Since 1941, Bexar County, Texas has served as the home of Lackland Air Force Base. Under the jurisdiction of the 802d Mission Support Group of the United States Air Force, the installation has been an important training facility since the beginning of World War II. If you are facing military discipline while serving at Lackland Air Force Base, contact attorney Patrick J. McLain immediately.
Military Discipline at Lackland Air Force Base
If you are serving at Lackland Air Force Base, there are two forms of military discipline you could encounter:
- nonjudicial punishment; and
- trial by court-martial.
In the Air Force, nonjudicial punishment (NJP) is frequently referred to as Article 15. Article 15 is a form of administrative hearing that could result in significant consequences for you and your career. While an NJP conviction is not reflected on your permanent criminal record, it could result in the end of your military career.
Nonjudicial punishment is unlike a civilian criminal trial. Instead of a judge, your commanding officer will oversee the process. If you are convicted, your appeal will be heard up the chain of command instead of in an appellate court.
It should be noted that you are entitled to reject an NJP. If you do, you will instead face a trial by court-martial. This choice has its benefits and drawbacks. While a court-martial could result in a stiffer sentence, it also offers formal rules that could work in your favor. Discuss your options with an experienced defense lawyer before you make your decision.
Trial by Court-Martial
A formal criminal proceeding, trial by court-martial could lead to a mark on your permanent record if you are convicted. The process of a court-martial is similar to a civilian trial. These trials are overseen by a military judge that enforces strict rules of evidence.
If convicted, you have the right to file an appeal. In many types of cases, appellate review of a case is automatic. These appeals are heard by designated appellate courts. Whether you are facing a trial or an appeal, you have the right to your choice of civilian defense counsel.
Common Offenses at Lackland Air Force Base
If you are alleged to have violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice, you could face either an Article 15 or trial by court-martial. Examples of common charges are listed below.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
Following a conviction, many of the penalties in a court-martial or NJP are similar. They could include:
- Loss of pay
- Extra duties
- Loss of rank.
In addition to these common penalties, a trial by court-martial could result in additional punishment. This includes confinement or even punitive discharge.
Contact a Lackland AFB Civilian Defense Attorney
With any case, you always have the possibility of beating the charges. Contact attorney and retired military judge Patrick J. McLain to discuss your potential defense options.