Article 129 UCMJ: A Brief Overview

Today, we are going to take a look at Article 129 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Many of us wonder why anyone in the military would ever face an Article 129, but it does, and has happened.

What An Article 129 Is

An Article 129 is burglary. This is stated as follows: Any person who breaks and enters, in the nighttime, the dwelling of another person.

One thing to note, the Article 129 should always carry other charges with it. This is because, a person can only be charged if they were doing so to commit any of the following offenses:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Larceny
  • Robbery
  • Sodomy
  • Arson
  • Extortion
  • Assault
  • Etc…

Burglary Requires Breaking In

If the front door of a residence is unlocked and the criminal just walks in, the Article 129 may not hold up in court. Burglary means the person must break and enter, not just enter.

But, the criminal will most likely face other charges.

Elements Of Burglary: Article 129

These 3 elements must be met to charge with an Article 129:

  1. The accused broke into and entered the victim’s dwelling house unlawfully
  2. The accused broke into and entered the dwelling during the nighttime
  3. The accused intended to commit an offense punishable under Article 118 through 128

If any of these elements are not present, a prosecutor should not charge with an Article 129.

And the term breaking can be actual or constructive.

Breaking a lock or a window is actual. Poising as a utility worker, hiding or working with a person who resides in the home would be considered constructive breaking.

If The Elements Are Not Met

The UCMJ has covered areas if burglary can not be the charge. The criminal could be charged with

  • Article 80 – Attempts
  • Article 130 – Housebreaking
  • or Article 134 – Unlawful Entry

If A Person Is Found Guilty

If the person is found guilty of an Article 129, he/she will also probably be found guilty of other offenses. But the maximum punishments for this could be:

  • A dishonorable discharge
  • Complete loss of pay and allowances
  • 10 years prison sentence
  • Demoted to the lowest rank of E1

Final Thoughts

I really hope that no one reading this will ever have to face an Article 129.

It behooves me as to why or how this could happen in the military, but it has. And. Like it mentions it is because the criminal is intent on breaking another law.

While we are not attorneys, you are free to ask any questions and we will attempt to get an answer to you.

If you or anyone you know is facing an Article 129, we strongly recommend you get an attorney experienced in military law.

I hope this helps you understand the Article 129, Burglary.

Please leave your comments and questions below.


Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Article 131 UCMJ: A Brief Overview
  2. Article 133 UCMJ: A Brief Overview
  3. Times When Disobeying A Direct Order Is The Right Thing To Do
  4. The Article 138 Process: What Every Soldier Should Know
  5. Uniform Code of Military Justice Facts: 10 Things You Should Know
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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