Based in El Paso County, Colorado, Fort Carson has been in operation since 1942. Home to the 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson is under the control of the United States Army. In addition to the 4Th Infantry, it is also home to the 10th Special Forces Group. If you are facing charges while serving at Fort Carson, attorney and retired military judge Patrick J. McLain might be able to help.
Types of Discipline at Fort Carson
If you are facing a potential violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), there are two types of discipline you might encounter: nonjudicial punishment (NJP) or trial by court-martial.
Nonjudicial punishment is commonly referred to as Article 15 in the Army. This administrative form of justice is not a criminal proceeding and will not lead to a conviction on your permanent record. That said, the potential consequences for a bad result could put your military career in jeopardy.
The NJP process is informal, and they are overseen by your commanding officer. Appeals are allowed, but they are heard up your chain of command instead of through an appellate court. The most important thing to understand about this process, however, is that you do not have to go through it at all.
You are entitled to reject an Article 15 proceeding. If you do, your case will instead be heard in a trial by court-martial. This choice might seem unwise, as a court-martial could carry steep penalties. That said, some facing an NJP believe they are more likely to be treated fairly if their case is adjudicated by someone other than their commanding officer.
A trial by court-martial is a criminal proceeding. Unlike with NJP, your permanent record will reflect a conviction at trial by court-martial. The process is more formal compared to an NJP, and it is overseen by a military judge.
You also have the right to appeal your decision in a trial by court-martial. In certain types of cases, an appellate review could be triggered automatically. These appeals are heard by dedicated appellate courts. During your trial or appeal, you have the right to hire your choice of civilian defense counsel.
Common Offenses at Fort Carson
You might face either an NJP or trial by court-martial for an alleged UCMJ violation. However, certain charges are more likely to result in a court-martial than others.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
The penalties common in both NJP and trial by court-martial are often similar. These could include loss of rank, restriction, loss of pay, or extra duties. On top of these penalties, a trial by court-martial could also lead to incarceration or a punitive discharge.
Contact a Fort Carson Civilian Defense Counsel
There is a big difference between facing disciplinary charges and being convicted. If you are able to prevail at your trial, you can avoid all of these potential consequences entirely. If you are ready to discuss your legal options, contact attorneys Patrick J. McLain and Allen Chandler right away.