Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, better known as MCAS Yuma, is a Marine Corps air station home to Marine Aircraft Group 13 (as well as other occupants). Originally opened as a mixed-use military and civilian airfield in 1928, the facility has been exclusive to the Marine Corps since 1959. If you are facing disciplinary action at MCAS Yuma, you deserve aggressive representation from a skilled civilian defense counsel.
Types of Military Discipline at MCAS Yuma
There are two types of military discipline. These forms of discipline include nonjudicial punishment and trials by court-martial.
Commonly referred to as “Office Hours” in the Marine Corps, nonjudicial punishment (NJP) is an administrative form of military discipline. These proceedings are initiated and overseen by your commanding officer. Because they are not formal criminal proceedings, the rules related to witnesses and evidence are relaxed compared to a trial.
You have the right to reject Office Hours in favor of a trial by court-martial. While a court-martial carries steeper penalties, there are situations where it may be better for you than an NJP. For example, if you are concerned about fair treatment from your commanding officer, a court-martial might be in your best interest. The decision to reject a court-martial is important, and you should always consult a lawyer before making it.
You have the right to appeal an adverse decision in an NJP. However, appeals are heard up the chain of command as opposed to in a formal appellate court.
A trial by court-martial differs from an NJP in that it is a formal criminal proceeding. If convicted, your permanent record will reflect the conviction long after your military career is over. There are procedural protections in place that do not exist with Office Hours. For example, a trial by court-martial is overseen by a military judge. The rules regarding evidence are also much stricter.
If you are convicted, you are entitled to appeal the decision. In fact, many types of convictions will result in automatic appellate review. 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.
Common Offenses at MCAS Yuma
Conduct that commonly leads to disciplinary proceedings at MCAS Yuma 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 after an NJP, some of the common penalties you may face include:
- Loss of pay,
- Extra duties, and
- Loss of rank.
The penalties for a conviction at a trial by court-martial can also include incarceration or a punitive discharge. Additionally, any form of conviction can lead to separation proceedings.
Your Right to Civilian Counsel
If you are facing military discipline at MCAS Yuma, you deserve a vigorous defense. Contact attorney and retired Marine Corps judge Patrick J. McLain right away to discuss your options.