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UCMJ Article 79 (Conviction of Offense Charged)

R. Davis Younts

Military Lawyer

Article 79 of the UCMJ (Conviction of Offense Charged, Lesser Included Offenses, and Attempts)

The article have various charges, grouped into 4 categories:

  • The offense charged: This refers to the original crime for which a service member is accused.
  • A lesser included offense: This is an offense automatically charged alongside the original offense. It may be designated by regulation prescribed by the President or a regulatory authority.
  • An attempt to commit the offense charged.
  • An attempt to commit a lesser included offense, provided that such an attempt is considered an offense on its own.

Article 79 is unique in that it doesn’t provide specific elements within its description. Instead, one must refer to the more serious offense for which the service member is being charged to understand the elements involved.

According to the Manual for Court Martial, a lesser included offense fulfills one of the following conditions:

  • All elements of the lesser offense are included in the greater offense, and the common elements are identical.
  • All elements of the lesser offense are included in the greater offense, but at least one element is a subset and legally less serious.
  • All elements of the lesser offense are “included and necessary” parts of the greater offense, but the mental element is a subset and legally less serious.

While service members can be charged with multiple lesser offenses, they cannot be specifically charged with a violation of Article 79 due to the lesser offenses already being included with the greater offense.

What is the maximum Punishment of the Article 79 UCMJ? 

The maximum possible punishment for an Article 79 conviction, it is based on the provisions for lesser included offenses as specified in the UCMJ article related to the greater offense.

If someone is facing charges under Article 79 as a principal of a crime, it’s crucial to seek immediate legal representation. Attorney R. Davis Younts has been a prosecutor, a JAG (Judge Advocate General),He’s been practicing law for two decades. Call attorney R. Davis Younts at (833) 739-5291 or (717) 612-4840. Free consultation.

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