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First established in 1961, Naval Air Station Lemoore (NAS Lemoore) has become the U.S. Navy's largest Master Jet Base. NAS Lemoore is also home to Strike Fighter Wing Pacific and the squadrons associated with it. If you currently serve at NAS Lemoore, you have the right to civilian defense counsel during any form of disciplinary hearing you may face.

Types of Military Justice at NAS Lemoore

If you have served in the Navy for any amount of time, you are familiar with the two most common forms of military discipline used on base: nonjudicial punishment and trial by court-martial.

Nonjudicial Punishment

One common form of military discipline is known as nonjudicial punishment (NJP). In the Navy, it is often referred to as Captain's Mast or Admiral's Mast. An NJP is not a formal criminal proceeding, and an adverse result will not lead to a criminal conviction on your permanent record. Instead of a judge or jury, an NJP will be administered by your commanding officer.

That doesn't mean an NJP will result in a slap on the wrist. In fact, you could face discharge from the Navy depending on the circumstances surrounding your NJP. That is why it is worth noting you have the right to reject an NJP in favor of a formal trial by court-martial. If you are concerned about your ability to get a fair shake from your commanding officer, it may be worth risking the potential of a criminal conviction and try your chances in a court-martial proceeding.

If an NJP doesn't go your way, you have the right to appeal. However, instead of an appellate court, all NJP appeals go up the chain of command. The decisions you make regarding an NJP are serious and should never be made without consulting experienced legal counsel. Contact retired Marine Corps military judge Patrick J. McLain to learn more.

Court-Martial

A trial by court-martial is a formal criminal proceeding. If convicted, your record will reflect a criminal conviction. The rules surrounding a court-martial are more formal than those in an NJP, and the proceedings are overseen by a military judge. It is possible to face a trial by court-martial for any violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

If convicted, you are entitled to appeal. In fact, many charges automatically receive appellate review after a conviction. A court-martial differs from an NJP in that appeals are heard by two dedicated appellate courts:

  1. Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals
  2. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

Common Offenses at NAS Lemoore

Examples of conduct that may lead to an NJP or trial by court-martial are listed below.

Common NJP Offenses

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

Common Court-Martial Offenses

Potential Penalties

All of the penalties available in a Captain's Mast or trial by court-martial can change your life forever. Penalties can include any combination of the following:

  • restriction,
  • loss of pay,
  • extra duties, or
  • loss of rank.

What's more, convictions in more serious cases may result in confinement or a punitive discharge.

Contact NAS Lemoore Civilian Defense Counsel

If you are prepared to fight back against your charges, you have the opportunity to avoid a conviction and move on with your career. Call today to learn how civilian defense counsel Patrick J. McLain can help.

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