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Coast Guard Military Defense Lawyers

Criminal Defense Lawyers for the Coast Guard

The UCMJ forms the backbone of the military’s legal system and applies to all active duty, national guard and reserves, and retired armed forces personnel across all branches. If you or someone close to you has been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, you must immediately turn to military defense lawyers for help. Our civilian defense lawyers have a history of representing members of the Coast Guard in UCMJ and non-judicial administrative matters. 

Coast Guard Criminal Defense Lawyers

Members of the Coast Guard need to know their rights. Members of the Coast Guard have the Constitutional right to be represented by a skilled military criminal defense attorney. Don’t wait to hire a court-martial defense counsel. Act now and contact the hard-hitting court-martial attorneys at Gonzalez & Waddington. Our military criminal defense lawyers can handle your charges and defend your reputation. Whether you are facing charges of Sexual assault, Article 120b, Article 120c, Assault – Article 128, UCMJ, Deposit of Obscene Matters – Article 120a, UCMJ, the court-martial lawyers at Gonzalez & Waddington can help.

Coast Guard UCMJ Overview

The Coast Guard is an exclusive military branch responsible for a wide range of marine tasks. These tasks include guaranteeing safe and legal trade to rescue people in dangerous situations. Recent high-profile military sexual assault cases have increased public interest in military regulations. As a result, the presiding authority’s ability to offer compassion to a military member guilty of a crime is being called into question.

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

Collateral Consequences of a Coast Guard 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.

Coast Guard Court-Martial Lawyers

If you, as a member of the Coast Guard or any sector of the armed forces, are a suspect in a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), you will face a court-martial. Some military criminal charges, such as sexual crimes or drug usage, are comparable to civilian offenses. However, others, such as desertion or leaving your post without permission, are specific to the military way of life. A military defendant should understand the court-martial procedure.

General Court-Martial

If you have committed a serious crime, such as military sexual assault, rape, or murder, you will face a general court-martial. 

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.

The Court-Martial Process

The typical court-martial procedure begins with a report to a commanding officer (CO). The CO may then decide whether or not to press charges against the accused. Depending on the circumstances, the CO may merely threaten a court-martial but rather replace it with military punishment. After facing a charge, a military member may enter pleas in court, just like a civilian. A military criminal defense lawyer will help you negotiate a favorable plea deal in exchange for lower punishment. If the matter goes to trial, it will likely include jury selection (voir dire), opening statements, direct examination, cross-examinations, presentation of witnesses and evidence, and closing arguments. Finally, if there is a conviction, then there will be a sentencing proceeding.

Know Your Rights

While under investigation, your actions will directly affect your chances of winning at trial. Here are three basic rights that you should use:

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Service members have the full right to stay silent if confronted about a possible UCMJ breach. Making statements to CGIS or other law enforcement seldom helps and may result in further penalties. For example, if your testimony differs from the alleged victim’s, you may be punished for giving a false official statement or perverting the course of justice. Cooperating with the police will not stop the military from acting against you. On the contrary, it will only strengthen the government’s case.

The Right to Refuse Consent

You are also not obliged to agree to any search warrant of yourself or your property. Before performing a search, investigators must seek permission from their commander. The only way police may search or take your property without probable cause is with your permission.

The Right to Seek Legal Advice

Before relinquishing their rights, military people accused of a crime have the full right to consult with an attorney, military, or civilian. Therefore, if you are accused of a crime, you must contact an experienced sexual assault criminal defense attorney

Protect Yourself and Your Military Career

Our civilian military defense lawyers can help protect your job, life, and future. If you are facing sexual assault charges, Coast Guard military sexual assault lawyers will aggressively fight for you. Why not call us to ensure that your interests are protected? We are experienced Coast Guard, criminal defense lawyers. We have helped defend Coast Guard personnel subjected to an investigation, a court-martial, or sentencing for serious military sexual assault offenses and other UCMJ violations.  Contact us today.

Rape & Sexual Assault – Article 120 in the Coast Guard

Coast Guard Criminal Defense Lawyers

As well as being criminal, sexual assault violates the service’s core values of “Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.” As a result, improving its efforts to eliminate sexual assault from the Coast Guard’s unit has been a higher priority in recent years. The Coast Guard legal service is a “full-service” legal support agency. It provides legal guidance and counsel to the service’s decision-makers for any needs. Coast Guard members may face disciplinary and personnel procedures. As a service member, you are entitled to a military defense lawyer. Your military court-martial lawyer will help you negotiate the intricacies of the judicial and administrative procedures.

Punishments if convicted at a Coast Guard court-martial

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.

Administrative Separations in the Coast Guard

A military administrative separation occurs when a military career ends. It happens when your commander starts a non-judicial procedure to remove you from service. There are two administrative separations based on the severity of the crime. These are listed below.

Misdemeanor Crimes

There must be proof of two or more minor disciplinary measures to be administratively separated for a minor infraction. Your commander will decide what minor disciplinary infractions are. You require a pattern of discreditable behavior with military officials. Misconducts are breaches of the UCMJ, state criminal laws, and military conventions and traditions.

Sexual Assault in the Coast Guard

In 2019, the Coast Guard (CGIS) investigated 156 unrestricted reports of military sexual assault that alleged military sexual assault victims made to authorities. The Coast Guard leadership and their JAGs took many of these accusations to court-martial trials and administrative separation boards.

Administrative Separation from the Coast Guard: What Happens?

Your command will inform you in writing if you’re administratively separated. Describe the reasons for leaving and the suggested categorization of service. The suggested definition of service is critical since it may affect future eligibility for veterans benefits.

There are three types of administrative separation or discharge.

Honorable Discharge

A service member is given an Honorable discharge when they fulfill their military behavior and job performance. In addition, you must have had a good to outstanding performance rating. 

Under Honorable Conditions

A service member is given a general discharge when their bad actions outnumber their good actions. With this type of discharge, you cannot reenlist or transfer to another military branch. However, you will most likely retain all your VA benefits.

Other Than Honorable Conditions

An Other than Honorable (OTH) discharge may be given when the Coastie’s behavior differs greatly from the expected military behavior. If a service member receives an Other than Honorable (OTH) discharge, an OTH may jeopardize their veteran affairs benefits.

Our Coast Guard court-martial defense attorneys defend Coasties at the following Coast Guard Bases:

Coast Guard Bases

Alaska Coast Guard Bases

Base Support Unit Kodiak

The base began as the Navy’s Naval Air Station Kodiak in 1941. ISC Kodiak gained an outstanding reputation for providing Rock Solid support wherever it was needed.

Coast Guard Station Juneau

Coast Guard Station Juneau dates back to the mid-1950s. The original Station was located in Auke Bay and remained there until 1978, when it was moved to its current location. Then, as of now, the station performed all missions assigned today with the additional mission of servicing manned lighthouses.

Station Ketchikan

ISC Ketchikan was established on 22 May 1996 from elements of the former USCG Group Ketchikan and USCG Base Ketchikan, combined with personnel formerly assigned to the Seventeenth CG District Administration Division. Station Ketchikan responds to an average of 150 Search and Rescue cases annually.


Training Center Petaluma

The Coast Guard Training Center (TRACEN) Petaluma is much more than the sum of its schools. It’s a small town whose residents share a commitment to mission, respect, innovation, and a focus on personal development.


Integrated Support Command Miami

ISC Miami was created on 17 May 1996 from the merger of Base Miami Beach and some financial and administrative elements of the Seventh Coast Guard District Staff.


Integrated Support Command Honolulu

From Hawaii to Guam to Japan, ISC Honolulu supports 35 commands throughout the 14th District Area of Responsibility, including over 3,000 Coast Guard active duty members, reservists, civilians, auxiliaries, and their families. ISC Honolulu evolved from the former U.S. Lighthouse Service Depot at both Pier 4 and a 5-acre plot on Sand Island.

North Carolina

 Air Station Elizabeth City

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City is one of the busiest Air Stations in the Coast Guard. On any single day, aircrews may be as far away as Greenland, the Azores, or the Caribbean.


Sector Hampton Roads

On 15 July 2005, Marine Safety Office Hampton Roads, Group Hampton Roads, and Group Eastern Shore merged to become Sector Hampton Roads.

Training Center Yorktown

Training Center Yorktown occupies the easternmost tip of Virginia’s historical triangle, formed by Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. Yorktown’s moment in history began September 28, 1781, when a group of Colonial and French soldiers set out from Williamsburg to lay siege to the British Army that had fortified the seaport hamlet.

Alaska Coast Guard Bases

Anchorage Dutch Harbor Juneau Ketchikan Kodiak Sitka St. Paul Valdez

Alabama Coast Guard Bases


American Samoa Coast Guard Bases

Pago Pago

Arizona Coast Guard Bases


California Coast Guard Bases

Alameda Concord Long Beach Los Angeles McKinleyville Novato Oakland Oxnard Petaluma Point Reyes Station Sacramento San Diego San Francisco South San Francisco

Connecticut Coast Guard Bases

Groton New Haven New London

District of Columbia Coast Guard Bases


Florida Coast Guard Bases

Coast Guard Air Station Miami Military Defense Lawyers Coast Guard Sector Key West Military Defense Lawyer Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Military Defense Lawyers Miami Military Defense Lawyers St. Petersburg Military Defense Lawyers CGAS Clearwater Military Defense Lawyers Jacksonville Mayport Miami Beach Opa-Locka Sarasota Tampa

Georgia Coast Guard Bases

Glynco Savannah

Guam Coast Guard Bases

Santa Rita

Hawaii Coast Guard Bases


Illinois Coast Guard Bases


Kansas Coast Guard Bases


Kentucky Coast Guard Bases

Louisville Paducah

Louisiana Coast Guard Bases

Avondale Baton Rouge Houma Lockport Morgan City New Orleans

Massachusetts Coast Guard Bases

Barnstable Boston Natick New Bedford Otis AFB Weymouth Woods Hole JB Cape Cod Military Lawyer | Court Martial Attorney

Maryland Coast Guard Bases

Baltimore Columbia Glen Burnie Suitland

Maine Coast Guard Bases

Bucksport Portland South Portland Southwest Harbor

Michigan Coast Guard Bases

Cheboygan Detroit Detroit Beach Sault Ste Marie Selfridge AFB Traverse City

Minnesota Coast Guard Bases

Duluth Ray Warroad

Missouri Coast Guard Bases

St. Louis

Mississippi Coast Guard Bases


North Carolina Coast Guard Bases

Atlantic Beach Buxton Camp Lejeune Elizabeth City Wilmington

New Jersey Coast Guard Bases

Atlantic City Cape May Fort Dix Moorestown Wildwood Woodbine

New York Coast Guard Bases

Buffalo Coram New York New York -Richmond New York-Kings Staten Island

Ohio Coast Guard Bases

Cleveland Toledo

Oklahoma Coast Guard Bases

Oklahoma City

Oregon Coast Guard Bases

Astoria Medford North Bend Portland

Pennsylvania Coast Guard Bases

Philadelphia Pittsburgh

Puerto Rico Coast Guard Bases

Aguadilla San Juan

Rhode Island Coast Guard Bases

East Providence Providence Warwick

South Carolina Coast Guard Bases


Tennessee Coast Guard Bases

Memphis Millington

Texas Coast Guard Bases

Corpus Christi El Paso Galveston Houston Port Arthur South Padre Island

Virginia Coast Guard Bases

Alexandria Arlington Chesapeake Chincoteague Hampton Herndon Norfolk Portsmouth Rosslyn Virginia Beach Yorktown

Virgin Islands Coast Guard Bases

St. Thomas

Washington Coast Guard Bases

Ilwaco Port Angeles Seattle

Wisconsin Coast Guard Bases

Marinette Milwaukee

West Virginia Coast Guard Bases

Barboursville Falling Waters Huntington Kearneysville Martinsburg

Call 1-800-921-8607 or fill out this form to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.





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