Military Justice at Naval Base San Diego

Naval Base San Diego is the second-largest surface ship base in the U.S. Navy. Located in San Diego, California, the base is commonly referred to as the 32nd Street Naval Station. If you are facing military discipline while stationed at Naval Base San Diego, contact Attorney Patrick J. McLain today.

Article 120

Types of Military Justice at Naval Base San Diego

The two most common forms of military justice at Naval Base San Diego are nonjudicial punishment and trial by court-martial.

Nonjudicial Punishment

Nonjudicial punishment (NJP) is known by a variety of names depending on the branch of service. In the Navy, an NJP is known 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. However, the consequences you may face during an NJP are significant.

When you face an NJP, your commanding officer will oversee the proceeding. If found guilty, you have the right to appeal. However, any appeal goes up the chain of command as opposed to a dedicated appellate court.

It is important to know that you have the right to reject an NJP and demand a full trial by court-martial. While the consequences at court-martial may be more severe, you also enjoy additional rights and protections. A trial by court-martial may also benefit you if you are concerned about receiving a fair hearing from your commanding officer.

The decision to reject an NJP in favor of a trial is an important one that you should only make after consulting with legal counsel.


Unlike an NJP, a trial by court-martial is a formal criminal proceeding. If you are convicted, it will be reflected on your permanent record. Your trial will be overseen by a military judge, and you will enjoy the protection of formal rules that are not available in an administrative hearing.

If convicted, you are entitled to appeal the decision. In fact, many convictions automatically trigger a review by an appellate court. You are entitled to representation by civilian defense counsel at both the trial and appellate level.

Common Offenses at Naval Base San Diego

You may face discipline from an NJP or trial by court-martial for any violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Common offenses are provided below.

Common NJP Offenses

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

Common Court-Martial Offenses

Potential Penalties

There are many potential penalties you may face at an NJP or trial by court-martial. These penalties may include:

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

In the most serious cases, a conviction may also lead to confinement or discharge from the Navy.

Contact Naval Base San Diego Defense Counsel

If you have been notified of an impending trial by court-martial or Captain's Mast, there is no time to waste in building your defense. Your future may depend on the outcome of your case, so you need legal representation you can count on.

Attorney Patrick J. McLain is a former military judge that has dedicated his law practice to defending the rights of service members. Call today for a phone consultation.