Article 123 UCMJ: Forgery Rules & Regulations in Military

Today, we are going to take a look at Article 123 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This is a serious offense and a person can face major punishments if convicted of an Article 123.

We are going to examine the Article 123 under the the UCMJ so you have a complete understanding.

What An Article 123 Is

An Article 123 under the Uniform Code of Military Justice is forgery. This means it is a false signature or writing that is meant to defraud another person or entity.

2 Elements Of An Article 123

There are 2 ways a service member can be charged with an Article 123:

  1. Making or altering – This is when the perpetrator actually creates a document and signs another signature or alters a document with a different signature or information with the intent of defrauding another.
  2. Uttering – This is when the perpetrator may not have actually done the making or altering, but attempts to pass the document off as true to gain something of value.

Keep in mind that this charge must carry an intent to defraud. If the intent was simply to deceive but the perpetrator had no intention of defrauding, this charge may not stand in court.

article 123 ucmj

How A Service Member’s Counsel Will Look Into Battling This Charge

It is always important to remember that it is up to prosecutors to prove the accused knowingly meant to defraud using forgery. Some areas that a defense attorney will examine are:

  • Could a 3rd party be used to review the paper trail?
  • Can the forgery be completely connected to the accused, or could another person possibly forged the documents?
  • Did law enforcement properly handle the evidence? Did they make any mistakes?
  • Did the accused stand to gain from the forged instrument? Would it be monetary or to avoid duty?
  • Was the accused manipulated into this?

These are all areas a good defense attorney will look at.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Article 126 UCMJ: A Brief Overview
  2. and Article 129 UCMJ: A Brief Overview
  3. Article 131 UCMJ: A Brief Overview
  4. Article 133 UCMJ: A Brief Overview
  5. Times When Disobeying A Direct Order Is The Right Thing To Do

What Punishments Does An Article 123 Carry?

This is a crime that carries extreme punishments if convicted…

  • A demotion to E1
  • Loss of all pay and allowances
  • Prison for 5 years
  • and a dishonorable discharge

As you can see, the punishments can be huge.

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you know has been charged with an Article 123, I highly recommend that you contact an attorney who is experienced in criminal law as well as the UCMJ.

While we are willing to try and answer questions here at Part Time Commander, keep in mind that we are not attorneys and we will decline to answer any questions that would be better answered by a law professional.

I hope this gave you some understanding of the UCMJ Article 123.

Feel free to post your comments and questions below.

Thank you

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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