What to Know About Article 134 and Military Kidnapping

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When you seize and confine someone it is considered kidnapping. Under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), kidnapping is a crime. Article 134 covers a variety of offenses that don’t fit under any other Article. In order to be convicted of kidnapping, prosecutors must prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

What Are the Elements of Kidnapping?

The elements of kidnapping under Article 134 of the UCMJ are the following:

  1. The accused confined, seized, decoyed, carried away, or inveigled a certain individual;
  2. The accused held the individual against their will;
  3. The accused committed these acts willfully and wrongfully; and
  4. The circumstances surrounding the incident were adverse to the discipline and good order of the armed forces, or the nature of the act brought discredit upon the armed forces.

Does Intent Matter in Order to Prove Kidnapping?

It’s important to understand that it doesn’t matter whether or not the accused intended to commit kidnapping. For instance, a trainee was arrested for hijacking a school bus, which was full of children at the time. Despite telling the school bus driver that he had no intent to hurt anyone, and he didn’t, he was still charged with kidnapping. The only reason that the accused’s intent matters is for purposes of additional charges based on aggravating factors.

What Are the Consequences of Kidnapping?

When a member of the military is convicted of kidnapping under Article 134 of the UCMJ, there are various consequences that may be handed down. 

  • Reduction in their pay grade
  • Forfeiture of all pay
  • Dishonorable discharge
  • Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole

Much of the decision to convict someone of kidnapping depends on witness testimony and other evidence. There are a lot of questions for the court to consider, such as: 

  • Whether the victim was harmed
  • Whether the victim was forcefully taken
  • Whether the victim went willingly

The military prosecutors likely believe that they have an easy case of kidnapping. However, with the help of a qualified attorney, you can fight these charges.

The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible. If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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