What is Article 32?
Article 32 requires a preliminary hearing before referral to a general court-martial.

After an arrest for a serious criminal offense in the military, you will face immediate processes that will ultimately determine the outcome of your case. In situations where charges may require a general court martial to determine penalties, you will first be sent to an Article 32 investigation. These investigations are crucial in the outcome of your case.

As a former military service member himself, Attorney Jordan understands the necessity to provide extensive investigations and derive aggressive defense plans for clients facing these investigations. The moment you are arrested and required to attend an Article 32 hearing, you need to contact Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law right away.

During your hearing, the prosecuting party must provide a probable cause of evidence to support the charges you are facing. When you work with Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law, at this point, our firm will question all evidence that is being brought against you and all witnesses will be questioned.

In some situations, the Article 32 investigation is used to lay effective defense foundations for motions and defenses that may be used against you in a general court martial or other higher-level proceedings. This hearing may also be used to receive witness statements from government witnesses on-the-record and, if there is not enough evidence to hold you accountable for actions you are being charged with, your charges may potentially be dropped.


Article 32 hearings are established under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and are similar to preliminary hearings in civilian law. As most military members know, court-martials are the most serious level of proceedings when allegations have been made against service members. Prior to determining if there is enough evidence for a court-martial, defendants are required to attend an Article 32 hearing.

Article 32 hearings are presided by hearing officers who may be JAG officers or Military Judges. During the investigative hearing, hearing officers will present probable cause for the charges a military member faces, as well as any evidence to support the allegations against them. Hearing officers will make determinations about whether a case should proceed to general court-martial based on the evidence and allegations.

Investigating officers have the ability to make several different recommendations, including:

  • Proceed to general court-martial or special court-martial
  • Change or add additional charges
  • Proceed to alternative dispositions, such as non-judicial punishment
  • Drop charges

Recommendations from hearing officers are not binding and commanding officers will ultimately decide whether charges should be dismissed or the case should proceed. Service members can use Article 32 hearings as their opportunity to challenge the allegations made against them to avoid or reduce consequences.

An experienced military criminal defense lawyer can challenge evidence, question witnesses, and expose errors made by officials during hearings. While preliminary hearings in civilian courts will only typically involve testimony for probable cause, Article 32 hearings can extend over longer periods of time, depending on the number of witnesses called and questioned.

Military criminal defense lawyer Joseph L. Jordan is a former Army Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps officer who uses his insight to guide clients through each stage of their legal journeys, including Article 32 hearings. If you have questions about your case and how Attorney Jordan may be of assistance during an Article 32 hearing, call (866) 624-7503 today.


While many service members may feel pressured to waive their right to an Article 32 investigation and hearing in order accept a plea bargain or face lesser charges, this can be very damaging to their case. You should not make this decision without the counsel of an experienced and trustworthy military defense lawyer. By waiving your rights, you could be facing an uphill battle and possible discharge.


Understanding the benefits of an Article 32 investigation versus a grand jury proceeding is crucial. If you are facing serious criminal charges as a military service member, it is important for you to review your rights and stay informed of your legal options.

An Article 32 hearing is very different from a civilian preliminary hearing or grand jury. There are several key factors that separate these legal proceedings and can make a major difference in how your case is played out.

In a civilian grand jury, the jurors decide to indict an individual based upon evidence that is typically provided by the prosecution the alone, representing only one side of the case. The defendant is barred from cross-examining witnesses, presenting evidence, or even speaking on their own behalf.

In contrast, an Article 32 investigation hearing allows a defendant to:

  • Call witnesses
  • Present supportive evidence
  • Cross-examine witnesses provided by the prosecution
  • Represent their side of the story

Without the opportunity to question the credibility of the testimony of the prosecution's witnesses, it can be very challenging to resolve a case in a favorable manner for the defendant. It also means that the defense will be able to review the prosecution's evidence, rather than remaining in the dark about it. This gives the defense a better idea of how to approach a case and helps them determine whether or not a plea bargain is a viable option.


Once this hearing is complete, the investigating officer will file a written report which will address all legal issues raised in the case and includes recommendations on how the charges should be handled. This may include a dismissal of charges or a request for a general court martial. The investigating officer only provides recommendations, however, as the appointing authority will still have the final decision on the matter.

In some cases it may be better for the defendant to waive their right to an Article 32 investigation and hearing and proceed through a civilian grand jury. To learn which option is best for your situation, get in touch with the experienced military defense team at Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law.


At our firm, we understand that after you are arrested, your livelihood and military career may be on the line. If you are convicted of a crime and dishonorably discharged, you may also be faced with complications in receiving a job in the civilian world as well. It is vitally important that you retain the representation of an experienced court martial lawyer as soon as possible.

At our firm, we stand ready to provide our clients with exceptional legal services and ensure that their rights are protected and their freedoms actively defended. We defend military clients in all branches of service, all around the world.

If you have been charged with any crime and are now facing an Article 32 process, you need to immediately contact Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law and schedule a consultation.

We Are Committed to Serving You

Joseph L. Jordan is a UCMJ lawyer who travels around the globe to represent service members in military criminal defense matters. He is an accomplished, experienced military attorney who specializes in defending ALL service members against violations of the UCMJ.