Court Martial Defense

Court Martial Defense

A court-martial is frightening, daunting, and may even seem hopeless. Your military career and reputation are in jeopardy. You fear being imprisoned and torn away from your family and friends. Everything seems to be going wrong and nobody is helping you, especially not the military.

  • If convicted of anything, how will you be punished and how will that punishment negatively impact the rest of your life? 
  • What, if any, military benefits remain if separated with a dishonorable discharge, dismissal, bad conduct discharge, or a general or other than honorable (OTH) characterization of service?  
  • Why don’t military investigators believe me? If there is a mountain of evidence against me, do I have any chance to win? If I’m innocent, could I still be found guilty?

You’re searching for the best: military veterans that battled and won when they were in uniform and continue to do so now that they are out. You’re searching for seasoned court-martial defense lawyers that are aggressive, hard-hitting, and can speak to you in an honest and no-nonsense way because they know the military system from top to bottom.   

Let us give you hope.

The Government Wants to Win – Know What You’re Up Against

Our court martial lawyers and attorneys have been defending military servicemembers around the world for decades. We’ve seen scary things during that time, including but not limited to:

  • Illegal law enforcement conduct. Searches and seizures without warrants (illegal), the planting of evidence (illegal), forced confessions (illegal), and illegal tactics in sting operations. In one instance, after a military judge made a defense-friendly ruling, prosecutors rummaged through the judge’s personnel file in an attempt to find information to get him kicked from the trial…and it worked.
  • Enormous expenditures to win convictions. Prosecutors have vast amounts of money, manpower, and investigative resources like forensic labs at their disposal. So it is unsurprising that the government conviction rate is at about 91%. Very few defense attorneys have the ability to withstand that onslaught of money, manpower, and resources.
  • Mob-like mentality. In mobs, common sense, reason, and compassion often become secondary because the mob is hyper-focused on their objective. Expect this mentality from military prosecutors. Their objective is to win, so don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Military Crime Practice Areas

Sexual Crimes – For a service member accused of a sex crime under the UCMJ, the stakes couldn’t be much higher. And like you, your opponent—the government—wants to win. That’s why you need an experienced, aggressive, and dedicated legal team that specializes in sex assault cases. If you or a loved one are being investigated for or charged with, allegations of rape, sexual assault, or any other sex crime, let us help you win your case.

Drug Crimes – With its “zero tolerance” policy on drugs, it’s an understatement to say that the military takes drug crimes seriously. If you’ve been accused of the possession, trafficking, introduction or use of drugs as a military member, your career, reputation, and freedom are all at risk. See how we will fight your charges.

Violent Crimes – As a military service member, being accused of violent crime can lead to a lengthy prison sentence, a destroyed reputation and military career, and negative second and third-order effects like the right to use or own a gun or firearm for years—if not decades—to come. Learn more about how we will defend you against charges of murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, and more.

Larceny and Financial Crimes – Our lawyers defend military service members against all larceny and financial crimes. We have dealt with theft and fraud cases involving a very small value, to over a million dollars. Whether your case involves BAH, OHA, or DTS fraud, theft of military property, procurement card fraud, and so on, discover how we will defend against your court-martial charges.

Absent Without Leave (AWOL), Unauthorized Absence (UA), and Desertion – We get it. For a long list of reasons, sometimes service members wind up not being where they are supposed to be. And often the command just doesn’t care about the circumstances explaining why that might happen. Other times the service member didn’t even know he was supposed to be somewhere, but the unit thinks otherwise. If you are accused of being AWOL, UA, or in a desertion status, find out what you may be facing and how we can help.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice – The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the cornerstone of military law. In addition to the UCMJ, the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), the service appellate courts, and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (C.A.A.F.), form the primary basis of military jurisprudence. However, as the highest court in the land, decisions by the United States Supreme Court still apply to and must be followed by all United States armed forces.

Do I Have to Go to Court Martial If I Committed a Crime Under the UCMJ?

No. A military commanding officer has a tremendous amount of power to determine how a military service member’s misconduct is dealt with. What that determination is, depends on the interplay between the circumstances and nature of the misconduct and the commanding officer’s duty to maintain good order and discipline within the unit. Thus, rather than convene a court-martial, for some misconduct the commander may decide to deal with the matter via nonjudicial punishment or other administrative means (e.g., a written or verbal reprimand or administrative separation).

Unfortunately, it is not just a court-martial conviction that can have a lasting negative impact on a service member. Administrative action, be it an NJP, a GOMOR, NPLOC, LOC, or another form of reprimand, a Board of Inquiry (BOI), or an administrative separation hearing, can be just as destructive to your military career and long-term future. An experienced military defense attorney can help defend you against all of these command actions.

Maximum Sentence For Military Crimes – The maximum sentence in the military is death, but it is rarely given. More often than not, service members convicted at court-martial serve jail time. The maximum sentence for any crime under the UCMJ is found in the Manual for Courts-Martial. Additionally, although not characterized as a punishment in the military, a service member convicted of certain sex offenses will be required to register as a sex offender under the laws of the state wherein the member resides.

The stigma of a Dishonorable Discharge or any other punitive or administrative discharge that is not an Honorable Discharge has lasting repercussions and could significantly impact your ability to get a well-paying job in the future. It will certainly have a negative impact on your ability to use the experience you gained by serving in the military. Don’t be just another statistic in the military criminal justice system and get started clearing your good name now.

The Court Martial Process

The court-martial process generally consists of the following distinct parts:

  1. Law Enforcement Investigation
  2. Preferral of Charges (General or Special Court Martial)
  3. Article 32 Hearing (General Court Martial Only)
  4. Referral Of Charges
  5. Motions and Litigation
  6. Trial
  7. Sentencing Hearing (if convicted)
  8. Appeals