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Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Note: This law applies only to Article 129 UCMJ Burglary offenses allegedly committed on or after 1 January 2019.

What is Article 129 UCMJ Burglary?

Article 129 UCMJ Burglary military defense lawyersIn the context of military law, Article 129 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the criminal act of burglary. Specifically, it relates to a burglary committed intending to perpetrate a serious offense punishable under Articles 118-120, 120b-121, 122, 125-128a, or 130 of the UCMJ. These articles cover severe crimes such as murder, sexual assault, larceny, robbery, and certain other violent offenses.

What Constitutes Burglary Under Article 129?

Burglary under Article 129 involves unlawfully breaking and entering a structure with the intent to commit an offense therein. The severity of charges and potential penalties can be significantly heightened if the intended crime falls under the serious offenses listed. For instance, entering a dwelling to commit sexual assault or robbery escalates the gravity of the charge, corresponding to the societal and military emphasis on the protection of individuals and property.

Defending Article 129 UCMJ Burglary Allegations

Military personnel accused of Article 129 UCMJ Burglary face severe repercussions, including lengthy imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, and forfeiture of pay and benefits. The stakes are high, emphasizing the need for an appropriate defense strategy. Given the complexities of military law and the substantial penalties involved, having a seasoned military defense lawyer is crucial. A knowledgeable defense attorney can navigate the intricacies of the UCMJ, challenge evidence, and ensure the accused’s rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Military Defense Lawyers for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Understanding your rights and securing proficient legal representation is imperative if you are suspected of violating Article 129 under the UCMJ. At Gonzalez & Waddington, we are committed to defending service members facing such serious charges. Contact us to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

What are the Elements of Article 129 UCMJ Burglary?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused unlawfully broke and entered the building or structure of (state the person alleged), to wit: (state the building/structure alleged); and
  2. That the breaking and entering were done with the intent to commit (state the offense alleged), an offense punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

What are the Maximum Punishments for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary?

Maximum Punishment for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary with the intent to commit Articles 118 – 120, 120b-121, 122, 125-128a, and 130 committed between 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023:

  • 10 Years of Confinement
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction

Maximum Punishment for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary with the intent to commit Articles 118 – 120, 120b-121, 122, 125-128a, and 130

committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 129 UCMJ Burglary is a Category 3 Offense – Confinement from 30-120 months (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
  • 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

Maximum Punishment for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary NOT involving the intent to commit the offenses punishable under Articles 118-120, 120b-121, 122, 125-128a, and 130 committed between 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023:

  • 5 Years of Confinement
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction

Maximum Punishment for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary NOT involving the intent to commit the offenses punishable under Articles 118-120, 120b-121, 122, 125-128a, and 130 committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 129 UCMJ Burglary is a Category 2 Offense – Confinement from 1-36 months (1 month to 3 years)
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction
  • 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

Sample Specifications for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Article 129 UCMJ Burglary military lawyersIn that Capt Willy Cutts, US Air Force, did, at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, on or about 3 February 2025, unlawfully break and enter the building of U.S. Air Force Academy’s Cadet Chapel to wit: the Chaplin’s private office, with intent to commit an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice therein, to wit: arson.

Model Specifications for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

In that __________ (personal jurisdiction data), did, (at/on board—location), on or about __________, unlawfully break and enter the (building) (structure) of __________, to wit: ___________, with intent to commit an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice therein, to wit: ______________.

What are the Definitions for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary?

A “breaking” under Article 129 UCMJ Burglary may be actual or constructive. Merely entering through a hole left in the wall or roof or through an open window or door will not constitute breaking. But if a person moves any obstruction to entry of the house, without which movement the person could not have entered, the person has committed a “breaking.”

Closed Doors and Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Opening a closed door or window or other similar fixture, opening a door or window that is already partly open but insufficient for entry, or cutting out the window’s glass or the netting of a screen is a sufficient breaking. The breaking of an inner door by one who has entered the house without breaking or by a person lawfully within the house who has no authority to enter the particular room is sufficient. Still, burglary is not committed unless such breaking is followed by an entry into the particular room with the requisite intent.

Constructive Breakings and Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

There is a constructive breaking when the entry is gained by a trick, such as concealing oneself in a box; under false pretenses, such as impersonating a gas or telephone inspector; by intimidating the occupants through violence or threats into opening the door; through collusion with a confederate, an occupant of the house; or by descending a chimney, even if only a partial descent is made and no room is entered.

An “entry” under Article 129 UCMJ Burglary must be effected before the offense is complete, but the entry of any body part, even a finger, is sufficient. Insertion into the house of any tool or other instrument is also a sufficient entry unless the insertion is solely to facilitate the breaking or entry.

An entry is “unlawful” under Article 129 UCMJ Burglary if it is made without the consent of any person authorized to enter or without other lawful authority.

A “building” under Article 129 UCMJ Burglary includes a room, shop, store, office, or apartment in a building.

“Structure” under Article 129 UCMJ Burglary refers to only those structures like a building or dwelling. Examples include A stateroom, hold, or other vessel compartment; an inhabitable trailer; an enclosed truck or freight car; a tent; and a houseboat.

It is not necessary for the building or structure to be in use at the time of entry.

Under Article 129 UCMJ Burglary, in the case of semi-private structures, e.g., barracks or tents, the following instruction should be added to the definition of “unlawful” (above). It is based on US v. Davis, 56 MJ 299 (CAAF 2002), citing US v. Williams, 15 CMR 241 (CMA 1954).

Based on all of the evidence in this case, whether the accused’s entry was “unlawful” is a fact you should decide. In determining whether the entry was unlawful, you should consider all the relevant facts and circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • The nature and function of the building involved
  • The character, status, and duties of the accused
  • The conditions of the entry, including time, method, and the accused’s ostensible purpose, if any
  • The presence or absence of a directive seeking to limit or regulate free ingress
  • The presence or absence of an explicit invitation to the accused
  • The invitational authority of any purported host
  • The presence or absence of a prior course of dealing, if any, by the accused with the structure or its inmates, and its nature; and
  • Whether the accused intended to commit a criminal offense inside the building

Elements of the offense intended under Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

The following instruction must be given, listing the elements and necessary definitions of the intended offense. If murder was the intended offense, the military judge must instruct as to the elements of murder committed with the intent to kill.

Proof that the accused actually committed or even attempted the offense of (state the offense allegedly intended) is not required. Still, you must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intended each element of that offense at the time of the unlawful breaking. These elements are listed here: (List the elements of the allegedly intended offense.)

Other instructions under Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

  • Instruction 7-3, Circumstantial Evidence (Intent), is ordinarily applicable.
  • Instruction 6-5, Partial Mental Responsibility
  • Instruction 5-17, Evidence Negating Mens Rea
  • Instruction 5-12, Voluntary Intoxication, as bearing on the issues of the specific intent to commit the allegedly intended offense, may be applicable.

Hiring a Military Defense Lawyer for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Article 129 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses burglary, a serious crime within the military justice system. Burglary under Article 129 is defined as breaking and entering another person’s dwelling house with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein. This offense is considered grave due to its nature involving the invasion of privacy and the potential for harm or theft.

Legal Definition and Interpretation of Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Burglary is characterized by three primary elements: breaking, entering, and the intent to commit a felony or theft. The act of “breaking” refers to using force, however slight, to gain entry into the dwelling. This can include breaking a window, picking a lock, or even opening a closed but unlocked door. “Entering” means that any part of the offender’s body or an instrument used by the offender must physically intrude into the dwelling space. Finally, the intent to commit a felony or theft must be present at the time of the breaking.

Basics of Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

To secure a conviction for burglary under Article 129, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused broke and entered the dwelling of another: This requires evidence that the accused used force to enter someone else’s dwelling.
  2. The act was done with the intent to commit a felony or theft: This element focuses on the intent behind breaking and entering, highlighting the planned nature of the offense.
  3. The dwelling was occupied at the time of the offense: This means the dwelling must be a place where someone resides, even if they were not physically present during the act.

Impact on Military Discipline and Order of Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Burglary is considered a serious offense within the military due to its implications for security and trust. The act of breaking and entering into someone’s dwelling is not only a violation of property but also an invasion of personal space and privacy. Such actions can create a sense of insecurity and mistrust within the military community, undermining morale and cohesion. Additionally, the intent to commit a felony or theft exacerbates the seriousness of the offense, as it indicates premeditation and a disregard for the law and the rights of others.

Consequences for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

The penalties for a burglary conviction under Article 129 can be severe and vary depending on the circumstances of the offense and the service member’s prior record. Possible punishments include confinement, reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge. These consequences reflect the military’s commitment to maintaining order, discipline, and security within its ranks. A conviction for burglary can have long-lasting effects on a service member’s career, reputation, and future opportunities, both within and outside the military.

Article 129 UCMJ Burglary Court Martial Lawyers

Article 129 UCMJ’s provision on burglary underscores the importance of upholding the law and maintaining security within the military community. By defining and penalizing the act of breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony or theft, the military seeks to protect its members’ and their property’s rights and safety. Service members are expected to adhere to high standards of conduct, recognizing the broader implications of their actions on their units and the military.

Selecting the Best Military Defense Lawyers for Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Examples of conduct that could constitute a violation of Article 129 UCMJ Burglary:

  1. Breaking into a Fellow Service Member’s Home: Forcing entry into a colleague’s home to steal personal belongings.
  2. Entering a Dormitory Room Unlawfully: Using a stolen key to enter a barracks room with the intent to commit theft.
  3. Smashing a Window to Gain Entry: Breaking a window to enter an office building to steal computer equipment.
  4. Using Lock-Picking Tools: Utilizing lock-picking tools to access a secured storage room to steal military equipment.
  5. Entering a Closed Office After Hours: Forcing open an office door after working hours to steal classified documents.
  6. Breaking into a Vehicle: Smashing a car window to steal a laptop left inside.
  7. Tampering with a Security System: Disabling a security alarm to break into a restricted area to commit theft.
  8. Entering a Warehouse Illegally: Breaking into a supply warehouse to steal valuable goods.
  9. Forcing Entry into a Private Residence: Using force to enter a house on base to steal jewelry.
  10. Entering an Unauthorized Building: Sneaking into a closed mess hall to steal food supplies.
  11. Gaining Access Through a Back Door: Using a crowbar to force open a shop’s back door on base to steal cash.
  12. Climbing Through a Window: Climbing through an open window to access a restricted area for theft.
  13. Breaking into a Storage Unit: Forcing the lock on a storage unit to steal stored military gear.
  14. Entering a Chapel Unlawfully: Breaking into a base chapel to steal donation money.
  15. Accessing a Fellow Service Member’s Locker: Using a stolen combination to access and steal items from a locker.
  16. Breaking into a Clubhouse: Forcing entry into a base recreational facility to steal equipment.
  17. Entering a Tool Shed Illegally: Breaking into a shed to steal tools.
  18. Accessing a Warehouse with Fake Credentials: Using forged credentials to gain unauthorized entry to a warehouse for theft.
  19. Breaking into an Office for Personal Information: Entering an office to steal personal identification documents.
  20. Entering a Gym After Hours: Breaking into a base gym to steal sports equipment.
  21. Gaining Entry to a Medical Facility: Forcing entry into a medical clinic to steal prescription drugs.
  22. Breaking into a Command Center: Forcing entry into a command center to steal sensitive military plans.
  23. Entering a Maintenance Shop: Breaking into a maintenance shop to steal parts and tools.
  24. Accessing a Food Storage Facility: Forcing entry into a food storage facility to steal rations.
  25. Breaking into a Barracks: Forcing entry into a barracks room to steal personal electronics.

Each of these examples involves breaking and entering with the intent to commit theft or another felony, violating the standards of good order and discipline expected in the military, thus constituting a violation of Article 129 UCMJ Burglary.

Sample cases involving Article 129 UCMJ Burglary with U.S. military service members (names and details are fictitious):

Case 1: RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Case Details: Sergeant Mark Thompson, stationed at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, was caught breaking into the home of a fellow service member with the intent to steal electronics. Thompson used a crowbar to force open a window and was apprehended by base security while attempting to flee with a laptop and a gaming console.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Thompson faced a court-martial and was sentenced to a reduction in rank to Private, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and 18 months of confinement. He received a dishonorable discharge, ending his military career. The incident caused a breach of trust within his unit and led to stricter security measures on base housing.

Case 2: Camp Humphreys, South Korea Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Case Details: Private First Class Emily Park, stationed at Camp Humphreys in South Korea, broke into another soldier’s quarters to steal cash and personal items. She gained entry by picking the lock on the back door. Her actions were discovered when the victim reported missing items, and an investigation revealed Park’s involvement through surveillance footage.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Park was court-martialed and received a bad conduct discharge, six months of confinement, and forfeiture of pay. Her actions led to mandatory security briefings for all personnel and increased patrols around living quarters. The burglary severely damaged her reputation and future employment prospects.

Case 3: Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Case Details: Lieutenant John Carter, stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, was charged with burglary after breaking into a fellow officer’s apartment to steal classified documents. Carter used a spare key he had secretly obtained. His actions were discovered when the victim noticed the missing documents and reported it to security.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Carter faced a court-martial and was sentenced to a reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay, two years of confinement, and a dishonorable discharge. The case led to heightened security protocols for handling classified materials and personal quarters. Carter’s career was effectively over, and he faced significant legal and personal consequences.

Case 4: Vilseck Army Garrison, Germany Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Case Details: Staff Sergeant Lisa Mueller, stationed at Vilseck in Germany, broke into the on-base home of another service member with the intent to steal jewelry and cash. Mueller gained entry by breaking a window. She was caught by the homeowner who returned unexpectedly and called base security.

Repercussions and Career Impact:

Mueller was court-martialed and received a bad conduct discharge, 12 months of confinement, and forfeiture of pay. The incident led to mandatory personal security training and an increase in security patrols. Her military career ended in disgrace, and she faced challenges in civilian life due to her criminal record.

Case 5: Fort Liberty, North Carolina Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Case Details: Corporal James Davis, stationed at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, was found guilty of burglary after breaking into the home of a fellow soldier to steal firearms. Davis used a bolt cutter to break into the locked garage where the firearms were stored. He was apprehended after attempting to sell the stolen guns.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Davis faced a court-martial and received a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and three years of confinement. The case led to stricter controls on storing personal firearms on base and increased security measures. Davis’s military career was destroyed, and he faced severe legal consequences.

Case 6: Joint Base San Antonio, Texas Article 129 UCMJ Burglary

Case Details: Sergeant First Class Robert Green, stationed at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, broke into a senior officer’s home to steal sensitive personal information. Green used a lock-picking set to gain entry. The burglary was discovered when the officer noticed unauthorized access to their files and reported it.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Green was court-martialed and sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and 24 months of confinement. The incident prompted a review of base security policies and additional training on safeguarding personal information. Green’s actions resulted in the end of his military career and severe personal repercussions.

Each of these cases illustrates the serious consequences of violating Article 129 UCMJ Burglary, highlighting the potential for significant legal penalties, career-ending impacts, and the broader effects on military discipline and security.

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