Built in 1942, Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California is host to the 60th Air Mobility Wing as well as the 265-bed Grant USAF Medical Center. The base, which is known for its long history of successful humanitarian airlift operations, is also home to the Doolittle Air and Space Museum. If you are facing a military disciplinary proceeding while stationed at Travis AFB, you have the right to be defended by a civilian attorney.
Types of Military Justice at Travis AFB
Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), there are two major types of disciplinary proceeding you might face: nonjudicial punishment and courts-martial.
Nonjudicial punishment, also known as Article 15, is an administrative action that can be initiated against you at the discretion of your commanding officer. This common disciplinary action is not a formal criminal proceeding, but you are still entitled to a civilian attorney during the process.
While it is true that your commanding officer can choose to initiate a NJP, it is your right to reject it in favor of a formal court-martial proceeding. In most cases you face more severe, long-lasting penalties under a court-martial than in an NJP, if you are convicted. However, you have more rights and a better chance of acquittal on charges in the formal setting of a court-martial that is not present in an administrative hearing. It is important to discuss your options with an attorney before you accept or reject a NJP.
If you accept NJP and receive an unfavorable result, you have the right to appeal the decision up the chain of command. The allowed grounds for appeal are that the outcome was unjust or the punishment was disproportionate to the offense.
A court-martial differs from an NJP in that it is a criminal proceeding as opposed to an administrative action. A conviction by a court-martial will be reflected on your criminal record. You can face charges at a court-martial hearing for any violation of the UCMJ, which includes everything from insubordination to murder.
If convicted, you have a right to an appeal. There are two levels of courts which hear appeals from Air Force court-martial convictions:
- The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals
- The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Just like an NJP proceeding or a court-martial, you have the right to a civilian defense attorney at every stage of your appeal.
Common Offenses at Travis AFB
While you can face a court-martial proceeding for any violation of the UCMJ, there are some offense that are more commonly dealt with at a NJP.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
While it is true that the potential penalties for an NJP are less than those of a court-martial, that does not mean that they are not significant. In fact, an NJP can bring about separation proceedings. Other common penalties include:
- Loss of pay,
- Extra duties, and
- Loss of rank.
A conviction at a court-martial could bring about penalties similar to those listed above, but can also include serious consequences such as incarceration or punitive discharge.