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California Military Courts Martial Attorney

What You Need to Know About Military Courts Martial

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are accused of a crime are generally brought before courts martial. But what are these courts? What rights do military personnel have when prosecuted by the military?

Essentially, there are three kinds of courts martial: general, summary, and special. The United States Uniform Code of Military Justice lays out these three kinds of courts martial and the procedures and punishments associated with each. Regardless of the accusation, the court, or the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime, military personnel have the right to have the accusations proven beyond a reasonable doubt and are subject to the Military Rules of Evidence, which govern what kind of evidence is acceptable within a military court.

What is a General Court Martial?

A general court martial is the most serious kind of court martial, and is generally used in cases that would equate to felony severity in a civilian court. This court is the most formal, and consists of a military judge and at least five members, though a serviceman can request to be tried by the judge alone. Punishment in the general court martial can include death, but encompasses all punishments covered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The second degree of severity in a court martial is the special court martial, which is roughly equivalent to a misdemeanor-level civilian court. In a special court martial, a serviceman is tried by a military judge and at least three members, though a military judge alone can try the case upon the accused's request. The special court martial is prevented from prescribing the following punishments: death, dismissal, dishonorable discharge, labor without confinement, extreme forfeitures of pay, or jail time exceeding one year in length.

The summary court martial is the least severe form of court martial and consists of a commissioned officer instead of a military judge. This court is limited to light offenses and cannot punish a serviceman with extreme punishment, though they may reduce a guilty person's pay to E-1 status or recommend imprisonment for up to one month.

Contact An Attorney with Military Experience

Because military courts are so different from civilian courts, it is vital that an accused party consider representation by an experienced Long Beach military attorney. The right attorney in a military court can help protect your career, keep you out of jail, and keep you in good standing with the Armed Forces. Have you been accused of a crime? Are you facing a court martial? Contact Joseph H. Low IV at (562) 901-0840 or (888) 454-5569 for more information and a free case consultation.

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Long Beach Courts Martial Lawyer Disclaimer: The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results portrayed here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ if based on different facts. Please contact Joseph H. Low IV to discuss your case.

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