Civilian Defense Lawyer for Members of the Army

Every Soldier knows from basic training knows that there is a Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  This means that, in the United States Army, when there is an allegation that a Soldier or Army officer has committed misconduct, a command investigation is conducted, or a commander refers more serious allegations to investigators from the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the Military Police Investigators (MPI). 

This brings us to a scary statistic.  The US Army has close to three times the number of active duty personnel than the US Marine Corps.   When you add in the Reserves of each, and the Army National Guard, the numbers in the US Army are about five times the size of the US Marine Corps.  But in military justice numbers, the Army has the highest number of convictions of any branch according to the Department of Defense.   In the most recent accounting, the number of accused convicted under the UCMJ in the Army was nearly ten times larger than the total number of Marines convicted at trial by court-martial.

Having charges brought against you doesn't mean you are without options. In many cases, fighting the charges is your best course of action.   When you face charges in a court-martial in the Army, you need a strong defense.  The Law Office of Patrick J. McLain PLLC has a track record of victories at trial by court-martial.

Military Justice in the Army

In the United States Army, the prosecutors in the military justice system are known as trial counsel.  A trial counsel reviews the evidence collected by the command, or by the CID or the MPI and discuss it with the accused soldier's chain of command.  If charges are referred to trial, the soldier will receive notification of the impending court-martial.  During each phase of the court-martial process, a soldier has the right to an appointed Trial Defense Services (TDS) attorney who will serve along any civilian defense counsel you hire.  

Your Rights at an Army Court-Martial

During an Army court-martial, you have rights derived from both the United States Constitution and and an even greater number of rights under the UCMJ. At trial, you will be protected by all the rights enjoyed by civilian defendants facing criminal charges.  However, you will also receive additional protections under the UCMJ that civilian defendants do not enjoy.

The rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution include:

  • The right to avoid self-incrimination;
  • The right to face your accuser;
  • The right to call witnesses;
  • Presumption of your innocence;
  • Protection against unlawful search and seizure;
  • The right to a fair and speedy trial; and
  • Protection against double jeopardy.

The rights provided under the UCMJ are even more expansive.  Your protections against self-incrimination are far more extensive under the UCMJ than what is required in Miranda warnings in civilian cases.  According to Article 31(b) of the UCMJ, you must be read your rights any time you are questioned by a person who is also subject to the UCMJ, which includes members of the CID and the MPI and your chain of command.  In civilian cases, Miranda warnings must be used only when you are in police custody.  Article 31(b) also requires you are informed of the charges against you while Miranda rights do not require the same.

Another significant difference is that you are entitled to build a defense in your case at the government's expense.  You are entitled to funding for expert consultation or testimony in your case – something that is not always allowed in a civilian court.  The most critical factor in your defense is your attorney.  You are entitled to an active-duty TDS attorney appointed in your case at no cost to you.  While there is a right to an attorney in civilian cases, only defendants that can prove they cannot afford any legal fees receive a court-appointed attorney.

In addition to your TDS attorney, hiring civilian defense counsel may be your best chance to avoid a conviction.  It is critical to select an attorney with the experience necessary to prevail in an Army court-martial proceeding.  For civilian defense counsel experienced in fighting successfully against Army trial counsel, contact attorney Patrick J. McLain today.  

Direct Consequences of a Conviction

If your trial by court-martial results in a conviction, the UCMJ permits nine types of penalties that you may potentially face.   The specific penalty you face upon conviction will depend in large part on the evidence brought against you by trial counsel, as well as the evidence that your defense counsel presents.  That is why it is essential that your attorney possesses the skills necessary to put forward the most persuasive case possible.

Upon a conviction, the penalties allowed under the UCMJ include:

  • Reprimand
  • Fines
  • Restriction
  • Forfeiture
  • Hard labor without confinement
  • Reduction in Grade
  • Confinement
  • Punitive Discharge
  • Death.

Even if you are convicted, you will still have the opportunity to fight your conviction at the appellate level. In fact, in certain situations, cases are automatically under appellate review. These include sentences of:

  • Dishonorable discharge
  • Bad conduct discharge
  • Dismissal (Officers)
  • Confinement for over one year, or
  • Death.

These consequences and the necessity of an appeal only come into play if you are convicted at trial. To discuss your case with an attorney that knows how to win at trial by court-martial, contact Patrick J. McLain today.

Collateral Consequences of a Court-Martial

The penalties laid out in the UCMJ are not the only consequences associated with a conviction at court-martial.  There are also collateral consequences of a conviction that may follow you long after your military career has come to an end.

In some cases, a state will recognize a conviction at a court-martial as a felony conviction in the civilian world.  Each state has its own laws regarding how it treats a military conviction, but for the most part, military charges that resemble a felony in the civilian world have the consequences of a felony under state law.   As a convicted felon, you will lose certain rights; such as the right to vote or own firearms.  Some persons convicted have great difficulty finding housing or employment after conviction.

Of all the collateral consequences for a conviction, the possible requirement of paying back any bonus money or educational benefits can be the most surprising, and costly.  Upon conviction, you may be required to pay back any re-enlistment bonuses you have received.  Even if the money is long gone, you could find yourself suddenly in a financial bind from a debt you never expected.

Where We Work

  • Fort Greely
  • Elmendorf-Fort Richardson
  • Fort Wainwright
  • Anniston Army Depot
  • Fort Rucker
  • Redstone Arsenal
  • Camp Robinson Arkansas NGB
  • Pine Bluff Arsenal
  • Fort Huachuca
  • Yuma Proving Ground
  • B.T. Collins Army Reserve Center
  • Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area
  • Fort Hunter Liggett
  • Fort Irwin
  • JFTB Los Alamitos
  • Presidio of Monterey Defense Language Institute
  • Presidio of Monterey-Fort Ord
  • Sierra Army Depot
  • Fort Carson
  • Fort Lesley J. McNair
  • Camp Merrill
  • Fort Benning
  • Fort Gillem
  • Fort Gordon
  • Fort McPherson
  • Fort Stewart
  • Hunter Army Airfield
  • Fort Shafter
  • Pohakuloa Training Area -USAG Hawaii
  • Schofield Barracks
  • Tripler Army Medical Center
  • Wheeler Army Airfield-USAG Hawaii
  • Rock Island Arsenal
  • Fort Leavenworth
  • Fort Riley
  • Salinas Army National Guard
  • Blue Grass Army Depot
  • Fort Campbell
  • Fort Knox
  • Fort Polk
  • Fort Devens
  • Aberdeen Proving Ground
  • Fort Detrick
  • Fort Meade
  • Fort Leonard Wood
  • Camp Shelby
  • Fort William H. Harrison
  • Fort Bragg
  • Pope Army Airfield
  • McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
  • Fort Monmouth
  • Picatinny Arsenal
  • White Sands Missile Range
  • Camp Smith
  • Fort Drum
  • Fort Hamilton
  • Watervliet Arsenal
  • West Point
  • Fort Sill
  • McAlester Army Ammunition Plant
  • Carlisle Barracks
  • Fort Indiantown Gap NGTC
  • Letterkenny Army Depot
  • Tobyhanna Army Depot
  • Fort Buchanan
  • Fort Jackson
  • Camp Bullis
  • Camp Mabry TX National Guard
  • Fort Bliss
  • Fort Hood
  • Fort Sam Houston
  • Red River Army Depot
  • Dugway Proving Ground
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  • Fort A.P. Hill
  • Fort Belvoir
  • Fort Eustis
  • Fort Lee
  • Fort Myer-Henderson Hall
  • Fort Lewis -McChord
  • Fort McCoy
  • USAG Benelux-Brussels
  • USAG Benelux-Schinnen
  • USAG Benelux/Shape-Chievres
  • BMC Garmisch
  • Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
  • USAG Ansbach
  • USAG Bamberg
  • USAG Baumholder
  • USAG Grafenwoehr
  • USAG Hohenfels
  • USAG Kaiserslautern
  • USAG Schweinfurt
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  • USAG Wiesbaden
  • USAG Livorno-Camp Darby
  • USAG Vicenza
  • USAG Japan-Camp Zama
  • USAG Torii Station Okinawa
  • Camp Casey-USAG Red Cloud
  • USAG Daegu
  • USAG Humphreys
  • USAG Red Cloud
  • USAG Yongsan

Discuss Your Case with Experienced Civilian Defense Counsel

The list of possible consequences you could face for a conviction in a court-martial proceeding is lengthy, but you will avoid them entirely if you and your attorney prevail at trial.  If you are ready to fight back against the charges against you, contact military defense lawyer Patrick J. McLain today for a free phone consultation.