Located in the southern part of San Bernardino County, California, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms is home to the 7th Marine Regiment. Originally an Air Force field during World War II, MCAGCC Twentynine Palms has been a Marine Corps training base since 1952. If you are facing military discipline while stationed at Twentynine Palms, you have the right to a civilian defense attorney to represent you.
Types of Military Justice at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms
When it comes to disciplinary action at Twentynine Palms, there are two common types of proceedings pursuant to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). These proceedings are known as nonjudicial punishment (NJP) and court-martial proceedings.
Referred to informally as “Office Hours” in the Marine Corps, nonjudicial punishment is a form of discipline that is not a formal criminal proceeding. Better known as an NJP, these proceedings are one type of administrative action that can be initiated against you by your commanding officer.
While NJP is typically used in less serious matters, the consequences can be life-changing. In some cases, an adverse finding in your NJP could lead to the end of your military career. It is important to note that while your commanding officer has the authority to bring you up on an NJP, you have the right to demand your case be tried by a court-martial. While the penalties for a court-martial conviction can be steeper than an NJP, the hearings are also more formal, provide you with more rights, especially the right to an attorney fighting for you. The decision to reject an NJP should always be discussed with an attorney.
If you accept NJP, you can appeal any adverse decision directly up the chain of command. The only grounds for appeal are that the outcome was unjust or the punishment was disproportionate.
A court-martial is a formal criminal proceeding; if you are convicted, it will be reflected on your permanent criminal record. You can be brought before a court-martial for any violation of the UCMJ. If convicted, there are two appellate courts that hear appeals by Marines:
- The Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals; and
- The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
A court-martial proceeding is serious and could result in your incarceration or removal from the Marine Corps. It is important you hire an experienced civilian military justice lawyer to defend your rights.
Common Offenses at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms
Conduct that commonly leads to disciplinary proceedings at Twentynine Palms include:
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Failure to obey orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
If you receive an adverse decision in an NJP, some of the common penalties you may face include:
- Loss of pay,
- Extra duties, and
- Loss of rank.
However, it should be noted that a conviction in either a court-martial or NJP could lead to administrative separation proceedings against you. What's more, if you are found guilty at court-martial, you could face incarceration or a punitive discharge.
Your Right to a Civilian Attorney
If you are facing disciplinary proceedings at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, you have the right to an effective civilian defense attorney. Contact private defense attorney and retired Marine Corps military judge Patrick McLain today.