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Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation

Note: This law applies only to Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation offenses committed on and after 1 January 2019.

What is Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation?

Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or SuffocationArticle 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation is a serious offense involving intentionally choking or suffocating another person.

This crime is considered particularly severe due to the potential for serious injury or death. Convictions for this offense can result in substantial penalties, including lengthy confinement, forfeiture of pay, reduction in rank, and dishonorable discharge.

Given the severity of these charges, the accused need to seek representation from the best military defense lawyers. Court-martial lawyers possess the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the complexities of military law, challenge the prosecution’s evidence, and protect the accused’s rights. An experienced legal team can significantly influence the case’s outcome, potentially mitigating the harsh penalties associated with a conviction.

Engaging skilled court-martial lawyers, such as those at Gonzalez & Waddington, is crucial for anyone facing charges under Article 128 UCMJ. Their comprehensive understanding of military justice and dedication to defending service members ensure that the accused receives robust and effective legal representation.

Note: The maximum and minimum punishments for Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation vary depending on the date of the offense.

What are the types of Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation?

  1. Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation
  2. Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation when committed upon a child under the age of 16 years

What are the Elements of Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged) the accused assaulted (state the name of the alleged victim);
  2. That the accused did so by (strangulation) (suffocation); and
  3. That the (strangulation) (suffocation) was done with unlawful force or violence.

What are the Elements of Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation, Committed upon a Child under 16 years?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged) the accused assaulted (state the name of the alleged victim);
  2. That the accused did so by (strangulation) (suffocation);
  3. That the (strangulation) (suffocation) was done with unlawful force or violence; and
  4. That, at the time, (state the name of the alleged victim) was a child under the age of 16 years.

What is the Maximum Punishment for Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation?

For Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation offenses committed between 1 January 2019 and 27 December 2023:

  • 5 Years of Confinement
  • Dishonorable Discharge, Bad Conduct Discharge, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1

For Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation offenses committed after 27 December 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation is a Category 2 Offense – Confinement from 1-36 months (1 month to 3 years)
  • Dishonorable Discharge, Bad Conduct Discharge, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • 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

What is the Maximum Punishment for Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation when committed upon a child under the age of 16 years?

For Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation offenses committed between 1 January 2019 and 27 December 2023:

  • 8 Years of Confinement
  • Dishonorable Discharge, Bad Conduct Discharge, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1

For Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation offenses committed after 27 December 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation when committed upon a child under the age of 16 years is a Category 3 Offense – Confinement from 30-120 months (2 years and 6 months to 10 years)
  • Dishonorable Discharge, Bad Conduct Discharge, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • 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.

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

Sample Specification for Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation

In that COL Renee Collins, US Army, did, at or near Fort Carson, Colorado, on or about 14 August 2025, commit an assault upon Tara Patrick by unlawfully strangling her with his hands.

Model Specification for Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation

In that __________ (personal jurisdiction data), did, (at/on board-location), on or about _______, commit an assault upon __________ (a child under the age of 16 years) by unlawfully (strangling) (suffocating) (him) (her) (with/by ________).

What are the Definitions for Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation?

Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation military defense lawyersAn assault by (strangulation) (suffocation) is an assault committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, regardless of whether that conduct results in any visible injury or whether there is any intent to kill or protractedly injure the victim.

An assault in which bodily harm is inflicted is called a “battery.” A “battery” is an unlawful infliction of bodily harm to another, made with force or violence, by an intentional (or a culpably negligent) act or omission.

“Bodily harm” under Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation means an offensive touching of another, however slight.

An infliction of bodily harm is “unlawful” if done without legal justification or excuse and without the lawful consent of the victim.

“Culpable negligence” under Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation is a degree of carelessness greater than simple negligence.

“Simple negligence” under Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation is the absence of due care. The law always requires everyone to demonstrate care for the safety of others, which a reasonably careful person would demonstrate under the same or similar circumstances; that is what “due care” means.

“Culpable negligence,” under Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation, on the other hand, is a negligent (act) (or) (failure to act)accompanied by a gross, reckless, wanton, or deliberate disregard for the foreseeable results to others.

“Strangulation” under Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation means intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a person by applying pressure to the throat or neck, regardless of whether that conduct results in any visible injury or whether there is any intent to kill or protractedly injure the alleged victim.

“Suffocation” under Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation means intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing of a person by covering the mouth of a person, the nose of a person, or both, regardless of whether that conduct results in any visible injury or whether there is an intent to kill or protractedly injure the alleged victim.)

When the alleged victim is a child under the age of 16 years, add the following instructions.

The knowledge that the person allegedly assaulted was under the age of 16 years is not an element of this offense.

Accordingly, if you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that (state the name of the alleged victim) was under the age of 16 years at the time of the alleged offense, you are advised that the prosecution is not required to prove that the accused knew that (state the name of the alleged victim) was under the age of 16 years at the time of the alleged offense, and it is not a defense to (strangulation) (suffocation) of a child even if the accused reasonably believed that (state the name of the alleged victim) was at least 16 years old).

Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation Military Defense Lawyers

Background of Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation

Article 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) covers various forms of assault, including aggravated assault. Aggravated assault by strangulation or suffocation is recognized as a particularly severe offense due to the high risk of serious injury or death associated with these actions.

Strangulation and suffocation can cause immediate physical harm and long-term psychological effects, making them grave violations of military conduct.

Basics of Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation

To secure a conviction for aggravated assault by strangulation or suffocation under Article 128, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Assault: The accused committed an assault by intentionally applying unlawful force or violence.
  • Strangulation or Suffocation: The assault involved strangling or suffocating the victim.
  • Intent: The assault was committed with the intent to cause harm or fear of harm through strangulation or suffocation.
  • Knowledge: The accused knew or reasonably should have known that the act could cause substantial bodily harm or death.

Dangers of Strangulation and Suffocation

Strangulation and suffocation are extremely dangerous acts that can lead to severe physical and psychological damage. The immediate effects of strangulation can include unconsciousness, brain damage due to lack of oxygen, and death.

Even if the victim survives, there can be lasting effects such as difficulty breathing, swallowing, and speaking, as well as neurological damage. Psychological impacts can include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Suffocation, which obstructs a person’s ability to breathe, poses significant health risks. It can lead to hypoxia, where the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply, resulting in damage to vital organs and potentially causing fatal outcomes. Both strangulation and suffocation are methods often used in domestic violence situations, highlighting their serious nature and the need for strict legal penalties.

For more detailed information on the dangers and medical implications of strangulation, you can visit the following authoritative websites:

Collateral Consequences of Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation Conviction

A conviction for Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation can have numerous collateral consequences, including:

  • Difficulty obtaining civilian employment due to the nature of the conviction and any resulting discharge status
  • Loss of military benefits, including retirement pay, VA benefits, and healthcare
  • Significant damage to personal and professional reputation
  • Potential civil lawsuits from the victim for damages

Purpose of Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation

The primary purpose of penalizing aggravated assault by strangulation or suffocation under Article 128 is to maintain good order and discipline within the military. Such violent acts severely undermine trust, unit cohesion, and operational effectiveness. By criminalizing such behavior, the military aims to:

  • Protect service members from severe violence and ensure a safe working environment
  • Promote respect and professionalism within the ranks
  • Deter potential offenders by highlighting the serious consequences of such behavior
  • Uphold the standards of conduct necessary for military readiness and effectiveness

Addressing and penalizing Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation is crucial in fostering a safe and respectful military environment. The stringent penalties reflect the military’s commitment to preventing and responding to severe forms of violence within its ranks.

If you are suspected or accused of Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation, speak with one of our experienced military court martial lawyers to discuss your case.

Examples of Article 128 UCMJ Aggravated Assault by Strangulation or Suffocation:

  1. Manual Strangulation: A service member uses their hands to strangle another service member by applying pressure to their neck.
  2. Ligature Strangulation: Using a rope, belt, or other object to strangle another service member.
  3. Choking with a Forearm: Applying a forearm choke to another service member, cutting off their air supply.
  4. Choking During an Argument: Grabbing and choking another service member during a heated argument.
  5. Suffocating with a Pillow: Holding a pillow over another service member’s face to suffocate them.
  6. Plastic Bag Suffocation: Placing a plastic bag over another service member’s head to cut off their air supply.
  7. Drowning Attempt: Holding another service member’s head underwater to prevent them from breathing.
  8. Chokehold: Applying a chokehold that cuts off another service member’s airflow.
  9. Kneeling on the Neck: Using a knee to apply pressure to another service member’s neck, restricting their breathing.
  10. Pressing Against a Wall: Pinning another service member against a wall by their neck.
  11. Strangulation with Clothing: Using a piece of clothing, such as a shirt or scarf, to strangle another service member.
  12. Multiple Instances: Repeatedly strangling another service member over a period of time.
  13. Mixed Assault: Combining strangulation with other forms of physical assault, such as hitting or kicking.
  14. Choking from Behind: Approaching another service member from behind and choking them.
  15. Using Restraints: Using handcuffs or other restraints to immobilize another service member before strangling them.
  16. During Restraint: Strangling another service member while they are restrained or unable to defend themselves.
  17. Choking During Training: Strangling another service member under the guise of training or discipline.
  18. Attempted Strangulation: Attempting to strangle another service member but being interrupted before completing the act.
  19. Strangulation as Retaliation: Strangling another service member in retaliation for a perceived slight or offense.
  20. Choking in Confinement: Strangling another service member while they are confined in a small space, such as a vehicle or room.

These examples highlight various scenarios where aggravated assault by strangulation or suffocation can occur under Article 128 UCMJ.

 

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