Fort Bliss Attorney for Court-Martial and Nonjudicial Punishment
The second largest United States Army base, Fort Bliss is spread across 1,700 square miles in both New Mexico and Texas. Founded in 1849, the fort was briefly held by the Confederacy during the Civil War. Today, it is home to several units including the 1st Armored Division.
You Have a Right to a Civilian Defense Attorney
If you are facing a disciplinary proceeding at Fort Bliss, you are entitled to hire the attorney of your choice.
For an attorney that focuses exclusively on military defense cases, contact retired Marine Corps judge and Fort Bliss military attorney Patrick McLain and attorney E. Allen Chandler today.
Types of Military Justice at Fort Bliss
According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), there are two primary types of disciplinary proceeding you can face while stationed at Fort Bliss. They include nonjudicial punishment (NJP) and court-martial proceedings.
Nonjudicial Punishment, also referred to as Article 15 in the Army, is a form of administrative action that can be brought against you by your commanding officer. An NJP is not a formal criminal proceeding, and so if you receive an unfavorable result, it will not show up on your criminal record. But that doesn't mean the stakes aren't high; in some cases, an NJP can lead to your involuntary discharge from the Army.
It is good to know that you have the right to consult a civilian defense attorney before NJP proceedings, and it is a right you should exercise if you want full advice and counsel before deciding whether to accept nonjudicial punishment at an Article 15 or demand your right to trial by court-martial.
It is also important to note that you can reject an NJP in lieu of a formal court-martial hearing. This choice is a trade-off, as you have more rights at a court-martial, but you will also potentially face stiffer punishment if convicted. Before you make a decision regarding an NJP, you should always discuss your options with a military defense attorney, either at TDS, or a civilian attorney, or both.
If you accept an NJP, and the result is unfavorable, you are entitled to appeal the decision up the chain of command. The grounds for appeal include:
- an unjust outcome; or
- disproportionate punishment.
Unlike an NJP, a court-martial is a formal criminal proceeding. If you are found guilty, your conviction will be on your permanent record. While many minor violations of the UCMJ are brought in the form of NJP, any violation can lead to a court-martial, and sometimes it is in the best interest of the Soldier, NCO, or officer to demand the right to trial by court-martial.
If you are convicted at court-martial, you again have the right to appeal. At every point during that appellate process, you are entitled to a civilian defense attorney. There are two different appellate courts that hear Army court-martial appeals:
- Army Court of Criminal Appeals; and
- Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Attorney Patrick J. McLain's years of experience across the aisle provide him with a unique perspective.
Common Offenses at Fort Bliss
Many of the offenses that are commonly brought at Fort Bliss could qualify for a NJP or a court-martial. While any violation of the UCMJ can be brought as a court-martial, lesser offenses are typically addressed with NJP.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
The penalties for either a NJP or a court-martial are serious. In either case, a conviction could lead to your removal from the Army through separation proceedings. The most common NJP penalties include restriction, loss of pay, extra duties, and loss of rank. A court-martial could result in the same penalties, but it can also carry more serious punishment, like incarceration or punitive discharge, but generally speaking, you have a much better chance at acquittal in a trial by court-martial.
I called McLain when the military charged me with some B.S., McLain immediately jumped into action and made things happen in my favor. Don't do it alone … your military chain of command will try to make you think that your cooperation will help you, it will NOT. I was entirely impressed with McLain's work on my- Chris C.
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
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.- Jonathan
It took some time to make it happen, but it did just like Patrick said, he is a hard charging guy that can help you get what you deserve, Thanks to him I am now able to get on with my life.- Chip
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
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- Mike
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.- Dan C.
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.- Gina F.