Few are familiar with the court-martial process, even when they have been in the military for many years. This can become a problem when a member of the military is accused of a crime and is facing a court-martial. What do you do? Where do you turn for help? Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law understands these questions and concerns and is here to help.

Read below for answers to some of the most common questions about courts-martial. Your best course of action afterward would be to consult a court-martial defense attorney about your case. Hiring a defense attorney of your choice is much better than being represented by the military lawyer assigned to your case. Call Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law at (866) 624-7503 for representation in a U.S. court-martial on any base in the country or around the world.

What is a court-martial?
The military has a separate justice system from civilians. The term "court-martial" is used to differentiate between a military court and a civilian court. Court-martial cases generally involve a pretrial investigation, after which a report is delivered to the Accused's commanders. The commanders each have a say in whether or not a court-martial is necessary, but the court-martial convening authority has the final say. There are three types of courts-martial: general, special, and summary.

What is a general court-martial?
A general court-martial is the most serious type of court-martial in the military. General court-martial cases can involve forfeiture of all pay; dishonorable discharge from the military; a life sentence in prison; or even the death sentence. General courts-martial convictions are federal convictions.

What is a special court-martial?
Special courts-martial are the second most serious courts-martial of all. If convicted in a special court-martial, a military member could face up to one year in prison, as well as 2/3 forfeiture of all pay (except allowances) for up to one year. Basically, this means that a convicted military member will still be paid something while they are incarcerated. Special court-martial cases are federal crimes, where most states consider them a misdemeanor conviction.

What is a summary court-martial?
Summary courts-martial are the least serious types of courts-martial. The maximum incarceration period is 30 days in jail. A summary court-martial could also result in forfeiture of 2/3 of all pay (except allowances) for up to one month. Summary courts-martial can also result in demotion of E-1 through E-4 members to E-1. NCOs may receive a reduction of one grade without incarceration. These cases are not federal convictions.

What kinds of crimes can result in a court-martial?
Common military crimes resulting in courts-martial include:

  • Absent without leave (AWOL)
  • Desertion
  • Dereliction of duty
  • Failure to obey an order
  • Adultery

Many civilian crimes are tried in courts-martial, as well, such as:

  • Adultery
  • Sexual assault
  • Drug crimes
  • Larceny
  • Assault and battery
  • Murder

Why hire a civilian military defense lawyer?
When you are charged with a crime in the military, you can either have a military criminal defense attorney assigned to your case at no cost, or you can retain a military defense attorney of your choice. Your best choice would be to choose your own attorney; one who you are certain has your interests in mind. When a military lawyer is assigned to your case, you cannot be sure that he or she is invested in your defense at all. Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law gives his full attention, energy, and dedication to the defense of each client. Contact the firm today to learn how Attorney Jordan can defend you!