Defending Those Who Defend Us®

Court-Martial Defense

If you have recently been served a preferred charged sheet  for a courts-martial or other military legal proceedings, such as an Article 32 Hearing, then you should be flanked by a local court-martial military lawyer who can best protect your rights and defend your integrity. Read more about court-martials below.

What Is A Court-Martial?

A courts-martial is a federal court convened by a Commanding Officer/General to adjudicate the alleged criminal misconduct of a military servicemember. Another way to understand a court-martial is as the military’s version of a trial—in which other members of the military render a finding on a servicemember’s guilt or innocence, and any ensuing punishment. Depending on the severity of the charges, a courts-martial will take one of the following three forms:

General Court-Martial

A general court-martial is reserved for the most serious crimes, including murder, sexual assault, and high-dollar larceny and/or fraud. A Commanding Officer/General may refer such charges to a general court-martial because this type of proceeding has no maximum jurisdictional limitations on punishment. The jury at a general court-martial can punish as much as the criminal statute allows—and many criminal statutes calculate duration of confinement in decades rather than in years. A pretrial Article 32 hearing is required before charges can be referred to a general court-martial.

Special Court-Martial

Special courts-martial usually handle criminal matters of a misdemeanor-type nature, such as a drug offense, simple assault, order violation, or unlawful absence. Punishment may not include confinement longer than one year. Though less grave than general courts-martial convictions, a special court-martial conviction will result in a criminal record for the military member and could have serious detrimental effects on career and benefits.

Summary Court-Martial

Summary courts-martial are generally uncontested administrative hearings, rarely offered unless the servicemember acknowledges misconduct. There is no judge or jury present at a summary court-martial; instead, a sole officer chosen by the Commanding Officer/General hears the matter and renders a decision on punishment. Outcomes can include confinement up to 30 days, but neither criminal conviction nor punitive discharge is permissible. Nonetheless, consequences of a summary court-martial decision can be serious, and a servicemember considering pleading guilty to one should seek a court-martial attorney.

If you are involved in military court-martial proceedings it is very important that you speak with an experienced court-martial attorney right away. Contact our court-martial lawyers now to learn more.

Military Justice Attorneys

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!