Straddling the border between Alabama and Georgia is Fort Benning. A United States Army post first built in 1909, this facility is home to the United States Army Armor School as well as elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment. All told, more than 120,000 men and women serve at Fort Benning. If you are one of them, contact attorney Patrick J. McLain if you are facing military discipline.
Types of Military Discipline at Fort Benning
If you have been accused of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), you could face two different forms of discipline: nonjudicial punishment or trial by court-martial.
Nonjudicial punishment is a type of administrative discipline available in every branch of the armed forces. Known as Article 15 in the Army, this type of discipline could have serious consequences. In some cases, a conviction could lead to separation proceedings from the Army.
You are entitled to reject an NJP and have your case heard at a trial by court-martial instead. The risks in this decision are real, as a court-martial carries much higher potential penalties. However, there are aspects of the formal structure used in a trial by court-martial that could work in your favor. No matter what, it is crucial to avoid making this decision without first discussing your case with experienced legal counsel.
If you lose your case, you have the right to appeal the decision. However, an appeal from an Article 15 is heard by your commanding officer as opposed to by a dedicated appellate court.
A trial by court-martial is a criminal proceeding, unlike an NJP. This means that a conviction could leave a mark on your permanent record long after your military career comes to an end. The process of a trial by court-martial is overseen by a military judge, and the rules are much stricter than in an NJP.
Following a conviction, you have the right to appeal the decision. In many cases, an appeal will be triggered automatically depending on the specific charge you are facing. During your trial or appeal, you are entitled to hire your choice of civilian defense counsel.
Common Offenses at Fort Benning
Some violations of the UCMJ are likely to result in an NJP while others are typically lead to a trial by court-martial. Examples of each are included below.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
Following a conviction at trial by court-martial or NJP, many of the prospective penalties are the same. You could find yourself facing restriction, loss of pay, loss of rank, or extra duties through either process. However, a trial by court-martial also carries more significant penalties not available in an NJP. These include punitive discharge as well as confinement.
Fort Benning Civilian Defense Counsel
If you are facing charges while serving at Fort Benning, you do not have to take them on alone. Contact retired military judge and attorney Patrick J. McLain right away.