Military Defense Lawyer Frequently Asked Questions

Does a Military Conviction Go On My Civilian Criminal Record? Can I Expunge a Court Martial?

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Does a Military Conviction Go On My Civilian Criminal Record? Can I Expunge a Court Martial?

Criminal Defense Attorney, Michael Waddington, discusses whether a Military Conviction shows up on Civilian Criminal Record and whether you can expunge a court-martial?

Military Law Frequently Asked Questions

Does a military felony conviction appear in an employment background search as it is, was not a civilian court conviction?

Yes, a military felony conviction will appear in an employment background search even if it was not a civilian court conviction? If using a background check provider, the Form DD-214 is a record that falls under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. §1681), one of which mandates that the applicant provides authorization to the employer when requesting military records. The background check provider should only provide Permissible Military Information to employers that exclude information related to medical history or the nature of the discharge.

Can You Ever Expunge A Military Court Martial Record?

No. You cannot Expunge A Military Court Martial Record.

Call 1-800-921-8607 to speak with a civilian defense attorney today. There are three types of courts-martial—summary, special and general. None of these can be expunged. A conviction at a general court-martial is equivalent to a civilian conviction in a federal district court. Special courts-martial are considered “federal misdemeanor courts” because they cannot impose confinement longer than one year. Summary courts-martial have no civilian equivalent.

What is a General Court Martial conviction, and does it appear on my civilian criminal record?

A general court martial is the highest court level. It consists of a military judge, prosecutor, defense lawyer, and a minimum of eight officers sitting as a panel of court-martial members. An enlisted accused may request a court composed of at least one-third of enlisted personnel. An accused may also request a trial by a judge alone. In a general court-martial, the maximum punishment is set for each offense under the Manual for Courts Martial. It may include death, confinement, a dishonorable or bad-conduct discharge for enlisted personnel, a dismissal for officers, and other punishments.

Does a military conviction show up on my civilian criminal record?

The trial of a court-martial is not unlike a civilian criminal trial. It will show up on your military and civilian records as a conviction.

The differences lie in the procedural requirements. The military follows rules of evidence patterned after the Federal Rules of Evidence. The members or judge hears evidence and renders a decision concerning the accused’s guilt. To convict the accused, the members must be persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. If the accused is convicted, a sentencing hearing is held. An accused convicted by court-martial is entitled to review of his trial. Before approving a court-martial conviction and sentence, the convening authority must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the findings are supported by the evidence. The type of review depends on the level of trial and the nature of the approved sentence. Some appeals may proceed all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

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