Gonzalez & Waddington – Attorneys at Law

How bad is a court-martial?

Very bad. A military court-martial is a serious criminal proceeding that can severely alter and potentially destroy your life as you know it. Many people do not understand how bad a court-martial conviction can be until it is too late. There are three types of court-martial. The most serious is a General court-martial, the equivalent […]

Does a court-martial conviction count as a felony?

Possibly, yes. It depends on the crime and level of court-martial. The military, unlike civilian courts, does not label offenses as “felonies” or “misdemeanors.” However, federal and most state laws define a “felony” as “any crime punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year or death.” Therefore, most General court-martial convictions would be considered felonies. […]

What are the levels of military courts-martial?

General court-martials A general court-martial can adjudge the following punishments: Confinement Reprimand Forfeitures of up to all pay and allowances Reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade Punitive discharge (bad-conduct discharge, dishonorable discharge, or dismissal) Restriction Fines For certain offenses, death. A sentence of confinement over ten years may only be adjudged with the concurrence […]

Are military court-martials open to the public?

Yes. Court-martial proceedings are criminal proceedings that are open to both the general public and military service members. Like state and federal criminal trials, the public can watch nearly all parts of a court-martial proceeding. The main challenge civilians face when wanting to watch a court-martial is getting access to the military installation. Most installations […]

Does a military court martial go on your civilian record?

Yes. If you are convicted at a General or Special court-martial, the conviction will likely go on your criminal record. Depending on the type of court-martial and the exact charges, they may appear as Federal felony convictions or misdemeanors. Some military-specific crimes with no civilian equivalent may or may not appear as Federal convictions on […]

How long does a court-martial trial last?

It depends. In the military, the typical felony-level criminal investigation lasts six months to a year. In more complex cases, an investigation can last a year or more. When an investigation is finished, it could take several weeks or even months to decide whether to prefer criminal charges. If charges are preferred, the case will […]

What happens in a military court-martial?

In the military justice system, a court-martial follows procedures outlined in the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. All branches of service in the US military follow the same rules and procedures. Below are the general steps of a court-martial: Preferral and Referral of Charges: The first steps in a court-martial are the preferral and referral […]

Can you win an Article 120 UCMJ sexual assault court-martial?

Winning a sexual assault court-martial can be challenging. Juries tend to side with alleged sexual assault victims. In the military, service members are trained to “believe the victim.” They are taught that false allegations of sexual assault do not exist.  To win a sex crime case in the military, your defense lawyer can focus on […]

Why hire a civilian attorney for a military court-martial trial?

Experience: Any civilian lawyer with 20 plus years of criminal defense experience will dwarf any military prosecutor or defense lawyer in terms of experience. Years of trial experience and skill are the most important factors when hiring a civilian lawyer. Twenty years versus five years in the courtroom is a big difference. Not subject to […]

What are collateral consequences of a court-martial conviction?

Sex offender registration (Federal and State) Employment will be severely limited (many employers won’t hire a convict) Inability to enroll in college, university, or trade school Loss of GI Bill Loss of military career Loss of retirement benefits. Loss of VA benefits. Loss of medical benefits. Loss of spouse, family members, and friends Loss of […]

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