Since 1917, Naval Air Station North Island has been located on the Coronado peninsula on San Diego Bay. Better known as NAS North Island, the air station is the home to multiple U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. With a naval station of this size, it should come as no surprise that disciplinary hearings are common. If you are facing charges while stationed at NAS North Island, you have the right to hire the civilian defense counsel of your choice to defend you in the face of these charges.
Types of Military Justice at NAS North Island
There are two forms of military justice at NAS North Island: nonjudicial punishment and trial by court-martial.
A form of discipline used at NAS North Island that is not considered a formal criminal proceeding is nonjudicial punishment (NJP). An NJP is known by different names in each branch of the military; in the Navy, it is better known as Captain's Mast or Admiral's Mast.
An NJP is heard by your commanding officer as opposed to a military judge. If you lose, it will not show up as a criminal conviction on your permanent record. However, the consequences of an NJP are still steep. In addition to the penalties associated with an NJP, an adverse result could also lead to your discharge from the Navy. While you have the right to appeal, the appeal will go up the chain of command instead of to a formal appellate court.
You have the right to refuse an NJP, however. If you prefer, you can reject the proceeding and demand a more formal trial by court-martial. While the potential penalties are tougher, some prefer having a neutral military judge deciding their case as opposed to their commanding officer. Whether or not to reject an NJP is a big decision, and should not be made without first consulting with legal counsel.
A conviction at trial by court-martial can result in a criminal conviction on your permanent record. A court-martial proceeding is conducted with formal rules and is overseen by a military judge. Any violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) may lead to a trial by court-martial.
If you are convicted at trial, you have the right to an appeal. There are many instances, in fact, when an appellate review of a conviction at a court-martial is triggered automatically. Appeals from Navy courts-martial proceedings are heard by the Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals or the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Common Offenses at NAS North Island
Any violation of the UCMJ can lead to an NJP or court-martial. Some of the common offenses at NAS North Island are provided below.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
All of the potential penalties in a Captain's Mast or at trial by court-martial can affect your life and your career. Penalties can include any combination of the following:
- loss of pay,
- extra duties, or
- loss of rank.
What's more, convictions in serious cases may result in confinement or even punitive discharge.
Contact NAS North Island Civilian Defense Counsel
If you have been notified of a pending NJP or court-martial, you need to start building your defense right away and protect your future. To discuss your options with a former military judge that has dedicated his career to fighting for active Navy members accused of wrongdoing, call civilian defense counsel Patrick J. McLain today.