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First built during the height of the First Nation Wars in 1869, Fort Sill has long served as a United States Army post. A National Historic Landmark, Fort Sill is located just north of Lawton, Oklahoma.

Types of Military Justice at Fort Sill

Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), there are two forms of military justice frequently used at Fort Sill:

  1. nonjudicial punishment; and
  2. trial by court-martial.

Nonjudicial Punishment

Nonjudicial punishment (NJP) is more commonly known as Article 15 in the Army. An NJP is a form of administrative punishment that can be initiated by your commanding officer. While the potential consequences for an NJP are serious, it is not a formal criminal proceeding. That means that a bad outcome will not result in a criminal conviction on your permanent record.

You have the right to reject nonjudicial punishment in favor of a trial by court-martial. While a court-martial proceeding carries stiffer penalties, it also provides you with more rights than an NJP. The decision to reject an NJP in favor for trial by court-martial is a serious one that should not be made without speaking with military defense counsel first.

If convicted, you have a right to appeal the outcome of an NJP up the chain of command. An appeal must be based on one of two grounds: that the outcome was unjust or that the punishment was disproportionate.

Court-Martial

A trial by court-martial differs from an NJP in that a court-martial is a formal criminal proceeding. If convicted, you will have a conviction on your criminal record that could carry over into your civilian life. Any violation of the UCMJ may result in a trial by court-martial. A trial by court-martial is overseen by a military judge and has more formal rules than an NJP.

If you are ultimately found guilty, you have the right to an appeal. In fact, many convictions automatically trigger appellate review. The two appellate courts that hear appeals from Army court-martial proceedings are:

  1. The Army Court of Criminal Appeals; and
  2. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Common Offenses at Fort Sill

For the most part, offenses committed at Fort Sill could result in either an NJP or a trial by court-martial. While any violation of the UCMJ can lead to a court-martial, minor charges are frequently dealt with via an NJP.

Common NJP Offenses

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

Common Court-Martial Offenses

Potential Penalties

The potential penalties you may receive through an NJP or court-martial can have lasting consequences. Common penalties in an NJP include restriction, loss of pay, extra duties, and loss of rank. A trial by court-martial carries the same penalties as an NJP in addition to more serious consequences like incarceration or punitive discharge.

Your Right to a Civilian Defense Attorney

If you face a disciplinary hearing while stationed at Fort Sill, you are entitled to hire the defense attorney of your choice. For vigorous representation, contact former military judge and Fort Sill military attorney Patrick McLain today.

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