Experienced Civilian Defense Lawyer in Navy Courts-Martial

Each year, there are thousands of reports of alleged criminal conduct by members of the Navy.   According to the Department of the Navy, the overall number of crimes reported has held steady in recent years, with certain crimes like sexual assault, however, seeing a notable increase.

In the United States Navy, the most serious allegations of criminal conduct result in court-martial proceedings.  If you are facing a Navy court-martial, you risk of losing your career, your freedom, and everything that you worked hard to earn.  You be at risk of confinement, and a conviction could also cost you forfeiture of pay, loss of paygrade, and even discharge.  

The good news is that not every court-martial ends in a conviction, especially if you fight hard and smart, with experienced and effective defense counsel at your side.  You are always entitled to a defense attorney if you are facing criminal charges in the Navy.  While the military will appoint you an attorney free of charge regardless of your financial situation, you have the right to hire an attorney at your own cost.

If you are going to hire an attorney to lead your defense team, you want a civilian defense counsel who has the experience and track record for success.  Some of the things you have on the line are priceless, so you do not want to conduct one of the most significant battles in your life on the cheap.  To learn more about how a civilian defense counsel can help you in your Navy court-martial proceedings, contact attorney Patrick J. McLain today.

Your Rights During Navy Courts-Martial

As an accused in a court-martial in the United States Navy, you are protected by the same legal rights that civilians enjoy.  You enjoy the same protections under the United States Constitution as anyone charged with a crime in an American civilian court.  Here are a few of the protections you share with defendants in a civilian proceeding:

  • The right to against self-incrimination
  • The right to face your accuser
  • The right to call witnesses
  • Presumption of your innocence
  • Protection against unlawful search and seizure
  • Right to a fair and speedy trial, and
  • Protection against double jeopardy.

There are additional rights that you will enjoy not available to defendants in a civilian trial.   You have the right to access to evidence (discovery), the right to have funding to bring witnesses and experts to help you in trial (production), and the right to keep certain statements made by you out of evidence (Article 31b UCMJ) that are greater than similar rights in a civilian criminal case.

In a civilian court, the state will only provide a defense attorney to defendants who cannot afford one.  Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), you are entitled to an appointed attorney at your court-martial regardless of your income.  You also have the right to hire a civilian defense counsel to lead your team and work with that active duty military defense counsel.  Your choice of an attorney is an important one and could be the deciding factor in the outcome of your case - acquittal or conviction.   

The Direct Consequences of a Conviction

If your court-martial results in a conviction, there are nine different types of punishment outlined by the UCMJ.  The specific punishment you may face will depend on the charge of conviction and the evidence presented by your attorney at the sentencing portion of the trial by court-martial.  

The penalties under the UCMJ include:

  • Reprimand
  • Fines
  • Restriction
  • Forfeiture
  • Hard labor without confinement
  • Reduction in Grade
  • Confinement
  • Punitive Discharge
  • Death.

If convicted, you still have an opportunity to present evidence before the judge or jury announces your sentence.  It is important to have an attorney working for you who knows how to present a great sentencing case.  Though at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain PLLC we are aiming for acquittal, we will always be prepared to also put on a superb sentencing case.  

If your are convicted, the penalties you face will become effective immediately in some cases.  For example, confinement is served immediately upon your conviction.  Other penalties, such as forfeiture of pay or loss of paygrade, will take at least fourteen days to come into effect.  Preparing for possible sentencing is as important as fighting to get an acquittal, which is why it is important to discuss your circumstances with attorney Patrick J. McLain today. 

The Collateral Consequences of a Navy Court-Martial Conviction

Besides the penalties permitted by the UCMJ, there are also collateral consequences of a conviction that may last long after your adjudged sentence has been completed. 

A conviction by court-martial could result in a criminal conviction on your permanent record.  Courts-martial convictions can result in a felony conviction on your record for the rest of your life, depending on the laws of the state where you live.  An experienced military justice attorney can give you a better understanding of how a conviction might affect you in the future.  Below, we discuss a few of the collateral consequences you may encounter. 

Housing and Employment

If your court-martial conviction results in a criminal conviction, you may find it difficult to obtain housing or employment in the future. Most employers and landlords utilize criminal background checks during the vetting process.  A conviction on your record could cost you a job or the opportunity to buy or rent a home. 

Forfeiture of Bonus

Upon a conviction, you may be required to pay back certain bonuses or education benefits that you have received. For example, if you are convicted, you may be required to pay back any enlistment or re-enlistment bonuses you may have received.  Education benefits can often add up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which would make for a major financial hardship for you should you have to repay those benefits to the government.   

Loss of Rights

If your conviction is treated as a felony, you will lose other rights, including the right to vote and the right to own firearms.  While there may be a path to have these rights restored eventually, there is no guarantee they will ever be returned to you. 

Where We Work

  • Balboa Naval Hospital
  • Moffett Field
  • NAB Coronado
  • NAF El Centro
  • NAS Lemoore
  • NAS North Island
  • NAS Point Mugu
  • Naval Base San Diego
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach
  • NAWS China Lake
  • NB Point Loma
  • NOLF Imperial Beach
  • NSC Broadway Compound San Diego
  • Port Hueneme Naval Base
  • NSB New London
  • Naval District Washington
  • NAS Jacksonville
  • NAS Key West
  • NAS Pensacola
  • NAS Whiting Field
  • NSA Orlando
  • NSA Panama City
  • NS Mayport
  • Kings Bay Naval Base
  • Guam Naval Base
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Great Lakes Naval Base
  • NSA Crane
  • NAS JRB New Orleans
  • NAS Patuxent River
  • Naval Academy
  • NSF Indian Head
  • Walter Reed NMMC-Bethesda Naval Hospital
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
  • NAS Meridian
  • NCBC Gulfport
  • Lakehurst Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
  • Naval Weapons Station Earle
  • NAS Fallon
  • NSA Saratoga Springs
  • NSA Mechanicsburg
  • Naval Station Newport
  • NWS Charleston
  • NSA Mid-South
  • NAS Corpus Christi
  • NAS JRB Fort Worth
  • NAS Kingsville
  • NAS Oceana
  • NAS Oceana Dam Neck Annex
  • Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek
  • Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
  • Naval Station Norfolk
  • Norfolk Naval Shipyard
  • NSA Northwest Annex
  • NSF Dahlgren
  • NWS Yorktown
  • SCSC Wallops Island
  • NAS Whidbey Island
  • Naval Base Kitsap
  • Naval Station Everett
  • NIOC Sugar Grove
  • NSA Bahrain
  • Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
  • Camp Lemonnier
  • NS Rota
  • NSA Souda Bay
  • Diego Garcia Naval Base
  • NAS Sigonella
  • NSA Gaeta-USS Mount Whitney
  • NSA Naples
  • Camp Shields
  • NAF Atsugi
  • Sasebo Naval Base
  • White Beach Naval Facility
  • Yokosuka Naval Base
  • COMFLEACTS Chinhae
  • NRC Singapore

How a Private Defense Attorney Can Help You During a Court-Martial

Patrick J. McLain is a civilian defense attorney who focuses his practice on defending the rights of accused service members. His roots in the military are strong -- he is a retired Marine Corps officer and former Marine Corps military judge.  To discuss your case with an attorney dedicated to advocating for active duty and reserve service members, contact Attorney Patrick J. McLain today.