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Camp Pendleton

Court-Martial and Admin Boards at Camp Pendleton

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the largest Marine base on the West Coast. Located in north San Diego County, Camp Pendleton was established in 1942 in order to train Marines in preparation for World War II. Since 1946, it has been a permanent installation that has been home to a number of Fleet Marine Force units.

Experienced Civilian Legal Counsel for Service Members

If you are facing NJP or court-martial proceedings at Camp Pendleton, you need the strongest defense possible. While you are entitled to an attorney appointed by the military, a private civilian attorney may have the experience, time, and resources to dedicate to your case that an appointed attorney cannot match. 

For experienced counsel on whom you can depend, contact attorney and U.S. Marine Corps former judge advocate and military judge, Patrick McLain, today.

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Court-Martial and Admin Boards at Camp Pendleton

If you are facing a disciplinary proceeding, you must remember that you are entitled to hire a civilian defenseattorney. When it comes to military proceedings at Camp Pendleton, there are three major types of proceedings:

  • Nonjudicial punishment
  • Court-Martial
  • Administrative boards

Nonjudicial Punishment

Administrative actions include a variety of proceedings covering allegations of misconduct, substandard performance of duty, and other alleged failures to meet standards of the U.S. Navy or the Marine Corps.  The most common administrative action is known as nonjudicial punishment. Also known as an NJP or office hours, these proceedings are intended for lesser offenses but you always have the right to demand a trial by court-martial, unless you are embarked on a ship.  Nonjudicial punishment can be appealed to the commander of the officer who imposed NJP, normally within five days of imposition of punishment.  


A court-martial is a judicial proceeding used to handle allegations that are more serious, or when a military member refuses nonjudicial punishment and demands his or her right to trial by court-martial. Thus any violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice can lead to charges before a court-martial. These charges can include crimes that are common in civilian courts, like fraud or sexual assault.  However, they can also include offenses specific to military life, such as war crimes or disobedience to orders.


If you are found guilty at court-martial, you have the right to appeal the ruling against you. You have the right to be represented by a civilian attorney at either the Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals or the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

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Did You or Your Loved One Live or Work at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for at Least 30 Days Between August 1, 1953 and December 31,1987?
You may be eligible for compensation from exposure to toxic chemicals from contaminated water.
You Need a Civilian Military Lawyer


  • Former Federal Prosecutor & Military Judge
    Attorney Patrick J. McLain's years of experience across the aisle provide him with a unique perspective.
  • Over Two Decades in the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Our Firm is Top-Rated & Award-Winning
  • Over 3,500 Cases Successfully Handled

Common Military Offenses at Camp Pendleton

While the most common offenses Marines face at Camp Pendleton constitute crimes in the civilian world, many offenses are specific to military life and would not be criminal elsewhere.

Common Military Offenses

  • Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
  • Drunk on duty
  • Fraternization
  • Insubordination
  • Destroying government property

Common Court-Martial Offenses

Potential Disciplinary Penalties

While an NJP is treated as a minor proceeding compared to a court-martial, the reality is that a conviction of either type can affect your life and career tremendously. In the most serious NJP cases, including those with positive drug test results, you could face administrative separation or show cause proceedings. Some of the other NJP consequences include:

  • restriction;
  • loss of pay;
  • extra duties; and
  • loss of rank.

A conviction in a court-martial can carry the same penalties as described above. However, they can also include much more serious consequences, including:

  • confinement;
  • punitive discharge

With the stakes this high, it is critical to obtain defense counsel that will provide the strongest defense possible.


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    My husband hired Patrick for his summary court martial and Patrick and his team were there every step of the way. They communicated everything they needed and were even there when either me or my husband had any questions. He is a hard worker and will fight for you the moment you choose him to be on your team!

    - Angela
    "Thanks to him I am now able to get on with my life."

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    "Great lawyer and better person"
    Mr. McLain helped me through the most difficult experience in my life. As a Marine Officer facing an upcoming board of inquiry for conduct issues, I was fearful of losing a career that I deeply cherished. Mr. McLain not only gave me perfect legal advice throughout the process, but also reached out many times to see how I was doing on a personal level. A great lawyer and better person, Mr. McLain helped me become successful in my board of inquiry and keep moving forward in my career. His knowledge and experience are top notch, and his military experience and personal qualities make him the best lawyer out there to defend military personnel. Would highly recommend to anyone.
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    "Always made me feel as though I was his most important client, and was knowledgeable on all subjects."

    He completely cared, took my case personally, always made me feel as though I was his most important client, and was knowledgeable on all subjects. I give him the highest rating possible and totally recommend him to anyone who is 

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    A tremendous lawyer in a time of need. After being accused of conduct unbecoming an officer for personal conduct while off duty, I hired Mr. McLain to help me through the process. He diligently worked behind the scenes to make sure my voice was being heard. Despite my inability to listen to his direction early on, Mr. Mclain was patient and continued to fight on my behalf. Mr. McLain helped me win at a board of inquiry with no other disciplinary action. A sincere man, who is dedicated to his clients. Would strongly recommend and is a great asset to military clients everywhere.
    - Former Client
    "I won my military case due to his diligence, knowledge and experience in military law."

    I cannot recommend Patrick highly enough. I won my military case due to his diligence, knowledge and experience in military law. Had I proceeded on my own, I would have lost, for the process was simply too complex. When working with Patrick, there was never a time when I felt left in the dark on my case, nor a time when his assessments and instructions were unclear. Should you be in any difficult circumstance, Patrick will work his tail off for you and keep you clearly informed on the status of your case. Again, I highly recommend the services of Patrick McLain.

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    "Amazing strength and integrity with the combination of experience, insight, and knowledge of military law."

    I have found my lawyer Patrick McLain, to be honest, right to the point, consistently giving me realistic outcomes through the whole process of my case. He's definitely no nonsense, cut to the chase. As a client…I've never been left hanging; he makes sure all my correspondence is returned. He's got amazing strength and integrity with the combination of experience, insight, and knowledge of military law. He stands behind his words and expects the same in return. I say my blessings every day for him taking my case. With him as my attorney, I've achieved best possible outcomes.

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