The largest pilot training base in the United States Air Force is Laughlin Air Force Base. In operation since 1943, the base was originally an Army airfield before the Air Force took it over. Laughlin AFB is home to both the Air Education and Training Command as well as the 47th Flying Training Wing. If you have been notified of pending disciplinary charges while serving at Laughlin AFB, contact attorney Patrick J. McLain immediately.
Military Justice at Laughlin Air Force Base
There are two types of military justice at Laughlin AFB. These are nonjudicial punishment and trial by court-martial.
The process of nonjudicial punishment (NJP) is an administrative hearing, not a criminal trial. While a conviction will result in serious consequences, it will not lead to a conviction on your permanent record.
NJP is also commonly referred to as Article 15 in the Air Force. This process is often initiated by your commanding officer, who will also oversee the hearing. The rules of evidence are loose compared to those of a civilian criminal trial. You have the right to appeal a conviction up your chain of command.
You are under no obligation to agree to an NJP. Instead, you are entitled to reject it and face trial by court-martial instead. The maximum penalties in a court-martial are much higher compared to an NJP, so there are risks in this decision. However, there are also benefits in selecting a trial by court-martial. Discuss your options with an experienced attorney before making your final decision.
Trial by Court-Martial
While an NJP will not lead to a mark on your criminal record, a conviction at trial by court-martial will. This criminal proceeding is overseen by a military judge and has formal rules similar to civilian trials.
A conviction at trial is not the end of your case, however, as you have the right to appeal. In many cases, appellate review is automatically triggered. A trial by court-martial differs from an NJP in that a dedicated appellate court hears the appeals. The right civilian defense counsel could help you beat the charges against you at either the trial or appellate level.
Common Offenses at Laughlin Air Force Base
Some common offenses that Air Force members often face are listed below.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
In many cases, the penalties that follow a conviction at trial by court-martial are the same at those that can result from an NJP. Examples include loss of rank, loss of pay, restriction, and extra duties. However, there are other penalties a Laughlin Air Force member could face if convicted of an offense via court-martial proceedings. These include confinement or a punitive discharge.
Unfortunately, a bad result in either case can also lead to separation proceedings from the Air Force.
Contact Experienced Civilian Defense Counsel Today
You do not have to resign yourself to facing these consequences. With the help of experienced civilian defense counsel, you can beat the charges lined up against you. To learn how, reach out to attorney Patrick J. McLain immediately.