Gonzalez & Waddington – Attorneys at Law

Army Military Defense Lawyers Court-Martial Attorneys

Army Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Military Justice: The Role of Army Criminal Defense Lawyers

The role of Army criminal defense lawyers in many ways is what one might expect. It is the job of these Army military defense lawyers to combat charges levied against their clients. However, the specifics are a bit more complex. Let’s keep reading to find out how.
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Overview of Military Justice in the United States Army

Court-martial lawyers are working in a different system than traditional lawyers. While their clients still have certain rights, the specifics of a given trial can vary significantly from what most expect.

There are three types of court-martial: summary court-martial, special court-martial, and general court-martial.

As a general rule, the more serious your charges, the more resources the military devotes to the trial. In a summary court-martial, one commissioned officer serves as judge and jury. In a general court-martial, you will face a panel of eight jurors or a military judge sitting alone. This is relevant because the accused does not have a right to a free military lawyer during the least severe court-martial, the summary courts-martial. However, you can still hire an experienced civilian military defense lawyer if you so wish. A seasoned and well-respected court-martial defense attorney is important for building an adequate defense, like a traditional criminal defense lawyer in civilian court. Unless you face very mild charges, you should always try to ensure you have one. If you are found guilty in a military court, sentencing will begin immediately. While many works of fiction get this wrong, this is different than in a civilian court, where sentencing after a guilty verdict can come weeks later.
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What to Do If Accused of a Crime in the Army

If accused or charged with a crime in the Army, even if you believe the charges are meritless, contact the best military defense lawyers possible. Do not make any statements to Army CID investigators. In addition, do not consent to any searches or seizures. Finally, do not agree to take a CID polygraph. At that point, the best legal strategy is similar to that in the civilian criminal justice system. You should hire an experienced civilian military defense lawyer or demand a free Army TDS lawyer immediately and exercise your right to remain silent. To a naive outsider, this approach may seem suspicious. However, silence is not an admittance of guilt, whereas military JAG prosecutors can and will use anything you say against you. It is often easy to get someone accused of a crime to misspeak or take their words out of context to get a conviction. Military defense lawyers, meanwhile, are experts in military law. They will help guide you through the legal process and build a defense for the charges levied against you. Note that it isn’t “wrong” to exercise the legal rights you are owed. The legal system is, in theory, designed so that you can have a fair trial. So use all the rights available to you to improve the chances of a good case outcome.

Your Rights at an Army  Court-Martial

The bulk of your legal rights are outlined in the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). Because military law is complex, you should discuss your rights and defense strategy with the best court-martial lawyer possible, before you are charged. While those in the military are in theory protected by the United States Constitution, it is notable that the Constitutional rights of US service members are sometimes limited.
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Collateral Consequences of a Military Conviction

  • Loss of all veteran and government benefits
  • Loss of disability and unemployment benefits
  • Loss of voting rights.
  • Loss of the ability to legally own or possess firearms.
  • Inability to qualify for bank loans or college financial aid.
  • Difficulty in obtaining meaningful employment.
  • Criminal records will remain in law enforcement databases.

Military Sexual Crimes Article 120 UCMJ in the Army

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Collateral Consequences of Sex Offender Registration:

  • Denied housing
  • Loss of family
  • Isolation
  • No educational opportunities
  • Unemployable
  • Physical assault
  • Increased homelessness
  • Harassment
  • Financial hardship
  • Stigmatization
  • The decline in mental health
  • No internet access
  • Deterioration of social bonds
  • Loss of residency

Problems With the Modern System

Like any justice system, the military justice system has evolved a great deal over the decades. Many of these changes are welcome. for example, in the modern military justice system, accusations, even those against superior officers, are taken much more seriously than they once were. However, a problem arose as the pendulum swung in the other direction. At times, the court can take an almost “guilty until proven innocent” approach to very serious charges, such as sexual assault. Undeniably, military sexual assault is a genuine problem, and we should charge those who commit such acts, regardless of rank. Unfortunately, however, false accusations are somewhat common and can harm those accused. It is important for those accused of sexual assault to look at specifically military sexual assault lawyers. These cases are legally complex and require expertise to maneuver through what has become a political minefield. While we can and should call for change to become more just, wanting that change won’t fix the present reality. If accused of a felony, especially one sexual in nature, prepare for a serious legal battle.

Seeking Army Criminal Defense Lawyers?

Army criminal defense lawyers are in some ways the last line of defense between you and a criminal conviction in a military court-martial. Their job is important and ensures you receive the full protections of the law. If you are facing military charges or expect to, the Army military defense lawyers at Gonzalez & Waddington can help. We are well-reviewed and able to help you combat all manner of both minor and serious military charges.
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Punishments if convicted at various levels of military courts-martials.

Summary court-martial maximum sentence:

  • One month confinement
  • Hard labor without confinement for 45 days, Restriction for two months
  • Forfeiture of two-thirds of 1 month’s pay.
  • Enlisted members above E-4 may not be sentenced to confinement, hard labor without confinement, or reduced pay grade beyond one pay grade.

Special court-martial maximum sentence:

  • Bad Conduct Discharge (enlisted)
  • Forfeiture of two-thirds pay
  • Confinement for twelve months
  • Reduction to the grade of E-1
  • A fine
  • A reprimand
  • Hard about without confinement
  • Restriction
  • If convicted of certain sexual offenses, the service member has to register as a sex offender.

General court-martial maximum sentence:

  • Dishonorable discharge (enlisted)
  • Dismissal (officers)
  • A Dishonorable Discharge or Dismissal is mandatory for certain sexual offenses.
  • Total Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for life without eligibility for parole
  • Death
  • Reduction to the grade of E-1
  • A fine
  • A reprimand
  • Hard about without confinement
  • Restriction
  • If convicted of certain sexual offenses, the service member has to register as a sex offender.

Administrative Separations in the Army

Distinct from being court-martialed, military defense lawyers can also help with administrative separations. These are administrative proceedings meant to determine if you will remain in the Army. Administrative separations can be complex, and their outcomes have long-reaching consequences. for example, they determine if you will remain in the service and what the characterization of that service will be.

Selecting the best Army military defense lawyers

Selecting the best military defense lawyers possible is critical during this process. A skilled court-martial defense attorney can help you to determine the best course of action. For instance, it is sometimes better to waive the board but knowing when is something you should discuss with an Army criminal defense lawyer.
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Our Army court-martial defense attorneys defend Soldiers at the following Army installations worldwide:

Alabama Army Installations

Alaska Army Installations

Arizona Army Installations

California Army Installations

Colorado Army Installations

District of Columbia Army Installations

Georgia Army Installations

Hawaii Army Installations

Kansas Army Installations

Kentucky Army Installations

Louisiana Army Installations

Maryland Army Installations

Mississippi  Army Installations

Missouri Army Installations

New Jersey Army Installations

New Mexico Army Installations

New York Army Installations

North Carolina Army Installations

Oklahoma Army Installations

Pennsylvania Army Installations

Puerto Rico Army Installations

South Carolina Army Installations

Texas Army Installations

Virginia Army Installations

Washington Army Installations

Overseas US Army Installations where our Army criminal defense lawyers defend Soldiers:

Call 1-800-921-8607


fill out this form to speak with a court martial defense attorney.

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We only represent service members facing military offenses and military administrative proceedings. We do not represent service members in State or Local court matters.

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