Tampa, Florida Military Lawyer – Court Martial Defense – Patrick McLain

Tampa Office

Patrick J McLain, Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law
2555 Enterprise Rd #15e
Clearwater, Florida 33763
Phone: (813) 563-9175
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Phones Answered 24 Hours for Emergencies

Map & Directions

Have you been charged with court martial, accused of a war crime, or need help appealing a PEB decision? Patrick J. McLain, Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law is here to help you fight the charges stacked against you. McLain is a veteran military lawyer with decades of experience prosecuting and defending Airmen, Marines, Corpsmen, Rangers, and Sailors around the world.

Whether you are enlisted or an officer, you still need the defense counsel of a civilian military defense attorney with only your best interest in mind. You have the right to hire your own defense counsel, use it. Call to schedule a free consultation in the greater Tampa, Florida area including MacDill, Sarasota, Lakeland, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg.

Charged with a Crime in the Military?

Unfortunately, being in the military does not shield one from legal difficulties. Service members are bound to follow military law as well as civilian law. Military members who find themselves facing charges are provided a military attorney free of charge. This may not always be the best option however; in some cases, a civilian attorney with military legal experience may be more beneficial. Some of the legal difficulties you could be facing include:

  • War Crimes
  • Sexual Assault & Rape Charges
  • Drug Use/Positive UA
  • AWOL & Desertion
  • Court Martial
  • Non-Judicial Punishment
  • PEB Review Boards

War Crimes – facing a war crimes charge is very serious as a guilty finding could result in your being sentenced to life imprisonment or given a death sentence. According to UCMJ 903 Article 103, war crimes include taking hostages, pillaging or taking the life of civilians with deliberation are all considered war crimes. You need an attorney who will investigate the claims against you; in cases of war crimes charges, you could benefit from requesting a specific military attorney as well as working with a civilian military defense attorney.

Sexual Assault and Rape Charges – whether you have been arrested and charged with date rape, a charge of sexual assault on a civilian or sexual assault or rape of a fellow service member, you need to take the charges very seriously.  Not only could you face a life-long criminal record and a requirement to register as a sex-offender if convicted in a court martial, you could be facing long-term confinement, loss of benefits and discharge under less than honorable conditions. UCMJ Article 120 defines specific types of sexual assault charges with differing punishment, confinement, and penalties including: rape, sexual assault, indecent assault (article 134), aggravated sexual contact, and abusive sexual contact. Punishment is enhanced if the alleged assault occurred on more than one occasion, if the alleged aggressor is the accuser’s commanding officer, and if the victim is a direct relative of the accused.

Drug Use/Positive UA – if you are taking prescription drugs, over-the-counter preparations or inadvertently ingested foods prepared with marijuana, you could fail what would otherwise be a routine urinalysis for drugs. All active military members are subject to random drug testing and test failure could lead to immediate discharge, decrease in rank or confinement.

AWOL/Desertion – absence without leave and desertion are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice by court-martial. If you have not been apprehended and returned to base, you may wish to consult with a civilian military attorney to help negotiate the terms of your return.

Court Martial – the UCMJ 816, Article 16 § 04 Court Martial Jurisdiction, defines three classifications of court martial. They are general, special and summary courts-martial. Unlike civilian courts, the courts-martial panel is comprised of military personnel; primarily commissioned officers. A summary court martial is reserved for the most minor charges, a special courts martial is for the medium level cases, and a summary court martial hears only the most serious cases. If you are facing court martial, contact our Florida office to speak with a defense attorney.

Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP) – a commanding officer can discipline any member of his command for minor infractions that do not warrant a court martial. There are limits on the nature of the discipline; limits are imposed on confinement, docking of pay and other restrictions of movement. For some, opting for courts-martial may be beneficial as the process generally allows for a defense while NJP gives the final determination to the commanding officer. Don’t make a decision to opt out of your right to courts martial without first consulting with an NJP lawyer who can advise you on these matters.

Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) Appeals – PEB boards are used to determine an active military member’s fitness for continued military service. When a board has determined a service member is unfit, the service member has a right to appeal their decision. This generally requires the assistance of an attorney who understands how the board functions, what situations warrant appeals and what evidence may be required. These boards will also determine what percentage (if any) a retiring service member is considered disabled at the time of separation from service. If you would like to challenge their decision, contact our office to initiate a PEB appeal.

What Makes Tampa Ideal for Military Families?

For military men and women serving in North Florida, Tampa is a popular city to call home. Its proximity to several bases, the ocean, and temperate climate make it a popular place to live because it feels like you’re living on vacation.

Home to the 2002 Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers the city also has the largest science museum in the south. Tampa is also home to the winners of the 2004 Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. Tampa hosts a one-month festival annually called Gasparilla which celebrates piracy. Tampa International Airport continues to be the number one ranked airport in the country. These are just a few reasons that Tampa is a popular home base for military families in the area.

Tampa Businesses Offer Military Support

Many Tampa area businesses support military members by hosting events, offering special services, discounts, and hosting dinners and celebrations. The Tampa Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual Military Appreciation Banquet. In addition, there are various events slated to ensure a good working relationship between the military and Tampa business communities.

Business After Hours events are hosted regularly aboard the SS American Victory Ship, the community sponsors an annual Veteran’s Day Celebration at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square which includes lunch. Senior officers of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, the 6th Air Mobility Wing, the 927th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Communications Support Element and the U.S. Coast Guard are honored annually at Key Commanders Reception in Tampa Bay and every August, the Chamber hosts a Senior Enlisted Reception for members of all five branches of the armed forces. There is also an event to guide local businesses who are considering doing business with MacDill.

Tampa, Florida Area Military Bases we Serve

Overall, Florida is home to 20 major military bases as well as three combatant commands. There are two air stations, as well as a dozen Coast Guard Stations. Overall, military families account for about 10 percent of the overall economy of Florida. Some of the key military bases located in the Tampa FL area include:

MacDill Air Force Base – Since 1939, MacDill AFB has been used for numerous training and staging activities by the U.S. Airforce. Originally established as a southeast Air Base, it is currently home to the 6th Air Mobility Wing of the AMC. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the based was used as a staging area for the planned mobbing of Cuba that never occurred. Currently, this Tampa FL base is home to 12,000 joint service active duty members, 7,000 joint service civilians, 2,150 joint service reserves as well as more than 12,000 military family members and more than 133,000 retired military personnel. Overall, the Tampa-St. Petersburg population is nearly 3,000,000 people. Because the area is considered a tourist area, the cost of living is considered high.

USAREC, Tampa Battalion, Florida

Nicknamed the Gators, the base consists of six Companies and Battalion Headquarters. Tracing back to 1918, the primary purpose of the base is recruiting new members of the U.S. Army.  Originally, home to four companies, the Sarasota Company, the Orlando Company, the Tampa Company and the St. Petersburg Company in 1995 a fifth was added, the Lakeland Company and in 2008 the Daytona Company was added bringing the total to six.

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater

Located less than 25 miles from Tampa is the Coast Guard Air Station in Clearwater. There are approximately 600 US Coast Guard aviation and support personnel stationed here. This base has six HC130 Hercules aircraft and 9 HH-60 Jayhawk medium range helicopters as part of its fleet. This is the largest air station maintained by the US Coast Guard. First opened in 1934, the base was winner of the National Defense Transportation Award for 2000 and has participated in a number of support missions including supporting the survivors of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2005.

Contact a Military Defense Attorney Today

Contact Patrick J. McLain, Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law today if you have been charged with a crime in the military. Over 25 years of experience as an attorney in the military and as civilian defense counsel. If you are facing serious charges, McLain is the man you need on your side.