Experienced NAF El Centro Defense Attorney

Naval Air Facility El Centro, often shortened to NAF El Centro, is the permanent home of the Blue Angels. Built in 1946, the U.S. Naval facility also serves as a training ground for units conducting air-to-air training.

Types of Military Justice at NAF El Centro

At NAF El Centro, there are two commonly-used forms of military justice: nonjudicial punishment and trial by court-martial.

Nonjudicial Punishment

Nonjudicial punishment is a type of judicial discipline available in all branches of the military. Known as Captain's Mast or Admiral's Mast in the Navy, nonjudicial punishment is initiated by a commanding officer and does not count as a formal criminal proceeding. That does not mean a NJP lacks serious consequences. In some cases, you could face discharge due to the outcome of an NJP. You have the right to appeal an unfavorable outcome in an NJP up the chain of command if you believe the outcome was unjust or the punishment was disproportionate.

It is important to know that you have the right to reject a Captain's Mast. Alternatively, you have the right to demand a trial by court-martial. While a court-martial carries tougher potential penalties, there are also potential benefits. Before you make a decision on facing nonjudicial punishment, contact retired Marine Corps military judge and attorney Patrick J. McLain to weigh your options.


Unlike an NJP, a trial by court-martial will result in a mark on your permanent criminal record if you are convicted. The rules of evidence are more formal during a trial by court-martial, which is overseen by a military judge. Any violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) could lead to a court-martial.

Remember you have the right to appeal any conviction following a court-martial. While an NJP appeal goes up the chain of command, appeals stemming from a trial by court-martial are handled in two dedicated appellate courts: the Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Common Offenses at NAF El Centro

Some common offenses that may lead to an NJP or trial by court-martial are listed below.

Common NJP Offenses

  • Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
  • Drunk on duty
  • Fraternization
  • Violation of orders
  • Destroying government property

Common Court-Martial Offenses

Potential Penalties

The penalties imposed after a Captain's Mast or a trial by court-martial can change your life forever. Some of the most common penalties involve:

  • restriction,
  • loss of pay,
  • extra duties, or
  • loss of rank.

Penalties are much tougher in more serious cases. They can include confinement or even punitive discharge with life altering consequences.

Your Right to Civilian Defense Counsel at NAF El Centro

Your conviction is not guaranteed. In fact, many charges are defensible and we will fight for you. Attorney Patrick J. McLain has an extensive track record protecting the rights of those accused of violating the UCMJ.

If you have been notified of an impending disciplinary proceeding against you, contact former military judge and civilian defense counsel Patrick J. McLain today for a consultation.