidence of the accused’s voluntary intoxication, the following instruction is appropriate:

There has been some evidence concerning the accused’s state of intoxication at the time of the alleged offense. On whether the accused’s mistaken belief, if any, was reasonable, you may not consider the accused’s intoxication because a reasonable belief is one that an ordinary, prudent, sober adult would have under the circumstances of this case. Voluntary intoxication does not permit what would be an unreasonable belief in the mind of a sober person to be considered reasonable because the person is intoxicated.

Voluntary intoxication and “knew or reasonably should have known.” When the accused is charged with broadcasting or distributing an indecent visual recording, and there is evidence that the accused was intoxicated, the following instruction may be appropriate with respect to whether the accused “knew or reasonably should have known” the circumstances under which the recording was made.

The evidence has raised the issue of voluntary intoxication in relation to the offense(s) of (state the alleged offense(s)). With respect to (that) (those) offense(s), I advised you earlier that the government is required to prove that the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim), and that the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the recording was made under circumstances in which (state the name of the alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

In deciding whether the accused had such knowledge, you should consider the evidence of voluntary intoxication. The law recognizes that a person’s ordinary thought process may be materially affected when (he) (she) is under the influence of intoxicants. Thus, evidence that the accused was intoxicated may, either alone or together with other evidence in the case, cause you to have a reasonable doubt that the accused had the required knowledge.

On the other hand, the fact that the accused may have been intoxicated at the time of the offense(s) does not necessarily indicate that (he) (she) was unable to have the required knowledge because a person may be drunk yet still be aware at that time of (his) (her) actions and their probable results.

In deciding whether the accused had the required knowledge, you should consider the effect of intoxication, if any, as well as the other evidence in the case. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to establish the accused’s guilt. If you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused in fact had the required knowledge, the accused will not avoid criminal responsibility because of voluntary intoxication.

However, on the question of whether the accused “reasonably should have known” that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim), and the question of whether the accused “reasonably should have known” that the recording was made under circumstances in which (state the name of the alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy, you may not consider the accused’s intoxication, if any, because what a person reasonably should have known refers to what an ordinary, prudent, sober adult would have reasonably known under the circumstances of this case.

In summary, voluntary intoxication should be considered in determining whether the accused had actual knowledge that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim), and under circumstances in which (state the name of alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Voluntary intoxication should not be considered in determining whether the accused “reasonably should have known” that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim), and under circumstances in which (state the name of alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing Military Defense Lawyers

Article 120c of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) deals with the crime of indecent viewing. This article aims to protect the privacy and dignity of individuals within the military by prohibiting the wrongful viewing of another person’s private areas without consent. The offense is taken seriously within the military justice system, reflecting the importance of maintaining respect and ethical behavior among service members.

Basics of Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing

  1. Wrongful Viewing: The accused must have knowingly and wrongfully viewed another person’s intimate areas.
  2. Without Consent: The viewing must occur without the knowledge or consent of the observed person.
  3. Expectation of Privacy: The person being viewed must have had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Understanding Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing

Indecent viewing under Article 120c UCMJ covers various scenarios where an individual might observe another person’s private areas without consent. This includes situations such as:

  • Peeping: Secretly watching someone undress or engage in private activities.
  • Using Hidden Cameras: Installing or using hidden recording devices to capture images or videos of someone in private areas.
  • Viewing in Private Spaces: Observing someone where they expect privacy, such as bathrooms, locker rooms, or bedrooms.

The offense can occur in various settings, including military installations, housing, or any location where individuals reasonably expect privacy.

Consequences of Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing

The consequences of being convicted under Article 120c can be severe, reflecting the military’s commitment to upholding the dignity and privacy of its members. Potential penalties include:

  • Confinement: Depending on the severity of the offense, the accused could face significant jail time.
  • Dishonorable Discharge: A conviction can lead to a dishonorable discharge, which ends the individual’s military career and forfeits veterans’ benefits.
  • Forfeiture of Pay and Allowances: The convicted individual may lose their pay and allowances, causing financial hardship.
  • Sex Offender Registration: In some cases, the individual may be required to register as a sex offender, which carries long-term social and legal consequences.

Importance of Legal Representation in Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing Cases

Given the serious nature of indecent viewing charges under Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing, the accused must seek immediate legal representation from the best military defense lawyers. Here are several reasons why experienced legal counsel is essential:

  • Navigating Military Law: The UCMJ and military legal system have unique procedures and regulations. A lawyer with extensive knowledge of military law can effectively navigate these complexities.
  • Defending Rights: A skilled defense lawyer ensures that the accused’s rights are protected throughout the legal process, from investigation to trial.
  • Challenging Evidence: Lawyers can scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence, identify procedural errors, and challenge the credibility of witnesses.
  • Mitigating Penalties: Even if a conviction is unavoidable, experienced lawyers can work to mitigate the penalties, aiming for lesser charges or reduced sentences.

Defense Strategies for Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing

Defense strategies for Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing charges might include:

  • Lack of Intent: Demonstrating that the accused did not intend to view the person’s private areas wrongfully.
  • Consent: Providing evidence that the viewing was consensual or that the person being viewed did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Procedural Errors: Identifying and exploiting any procedural mistakes made during the investigation or trial that could lead to the dismissal of charges.

Court Martial Lawyers for Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing

Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing addresses the serious offense of indecent viewing, aiming to protect the privacy and dignity of military personnel. Accusations under this article carry severe consequences, including confinement, dishonorable discharge, and potential sex offender registration. Therefore, it is crucial for anyone facing such charges to seek immediate legal representation from the best military defense lawyers. Experienced legal counsel can navigate the complexities of military law, protect the accused’s rights, and work towards the most favorable outcome in their case.

If you are suspected or accused of Article 120c UCMJ Indecent Viewing, speak with one of our experienced military court martial lawyers to discuss your best defense strategy.

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