Home to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Peterson Air Force Base is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This installation shares an airfield with the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport and has been operated by the United States Air Force since 1942. If you have been charged with a crime while serving at Peterson Air Force Base, contact attorney and retired military judge Patrick J. McLain right away.
Military Justice at Peterson AFB
Following an alleged violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), you could face discipline through two different processes: nonjudicial punishment or trial by court-martial.
Nonjudicial punishment – informally known as Article 15 in the Air Force – is an administrative proceeding. Because it is not a criminal hearing, a conviction will not be reflected on your permanent record. That does not mean the consequences you face are not severe, however.
An NJP is overseen by your commanding officer as opposed to a military judge. While you have the right to appeal an unfavorable decision, the appeal will be heard up the chain of command instead of by an appellate court.
When it comes to Article 15, you have an important decision to make. You are entitled to reject an NJP and have your case heard at trial by court-martial. That decision can be risky, as the penalties associated with a court-martial are more severe. However, a court-martial could make sense if you are concerned about getting a fair shake with your commanding officer. You should always discuss your case with experienced civilian defense counsel before you reject or accept NJP.
A trial by court-martial differs from NJP as it is a formal criminal proceeding. That means a conviction will wind up on your permanent criminal record. What's more, the prospective penalties are higher than with an NJP.
At trial, the rules are enforced by a military judge. If you are convicted, you have the right to have your case heard by an appellate court. In fact, some types of cases trigger appellate review automatically. You have the right to hire the civilian defense attorney of your choice during every stage of the court-martial process.
Common Offenses at Peterson AFB
If you are alleged to have violated the UCMJ, you could face either NJP or a trial by court-martial. Some offenses are more likely to result in a court-martial than others, however. Common charges are provided below.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
Common penalties in an NJP or a trial by court-martial are similar. In either proceeding, you could face extra duties, restriction, loss of pay, and loss of rank. In addition to these penalties, a court-martial could lead to stiffer penalties like confinement or a punitive discharge.
Reach Out to a Peterson AFB Civilian Defense Counsel
Regardless of the charges against you, a conviction is never a given. You have the right to fight back against these charges, and with the help of the right legal counsel, you could avoid a conviction entirely. To learn more about your options, contact attorney and retired military judge Patrick J. McLain.