UCMJ Article 119

Home -  UCMJ Article 119

Military personnel often operate under conditions and from a mindset that most careers do not require. Because of their high calling, they are also held to high standards. The Uniform Code of Military Justice is an example of this. Also known as the UCMJ, this code outlines specific laws and regulations that military personnel are held to once they enter the service. Many of these laws, such as UCMJ Article 119, parallel the standard laws United States citizens are held to.

UCMJ Article 119 refers to the criminal act of manslaughter. This article defines and provides a general explanation of the consequences of both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Both are serious charges with intense repercussions, and it’s important to have representation that can help you understand your rights if you are facing charges.

UCMJ Article 119

Aaron Meyer Law

With Aaron Meyer Law on your side, you can rest assured that your rights will be defended with precision and care. When you choose Aaron Meyer Law, you are choosing someone who will fight for you.

Meyer began his law career when he served in the United States Marine Corps, where he was commissioned as a Marine Officer and Judge Advocate (JAG). He became passionate about protecting those who gave their lives to protect the United States during his service. His time spent in service helped him understand not only the law but also the life and viewpoint of someone from a military background.

“He stuck by me throughout the entire length of the investigation and trial reassuring me and my family that everything will work out. My family and I will never forget the personal sacrifices he made to ensure the truth was exposed.”J.E. Former Client

Manslaughter vs. Murder

The main difference between the crimes of manslaughter and murder is the intent behind the crime. Manslaughter is the term used when someone unintentionally kills another person. Their death was not planned or premeditated. Cases of negligence, recklessness, and accidents are sometimes defined as manslaughter. Murder, on the other hand, refers to cases where someone has intentionally decided to kill a person and taken planned steps to do so.


Manslaughter can be divided into two categories: involuntary and voluntary. The distinction depends greatly on the intention and situation that led to the death of a person. While both are considered serious crimes, voluntary manslaughter carries a bit more weight than involuntary. The time of imprisonment may be longer, and other penalties may be harsher.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter is when a person unintentionally kills another person. This often happens through negligence or disregard for that person. There are also occasions when someone commits involuntary manslaughter while in the process of committing another crime, such as driving while under the influence.

Additional examples of involuntary manslaughter include:

  • Misfiring a gun and shooting someone.
  • Killing someone while in the middle of a robbery by pushing or shoving them aside.
  • Texting while driving and hitting another vehicle, resulting in the driver’s death.
  • Failing to keep your dog from attacking someone who dies as a result of related injuries.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is when someone intentionally takes someone else’s life, but it wasn’t premeditated. This is sometimes referred to as a crime of passion. This type of homicide happens as a result of intense emotion or lack of control. In these cases, the timing of the murder in relation to the provocation is important. If it can be proven that the defendant had time to consider their actions, they could face murder charges instead.

Examples of voluntary manslaughter can include:

  • Some cases of self-defense.
  • Killing an unfaithful spouse upon witnessing them cheating.
  • Failing to control oneself after being taunted or teased.
  • A parent killing someone they believe to be threatening their child.
  • Assisted suicide.

Consequences if Found Guilty

Although committing manslaughter will not result in the same degree of punishment as murder, it is still a serious conviction. Members of the military who violate Article 119 of the UCMJ for voluntary manslaughter can face consequences that include an honorable discharge, the forfeiture of all future pay, and a prison sentence for up to twenty years. Those found guilty of involuntary manslaughter could face the same charges with a prison sentence of up to fifteen years.

Can I Represent Myself?

The laws and punishments regarding those convicted of manslaughter are fairly straightforward. However, hiring a lawyer to help you through the process is of utmost importance. Even in the case that you plan to plead guilty, having someone to represent you who is familiar with legal proceedings is vital.

Your need for a lawyer goes far beyond the courtroom scene. In the weeks and months leading up to your trial, how you conduct yourself during interviews and appointments is key. An experienced lawyer can help you know your rights and keep you from doing and saying things that may cause you grief in the long run. After the unsettling events that you have been through, it can be difficult to work through the prerequisites of going to court. A lawyer can take care of this for you.


Building a good defense is all about technicality. Understanding what the law says, specifically, and then determining how it does and does not apply to your situation can greatly impact your verdict.

For example, in recent years, it has been determined through the trials of others that in order to be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, according to UCMJ Article 119, you must have in some way applied physical force to the body of the individual who died. Simply selling someone a drug that they later died from is not enough to be convicted.

Other possible defenses include:

  • The individual’s death was due to the performance of legal military duty or of obedience to orders.
  • Self-defense
  • Absence of adequate mental capacity or responsibility
  • An accident with no malintent

Having an attorney who knows how to collect evidence to prove your innocence can make or break your case. A lawyer, such as Aaron Meyer, who knows the ins and outs of past court decisions related to your case, can help build an inarguable defense.

Secure Legal Representation Today

Being accused of a crime and dealing with the court process can be both harrowing and exhausting. When you choose Aaron Meyer Law as your defense law firm, you can rest assured knowing that he will leave no detail unanalyzed. Having years of experience and success in related cases, Aaron Meyer Law can fight for you like no other law firm. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Request A Free Consultation

Fields Marked With An “*” Are Required

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

© Copyright 2024 Aaron Meyer Law • All rights reserved.

Disclaimer | Site Map | Privacy Policy

Digital Marketing By rize media